Untold’s Dark Bass Set is The Best Live Production Set So Far in 2014
Last Sunday was one the few times that I wish Output allowed photos for. The United Kingdom’s Untold performed his new music from behind about 12 feet worth of electronics, and watching him piece it together from behind this row of mixers, synthesizers, sequencers, oscillators, and other equipment and pedals was like watching an alchemist crafting an intoxicating brew. Untold decided to perform on the smaller, rear stage at Output, effectively putting his equipment on a level easily viewable for those who wanted to trainspot (or closely follow the technique of) the producer/DJ from the second level. Most people were simply interested in how it sounded though, and everyone knew the best spot, when not watching Untold perform among that tangle of wires, was front and center on the dance floor. Untold’s set was raw. A cross between a surgeon and an electrician, Untold wrangled machines to create a sound that was dark, brutal, and pierced with heavy sub bass. It was absolutely dark, trippy, and beautiful!
Untold performed this live set using electronic instruments to recreate his own productions on the fly, a welcomed change of pace from the usual DJ sets at the club. While he played a few older tracks, I recognized the majority from his new EP Black Light Spiral. These tracks were perfect in Output’s environment. Most tracks were not overly dancey – the haunting 4×4 kick of “5 Wheels” was interspersed with plenty of elements that kept it a little too off-kilter to outright dance to, but the live version of the song was kept a bit sparser than in the studio. This gave the accumulated fans an opportunity to enthusiastically find the central beat and nod their heads to it, even in the more chaotic moments. There were certainly chances to stomp one’s feet though! “Strange Dreams” was like a freight train churning its wheels through the club, with its steam engine periodically letting off blasts of steam comprised of haunting vocals. At times the set dragged a bit, but overall the haunting, eerie, cool aesthetic of Untold’s music took us on an exciting, unpredictable, and quite British journey. This was music quite at home (and even born) in London’s foggy nights and clubs, and it was a treat to hear it on our shores.
Pearson Sound was no slouch either and warmed the crowd for Untold with the same precision, but a decidedly different approach. Starting with dubby, ambient electronic tracks in the 80-90 BPM range, Pearson Sound’s set was as much about mood and ambiance as it was kicking one’s feet up. Over the course of the set, the speed quietly ramped up until we were approaching the upper end of techno and transitioning into 140 BPM bass music. These thumpy, percussion-heavy tracks were thrilling to hear at Output, and gave a wonderfully deep and fuzzy punch in the gut and the throat. Pearson Sound’s DJ set was superbly picked and performed smoothly and cleanly. These tracks and smooth transitions wonderfully juxtaposed Untold’s gritty, raw techno that followed.
I would like to thank MeanRed for booking these wonderful artists as well as Output for providing the great ambiance, sound, and lighting required to make a good show even better. These are some of the bookings that make me proud to live in New York City, and I know this trend will continue with the upcoming Simian Mobile, Bicep, and L-Vis 1990 party! Viva la NYC! Viva la Output!