Broken Figures and Harbour's Brooding Hiphop Weirdness
Lo-Fi Performance Gallery
Tues at 9 pm.
The always exciting Stop Biting weekly at Lo-Fi has become one of Seattle's premier purveyors of avant-garde hiphop and future bass music (as well as the spot where you can witness some of the area's most athletic breakdancers). This week, the SB crew continue their California love affair (L.A.'s Take tore up the joint in June) with Broken Figures and Harbour.
Broken Figures—San Francisco duo Keith Tadashi Kubota and Matthew Holt—create gritty, alpha-male productions that skew the funk into some tight corners, gripping you like poverty. Their style bears some semblance to El-P's and Antipop Consortium's, although it's not quite as bombastic as those artists' work. Instead, there's a more introverted intensity and invigorating tension to Broken Figures' music. These guys are bright hopes for dark-side hiphop.
Fellow S.F. producer Harbour keeps his cuts appealingly brooding, too. He claims Jim O'Rourke, Alan Lomax, Harry Smith, Autechre, and "Dicky James" (aka Aphex Twin) as influences, and he isn't bluffing. Weird folk elements creep into Harbour's sublimin-ill funk foundations, lending his cuts a stark eeriness reminiscent of Sixtoo and cLOUDDEAD's most eldritch creations. I didn't know Harbour till I noticed Stop Biting had booked him, but I now rank him among the highest echelon of American underground-hiphop producers.
Over at ETG, the Sweatbox boys have looked Midwest-ward to tap Detroit DJ/ producer E. Spleece to bring some Motor City techno magic to our metropolis. Spleece brings a deep, subtle, slow-burning intensity to dance floors. His sets strike an ideal balance between the cerebral and the hedonistic, the soulful and the funky. I bet if he were old enough, Spleece'd be a member of the Electrifyin' Mojo's Midnight Funk Association.
In last week's Data Breaker, I reviewed a few instant-classic albums of recent vintage. If I'd heard Efdemin's Chicago (Dial; www.dial-rec.de) in time, I'd have included it, too. Here, Efdemin (aka Berlin's Phillip Sollmann) uses Windy City house music as a trampoline to spring into diverting tangents (avant jazz, microtonal composition, minimal techno) without neglecting dance-floor necessities. To be glib (why not; I've blown this deadline something awful), Chicago sounds like a loose-jointed, unpredictable Theo Parrish house record haunted by the outré tonal palette of Sun Ra. Efdemin keeps it strange and hypnotic—yet still sexy—throughout Chicago; I really hope there are enough adventurous DJs and clubbers to make this record the smash it deserves to be.
E. Spleece, Jake J, J-Sun, and Ctrl_Alt_Dlt perform Fri July 16, Electric Tea Garden, 10 pm, members only, 21+; Broken Figures, Harbour, Absolute Madman, Introcut, Sean Cee, Hideki perform Tues July 20, Lo-Fi, 10 pm, $5, 21+.