After years of testing out the waters of dance music, Alex Botwin's solo project Paper Diamond is ready to take it to the next level. At the Ogden Theatre this past weekend, the producer debuted his massive new light show, along with music never before heard by the crowd. There's never been doubt that Botwin can produce quality music, and it's becoming pretty evident that Paper Diamond will have a big hand in contributing to the next chapter of EDM's burgeoning storyline.
See also: - Alex Botwin's electronica is a Paper Diamond in the rough - Photos: Paper Diamond at the Ogden Theatre, 1/4/11 - Paper Diamond at the Bluebird Theater (Snowball Kickoff Party), 2/25/11 - Pnuma's Alex B on Paper Diamond and moving in new, more complex directions with his music
When we spoke with Botwin recently about Paper Diamond, he made sure to point out that his most recent album Wavesight isn't so much the new direction for his project, but just another branch on the tree. This point was driven home at the Ogden, as Botwin switched gears without hesitation over the course of his entire set: One minute he blasted us with tracks from Levitate, and the next, he served up trap remixes slowed down to 110 bpms.
Trap music is what's hot right now; it will be interesting to see how long it lasts. These days, every DJ under the sun seems to be coming up with new genres with which to categorize their music. This isn't a bad thing, necessarily. This also isn't what Paper Diamond is doing. Instead, he's bringing every single style of music together in a perfectly organized show that incorporates a subtle lighting production:
The new rig is, of course, symmetrical and geometric (it's a rough diamond shape), but it isn't on display for the whole set. As a matter of fact, it would only turn on at key moments during the set; thus it never distracted the crowd from absorbing the intricacies of Botwin's work.
Sonically, Paper Diamond has evolved nicely -- on this night in particular, in contrast to past performances, this wasn't just a "press-play" set. Instead, it seemed like Botwin was toying with his entire catalog, pulling bits and pieces from Levitate, and balancing those with his newer music. It was obvious when he played his new material, most notably "Can We Go Up" and "Airlift," that his music has reached a new crowd, but it was also pretty clear that some people aren't as familiar with his older stuff. His remix of SBTRKT's "Wildfire" brought out the real excitement, and this could easily be the track that propels him to the next level.
Crizzly and Protohype opened up the show, and in proper form no less. It's important for supporting acts to know their role: Openers should lay the foundation of music and let the headliners drop the bombs that destroy that foundation. Both Crizzly and Protohype did a perfect job on the priming, and the venue seemed to enjoy them both. At one point, we heard that catchy new hit "Hot Cheetos and Takis," which if you aren't hip to it, is basically a trap track coming out of the Dirty South.
Personal Bias: Since the beginning of Paper Diamond, I have been hesitant to accept the iPad. Botwin uses that thing to its fullest potential, and it's amazing how much he pushes out with it. Mind changed.
Random Detail: The new staging will blow minds.
By the Way: The new lights and visual production that Botwin and his team have put together syncs perfectly with the music without overdoing it.
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