Dublab has been an LA institution of new music. Created by 3 KSCR students in 1999, the amorphous project has attracted the best in experimental and electronic music since its inception. Anyone from Ariel Pink to Four Tet to Animal Collective to Z-Trip could be expected at a Dublab party or record. Not content to be merely an “event,” an “occurrence,” or a “internet radio station,” the brand bills itself as a part of the Future Roots movement (even naming the non-profit company Future Roots Inc.)
Only fitting, then, that the two most progressive labels (Brainfeeder and Ninja Tune, although I felt like Mush was missing) would be available for the 13th birthday of Los Angeles’ future beat godfather. The set list was prime – Dntel, Saul Williams, Teebs, MatthewDavid, Gaslamp Killer, and Daedelus would close the set. The Echoplex was loaded to the gills, the front patio an overflowing mess of cheap cigarettes, asyemtric hair cuts, and flasks being passed. I saw at least three to five people get turned away at the door. Not because they were too drunk / drugged – because they were too young to get in. This party wasn’t just for the old beat heads who had followed Dublab from KSCR to today. The kids were given the chance to come out and see THEIR music, and a free show at the Echoplex was a perfect opportunity to use that 7th and Alvardo fake ID you bought this summer. So what it says you’re 28 and born in Alaska; it’s time to get jiggy with GLK, Daedelus and your crew.
Certain things were to be expected. Dntel played some hard hitting bass and kept things melodic to start. PBR Tall Boys littered most of the Echoplex (a quick aside: Can we get past the point where PBR can lose its hipster connotations and just be considered cheap beer again? I have seen frat boys put down a 30 rack of PBR and crush them against their forehead, but he isn’t listening to Grizzly Bear). Dublab brought all kinds of fun toys – a silk screen press to make t-shirts, promotional items were offered, and albums from all the artists were for sale. Plenty of merch available, by the people, for the people.
Teebs sheepishly emerged to cheers and hands in the air. A local favorite of the Brainfeeder crew, he isn’t afraid to treat the stage like a showroom for his recent creations and rough drafts. A clear local favorite, his whimsical yet meticulous productions just keep getting better and better, even when they decimate speakers and ear drums. MatthewDavid followed with a dynamic set, bringing his rapping, beats, and singing mixture to the forefront. One of Brainfeeders younger artists, MatthewDavid has a growing reputation for his live show in all of its weird, funked out glory, psychadelic and cerebral all at once.
Next up was the one and only Peanut Butter Wolf, the Stones Throw head honcho, with video Dj session. Starting with the one, the only 50 Tyson, the videos took the audience all over the place, Wolf liberally sprinkling some of his favorites with the esoteric. Stones Throw was in the house, no doubt. It took the best efforts of Gaslamp Killer, fresh off a record release party at the Mayan, to upstage all that. In an almost trademark style, Willie “Gaslamp Killer” danced around stage while mixing some of the weirdest tracks together. A capellas from the Beach Boy’s Smile, Hudson Mohawke, and new releases from his excellent debut album, Breakthrough, littered his set.
This led to a classic set by Daedelus. Armed with a sampler, MIDI sequencers and more, the man in the suit took the stage to bring down the house through a sonic assault. Lacking the diversity of GLK’s massive sounds, Daedelus brought energy we almost couldn’t expect – his manner of DJing, free from turntablism and laptop whoring, involves sequencing different songs, sounds, clips, into these manic collages. The energy was palpable, the bass fuzzy on your chest. It was simply too much fire, a fitting nightcap to a fantastic evening of great music.
Less than a week later meant another Daedelus performance – this time at the Eagle Rock Music Festival, opening for the Pharcyde. With only 25 odd minutes to whip together a set, the man in the suit was back again in full force. While the crowd was the diverse mish-mosh of Angelenos, from Long Beach to the Valley, were there for the Pharcyde, within five minutes “it” was apparent. It, of course, being the sound waves rattling teeth and skulls, deep dark beats leading to the neighborhood Rhasta to jam out like he’s in Venice.
This leads to last week’s glory event: LACMA’s Halloween Party. Always the jam, this years “Kubrick Halloween Ball” created the opportunity. Coincidentally Daedelus’ birthday, it also is an opportunity to play dark, gothic beats. The meticulous nature of Daedelus’ music and DJ sets emerges better when he is paired with Archimedes, a multi-prong visual attack of mirrors and lights that is controlled by multiple Ableton controllers Deadelus. Created by Emmanuel Biard and David Leonard, it can bring a harrowing and awe inspiring effect to the wild lunacy of Halloween.
Our city is blessed on these occasions 13 years of a collective that has only grown in size and sponsors much of the city’s best music. It’s not just a free party to celebrate Dublab – it’s a party to celebrate the creativity of Los Angeles, one performer at a time