Before we dive into the Brainfeeder realm,
We would like to introduce our homebru Eric,
…who hit up the recent Brainfeeder 4/20 party for Sweetest Drip! Though this is his first guest post, he has shot pics for le Sweetest before (via FEVER Party) and never fails to chill xxxtra hard with yours truly. While Howard, Reuel, and Marc were busy getting splattered by a hotdog-strawberry smoothie from Trippple Nippples, Eric made it out to the desert 2 poolparty it up with Brainfeeder’s gentleman beatsmiths. Here’s Eric’s report — and keep an eye out for the super-special guest appearance that showed up poolside!!!
Thundercat ft. Austin Peralta – $200 TB (prod. Flying Lotus)
I arrived at the Ace Hotel fashionably late, partially stoned, and all the way ready for a cold drink. Lotus was hunched over his APC40 playing the type of stuff that made him really break out like a bastard into mainstream recognition during the end of the 2000’s: hazy, sometimes pensive and sometimes rollicking electronic hip hop with sample and style representation spanning shotgun-cocking west coast hip hop to complex eastern tabla rhythms. It was clear from the high degree of energy he was carrying from one song to the next that his set was nearing completion, so I snapped a few portrait shots while trying to zero in my camera settings.
Lotus, if you see this photoset, I’m sorry that you’re so underexposed in the first few shots. I think I got it right by the end of the night.
SAMIYAM – Where Am I
After Flying Lotus concluded his set, it was Samiyam’s turn. Auteur of the blunted and off-balance sound (and Brainfeeder’s first official signee), Sam’s progressive model of hip hop is forward-thinking, while borrowing its heart and soul from the past. Raw, heavily swung drum hits fall in seasick rhythms over woozy pads and crunchy blown-out basslines that quilt together funk, soul, and early hip hop. Sam’s set was a balanced mix of sample-based productions and all-original synthwork.
What stands out to me about Samiyam’s music is his incredible sense of humor as a producer; listen closely and you will hear meowing cats and subtle allusions to classic videogames, among other deliberate easter eggs.
He manages his silly side with a very delicate hand, though, and remains his own brand of classy.
Ras G – Hollywood (Dub)
Samiyam was followed by Ras G, a very prolific L.A. producer who is said to have at least a half-dozen albums’ worth of unreleased material at any given time.
Known as much for his neo-rastafarian looks and backwood blunts as he is for his sonic signature, G’s live sets run the gamut from psychadelic jazz to almost motionless reverb-drenched bass experiments.
Ras also fathered a style of sampler-based DJing using the Roland 404 that is often emulated now by young hip hop producers.
Mono/Poly – Needs Deoderant
Mono/Poly released his Manifestations EP on Brainfeeder in 2011, and recently self-released a free EP entitled Killer B’s via Bandcamp. Also playing on an APC 40, his set was a dark wall of distorted and over-driven minor scales. Evil in tone and very precisely controlled, Mono/Poly’s set peaked with a brain-liquifying reinterpretation of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now”. All I could think about while listening to it is how it will probably never be released, c’est la vie.
The Gaslamp Killer – Gaslamp Killers (Mix)
Around this time a sopping-wet Gaslamp Killer appeared near the stage, still slightly out of breath from one of the two or three constant beach ball games going on in the main pool.
After drying off and donning a white tank which had on it a surfer hand gesture and the words ‘FUCK YOU’ in big, cheery letters; GLK (born Willian Benussen) stepped behind the turntables.
If you’ve seen The Gaslamp Killer perform, you know that he plays whatever he damn well wants to. If the mood catches him, he might take you from soaring classic psych, to laser bass blap, to the beatles in the space of three songs. And it always seems to make musical ‘sense’, which is a strong testament to his musicianship.
Up to this point things had been relatively normal (well, the standard for normal set by earlier Brainfeeder events). Drink flowing, isolated drug use, amazing networking potential, even better music. I thought I had a pretty good handle on the scope and trajectory of the pool party, until I noticed Thom Yorke, dancing alone, ten feet to my left. I have friends in the industry that will usually throw me a bone when something like this is going to happen, but this time I was caught completely off-guard.
After some time drinking and dancing to as-yet unreleased Gaslamp Killer tunes, Thom made his way to the stage. Carrying no worldly possessions save the clothes on his back and small USB thumbdrive, you could see a wave of professionalism wash over his face as he began to acquaint himself with the equipment he would soon be DJing on. Looking more comfortable behind the wheels of steel than during his first cameo appearance at Low End Theory in Lincoln Heights, Thom set to playing a true grab bag set—everything from charging analog drum techno with fat square wave basslines to neo-classic American hip hop (the standout track for me was Jaylib’s Raw Shit).
Yorke played solo for somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour (I’d love to be more exact, but alcohol-induced time dilation makes the chronology slightly fuzzy) before Flying Lotus joined in on the fun.
Opening his laptop, Lotus fired off shots to the crowd back-to-back with Thom—both artists clearly savoring the moment and showing incredible synergy for what appeared to be an ad-libbed jam session. Not content to let those two have all the fun, Gaslamp Killer soon retook the stage for a smash-and-grab finale that set the crowd alight. With seemingly boundless energy, the three carried on an hour past the stated end-time of the event; right up until security was essentially kicking people out.
In the excited hum of the dwindling crowd, Thom Yorke disappeared much the same way he had arrived—entirely without spectacle. Likely he was whisked away to an afterparty that only a select few knew about; or perhaps the whole act had been a trick of holographic wizardry. One thing, for sure, became explicitly clear throughout the course of the night: the new democratized model of music creation and distribution budding within the Los Angeles community is changing the business of music. The archaic distinctions between artist, label, and fan, are dissolving—and without these limitations we are all brought closer to the music itself.