An Electrical Storm


At the Los Angeles installment of Nesh, the famed London party night hosted by Warp Records, an international cadre of DJs strained the county’s power grid as they switched on and packed ‘em in at downtown boite Mobius, proof that after-hours loft parties are alive and well. But it didn’t compare to the energy that was building for U.K. blip-‘n’-bass pioneer Mark Bell, the man who seemingly invented low-frequency oscillations. In his first U.S. performance in seven years, Bell put the visceral in his machine-made beats, dropping classic bass-heavy techno lines that made our hearts and sternums ache. But long before the low-end king was unleashed, cockney clown-prince Jamie Lidell got trapezoidal on us, synching frantic facial tics with his vinyl-scratching, raspberry-blowing human beat box. Looking like a young Lou Reed or the Pistols‘ Steve Jones, Lidell milked the vocoder routine, torquing his voice at a cartoonily high pitch -- but there was no taking your eyes off him.

You could argue that it was unfair for DJ EASE, a.k.a. Nightmares on Wax, to deny us the sensual undulations of Mind Elevation, but the man’s modest, is all. EASE wasn‘t here to plug new product, and his hard-houseelectro hybrid was a perfect milieu match. Big up to Luke Vibert alias Wagonchrist for sending us not-so-gently into the good night with the smokingest D&B session in these parts in many a moon. And pity those who missed Boom Bip: The Cincinnati kid was like a serenading ghost among these digital terrorists.

The climax came around 2:15 a.m. as the house’s emotional meter redlined during the simultaneous sets of Atlanta boys Richard Divine and Scott Herren. Better known as Prefuse 73, Herren pulled off satisfying swatches of kick-‘n’-snare boom-bap, a far cry from the headache-inducing glitch-hop of his CDs. Downstairs, the sickest, hardest postindustrial noise was laid down by Divine, enhanced by onscreen projections of glacial fragments barreling down a space-time wormhole, or something. If most jocks bob their heads to the mix, Divine wags his incredulously at his PowerBook screen as if to say, “I cannot believe how off-the-chain my shit is.” And it is.


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