Review: Excision and Dirtyphonics ‘Pushing The Boundaries For Bass Music’ By Kieran MacIntyre
In the early days of Electronic music, the simple 2 turntables and a mixer DJ set was the way to perform. Over the years, DJing equipment and nearly all sound equipment have shifted into a more hi-tech era. What was once a simple DJ set accompanied by some strobes and bright colorful lights has evolved into a true audio/visual spectacle. Sound systems that can make the earth shake and beautiful visuals perfectly in sync with the music the DJ is playing.
With this technology improving and expanding ever so rapidly many performing acts want to push the boundaries to give the crowd the most intense experience possible. Like The Chemical Brothers’ insane visual live performance they have been respected for over their many years in the music scene or Amon Tobin’s iSAM cubic live performance which has been regarded as a fan favorite.
Even Skrillex has changed his performance into a literal spaceship. No sub genre of electronic music deserves a high octane audio/visual presentation than the loud heavy sound of bass music. And no artists are pushing the boundaries for bass music more than Excision and Dirtyphonics.
Bass music had it’s notable rise in the past three years from the help of artists like Rusko, Flux Pavilion, Skream, and Skrillex. Dubstep, in its many forms, started as a minimal low-end heavy variation of Dub/Garage and Drum and Bass in the early 2000s and evolved into loud aggressive bass attack to the ear drums that some would compare to the sounds of a malfunctioning autobot.
Dubstep producers wanted to go louder, heavier and crazier with every track they put out. Dubstep was the hot sound of 2011 thanks to the mainstream success of Skrillex, and people around the world were going crazy for the bass madness.
Everything from sporting events to movie trailers were riddled with the notable dubstep songs and many pop and rap artists wanted to be on the dubstep train. And from the widespread Dubstep success came other heavy variations of bass music including a revamped drum and bass with some heavier bass lines and tracks presented in the dubstep style but maintain a drum and bass tempo referred to as “Drumstep”.
In the past couple years many Bass music artists including Skrillex have shifted away from this heavy music which brought many of them to fame to other walks of electronic music, most notably the current hot sound “Trap” which made it’s big widespread debut in 2012. Though with Dirty South-inspired Trap beats, much of the bass is still there, but many fans of the bass music sound feel truly let down with this more hip-hop oriented sound, some say that it lacked the aggression that was found in many bass music sub-genres. But fear not, low-end lovers, you still have friends in Excision and Dirtyphonics.
This past Saturday at the Downtown L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium, I saw what I could consider one of the truly craziest things I have ever seen or heard in live performing.
Despite many unfortunate technical difficulties during one of the openers CRNKN’s set, the young producer played on despite many halts in his music. Many technical problems were prevalent throughout the night. These DJs did what was best to do in these situations, don’t let it stop you from playing your set.
The only act that were lucky not to deal with any such problems was the ever exciting Dirtyphonics. A perfect DJ set from half of the French bass powerhouse group kept the energy up for the crowd, Dirtyphonics may be one of my favorite groups in the electronic music scene currently with their heavy diverse take on electronic music like marrying Metal guitar riffs with drum and bass with their track “Walk in the Fire”.
They took the drum and bass and other variations of bass they are loved for and gave the crowd one hell of a show. And unlike many dj’s who play, they have some best stage presence I have ever seen. After their set came the moment everyone was waiting for, the sheer brutality that is the Excision Executioner performance.
Canadian producer Excision (real name Jeff Abel) himself has changed his sound. Of course, purists of the dubstep walk would feel betrayed by this. What Excision has done with his music is maintain the bass heavy aggression which he is notable for, but presents it at new tempos and variations of the bass music spectrum to not limit himself to the dubstep sound he is widely known for.
Not only with his music, for him the live performing game has changed, from his “Executioner” show he showcased on Saturday that featured 150,000 watts of pure raw sound power and visuals unlike any I had seen done before to his new exciting project with Canadian bass cohort Downlink called Destroid which is being regarded as “new chapter” in the live experience with a literal three piece band performance drums and 2 midi sampler guitars.
One would be a fool to deny how incredible his new Executioner set is. In many ways you can look at Excision as the Slayer to Skrillex’s Metallica. Though Skrillex should be applauded for taking on new sounds to be more accessible to a wider audience. Excision continues to take his brand of bass music and make it louder and heavier. From his early days till now, his music has gotten only more and more intense .
So why not his performance as well, a DJ set powered by one of the loudest if not the loudest sound system in electronic music. And a 30+ foot wide screen showcasing well detailed visuals with the near earthquake-level power music. The intro to his set sent shivers down my spine, the bass increased more and more till it eventually came in to full power and completely blew the crowd away, people were dancing, moshing and even crowd surfing to the incredible bass music coming from these massive amps.
Though the visuals gave out 30 minutes into his performance, he played on until the music gave out as well, after 10 minutes everything came back on and a seemingly vexed Excision took the microphone and proclaimed someone was going to get fired tonight and he’s going to keep playing. And just like that, as if nothing ever happened, the bass heavy madness continued unscathed by technical problems.
Last night, Excision explained it all on Facebook.
As it can be seen, this masterful producer really cares about how his shows go, and doesn’t want anyone to feel disappointed. I felt with this performance nothing short of amazed, there will be glitches and hiccups in any performance, what counts is if the performer carries on. And Excision didn’t stop bringing the bass heavy madness regardless of any malfunction. Can’t wait for this guy to bring it back louder and bigger.
Be sure to catch Excision and Dirtyphonics on any of their upcoming shows for this tour. This not a performance to be missed!