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Beyond the Cerebral: Nosaj Thing, Jogger and Daedelus Live at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC

Beyond the Cerebral: Nosaj Thing, Jogger and Daedelus Live at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC

Ever worked out almost to the point of exhaustion and experienced runner’s high? Been in the presence of someone you could’ve swore was your soul mate? Lay within the gentle glow and breeze of a perfect, 75-degree day? Or baked in an 180-degree sauna for 20 minutes? Then you probably already know the feeling: “I have left this world and am floating amidst the clouds, sun, and trees.”
With one swift wave of his hand on Feb. 20 at NYC’s sexiest, swankiest spot Le Poisson Rouge, L.A. breakthrough beatmaker Nosaj Thing shot out electrical shock waves of meditative nirvana. Buddhists say all our suffering is caused by desire. If so, Nosaj’s set was the antigravity vacuum where desire dissipates into oodles of undulating, blissful indifference. What helped was wordlessness, an absence of reason and the cerebral. As technologically advanced as Jason Chung’s music is, his zeroes and ones are purely emotive, free-flowing and visceral.

Swirling his body continuously from left to right, as if breakdancing with his setup onstage, Chung commanded a legion of followers below him without uttering or singing a single word. Their hands were elevated to the ceiling in praise and heavenly elation, the sea of bodies modulating in accordance with hip-hop beats. In the wordlessness of his music is a loss of inhibition, self-consciousness, and fear and the power to simplify and transform. Computerized sound aligns him with royalty and divinity.
Wrapping layers of elegant, tasteful harmonies via diaphanous synths, saintly choir samples and Tetris beeps above relaxed, elaborate polyrhythms, Chung has the ability to tap into all our individual dream worlds. Couture moss muffled around our heads amid a futuristic metropolis, Nosaj Thing is the Vivienne Westwood of glitch-hop, and more specifically Southern California’s experimental beatmakers. Together with Jogger and Daedelus, his Magical Properties Tour-mates, Nosaj represents this century’s most innovative composers, as their music seeks to redefine what music is and how it is created through technology, specifically the computer and electronic music.
Before Chung’s set, tour openers and fellow L.A. underground minstrels Jogger cranked out a level of madness unseen by many. Like a UN of modern music on anabolic steroids, the duo cooked up a mind-blowing smorgasbord of so many genres that it all seemed like some PSA created to convince us that, despite our many differences, we are all essentially of one supergenre.
Though it may not have been apparent to others, they expertly and seamlessly melded Cat Stevens, “Blue Monday,” techno and glitch patches, progressive rock in the vein of Yes, a “Baba O’Riley”-like synth, Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocal, a doomsday, overdriven guitar assault, death metal roaring, noise rock akin to My Bloody Valentine, heart attack-inducing trance beats, the apocalyptic lyrics of The Mars Volta and Muse, an auto-tune-like effect like the one in Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It,” whimsical chimes, speed metal shredding and feedback, techno bass boom, beatboxing, and scratching. Predicting the progression of these songs would have been impossible.
Daedelus, revered veteran of the L.A. underground scene, closed off the night with a straight-ahead techno set that manifested itself in his body movements. While Nosaj exhibited a fluid, relaxed, hip-hop aura, Daedelus jerked violently in his Victorian suit replete with coattail to his intense, dizzying, robotic beats and deafening, mastodon, bass boom.
As much as New Yorkers like to bash Angelenos, these stars of L.A. underground beatmaking descended upon Bleecker Street for a night that will forever go down as the “Sexiest Night Ever,” something that KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad would have likely deemed “Chocolate City”-worthy back home. You can take the girl out of L.A., but you can’t take the L.A. pride out of the girl. -Angela Lu

Published: March 05, 2010 |

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