The Gaslamp Killer stands out, even when he's part of a long night of wide-ranging modern electronic music. His DJ set spanned decades seamlessly and he has a constant, even hyperkinetic movement -- an effort that makes many musicians not from Denver reel from the exhaustion. In fact, he scoffed at people who complained about such things, at one point with a humorous imitation. There was also a real presence to his set -- he just seemed to have a master of frequency, timing and informal composition that could be mind-blowing.
The 1up - Colfax has the sort of high powered sound system that could handle all the heavy bass thrown at it with great clarity. It's the the kind of club you wouldn't expect much in Denver. Once you go around the bar and past some vintage video games and into the interior of the place, it isn't difficult to find the performance space. The wood floors seemed incongruous, but also perfect for a place like this, with its capacity for absorbing and reflecting sound ever so slightly.
GLK went on late -- at 12:30 a.m. -- but he treated us to processed bits of the forthcoming Flying Lotus record, including the songs on which latter collaborated with Thundercat and Snoop Dogg. He threw out some unreleased James Blake, the new Rustie, 18-year old Belgian producer LTGL and a total synthesis of music from L.A. producers Great Dane and Team Speed. And he knew this music so well it was like he had absorbed it on the genetic level, mixing and matching the music so perfectly that you weren't sure if it was his own or whether he was doing a live remix of some kind.
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He also unleashed a good deal of new Gaslamp Killer material, including some Syrian music dedicated to his grandmother as well as Turkish strings recorded live and not merely sampled, and the usual inspired electronic beats that seem to drive his music along when not creating a languid atmosphere. The eclectic music reflected his own appearance.
The flow of music borrowing from across the world and with no seeming regard or prejudice against any form. There were no duds in GLK's set. He even brought in a sample of Slayer's "Postmortem" and let it go for several moments seemingly disembodied from context before GLK manipulated the thrash guitar line into a mere sound in his mix rather than the focus and then letting it become the focus again before it was discarded.
An hour into the set, GLK lit up a joint and told us that he said he made sure to do the first hour with all his faculties but that the last half-hour he would just see what happened. But he didn't falter and went out championing other people's work to the very end. He performed like a lunatic having a psychotic break, but only someone with real class uses his own high profile set to highlight the achievements of others. He also invited all of us out to L.A. to come check out Low End Theory while it lasts, because all of his partners now have lots of kids and he's more-or-less on his own.
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If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.