Sunday, 7 September 2008

Kon-Rock Night featuring Nipponia Electronica

So continuing from that logically impossible post yesterday, last night I went to see a great electronic/VJ night at Design Furniture Store Agra. At night, in the pouring rain, Agra felt exactly nothing like a furniture store, and exactly like an after hours warehouse show in a somewhat shady, anonymous concrete building. It seemed to be in an obscure location, and almost invisible from the road so that we pretty much drove past trying to find it. Inside the shop was mostly closed off and there was a plain white room that I reckon they use for shows quite a lot. Especially since they have a purpose built bar... which is, I feel, a tad unusual for a furniture store. Being a furniture store there were chairs, branded with the shops name, and a variety of cool looking tables absolutely covered in a positively terrifying arsenal of electronic devices. It certainly reminded me that I really want an Yamaha Tenori-On. Oh sweet gadgetry...

The first guy up as we walked in was Kimitaka Matsumae, who put on a virtuoso set of keyboard wizardry
that reminded me in the best way of the music from classic video games of the early nineties. I love that shit, so I was in hog heaven. The second guy put the night on I think, but I only realised this later, so I felt a little guilty for spending most of his set outside. He played under the name Invisible Future, and he had a fun show, blending electro music, specially made videos and J-Pop style vocals with a lot of charm. However, it was pouring with rain, it was not a cold night, and the room was completely unventilated so it was hot as - yes - balls. I took the chance to step outside.

The main reason we went was Nipponia Electronica, who Yuka and Katsuhiko know, and who's work I'd already been blown away buy. Nipponia-san blends electronic music and video composition in a way that's more fun, fluid and impressive than almost anyone else I've seen. He cuts, loops and scratches footage from old Japanese TV shows, and adds his own music to create an astounding spectacle that is both audio and visual. How d'you like them apples? During his set he used pre-prepared tracks that he added to, mixed and manipulated (with, amongst other things, a Kaoss Pad, and the afformentioned Tenori-On, swoon) and most impressively he used one of those incredible DVD scratching devices to perform video scratch solos. Seriously, that shit alone is worth the price of entrance. I got given a free DVD too with samples of all the artists work so if I can find a way to rip his track off it I feel like I've got a duty to the world to share it.

Because of course, this guy, awesome though he is, is never gonna make it big. His entire art depends on repurposing otherwise unremarkable moments of ancient TV, and there is no way in hell he could clear all the copyrights. So he plays these tiny nights, probably makes no money, and is an absolute genius.

The night ended with a four-man electronic jam that worked far better than it had any right to. I'm pretty damn glad I decided to go really.

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