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Live Review: Tycho, Prefuse73, Baths, Synkro

26 November 2012 | 10:24 am | Nicholas Langley

The inaugural Land Of The Giants brought together four promising international producers, making for a night of music lingering somewhere between ambient and dance.

Synkro was the first of the four to grace the stage, performing a set characterised by a bass-heavy mix, sporadically utilised vocal samples and a visual backdrop reminiscent of the nervous system.  More of a skilled DJ than an engaging live musician, his hour-long set dragged towards the back end and seemingly lacked a focus on melody.

The endearingly awkward Baths appeared sincerely humbled to be involved in the event, subsequently performing with a fervor rarely seen amongst fellow producers. With a heavy implementation and manipulation of samples, his set was as interesting to watch as it was enjoyable to hear. Given his vocal proficiency, it was disappointing to have his vocal shrouded in the mix by beats and bass, as the vocal made for an excellent point of difference to the other artists. Irrespective, his visually impressive – featuring animated machinery and blossoming flowers - and technically adept set left the crowd beaming.

Returning to the “skilled DJ” paradigm, Prefuse73 delivered a musically interesting set, but one that felt entirely undercooked when compared to his predecessor. Prefuse73 could be stylistically categorised under the new wave of 8-bit-influenced, glitch-hop artists, yet despite being more established than many of his contemporaries, he didn't have the enigmatic charisma possessed by other successful artists within that space. Continuing the theme of bass and beat-heavy production evident throughout the night, he simply lacked the gusto or originality necessary to present an engaging set.

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Tycho unassumingly took to the stage at the relatively late time of 12:45am, primed nonetheless for his debut Sydney performance. From the opening phrases, the sound was pristine, allowing their texture and melody to sit on top of the driving bass frequencies – a feat not achieved over the course of the evening until then. Integrating a full band into the set up, including bass and live drums, made for a refreshing change and effectively provided an increase in energy compared to his records. The array of sounds synonymous with Tycho were reproduced flawlessly in the live arena, and the full band, while somewhat stoic in demeanour, nonetheless appeared to be enjoying their time on stage.

The true forte of the Tycho live show, however, came in the format of his impressive visual backdrop. Conceived by Tycho himself, there was a thematic motif of open expanses, notably present with oceans and deserts prominently featured. Complementing the audio elements perfectly, the visuals reacted with accents and crescendos, creating a seamless audiovisual experience rather than a compromised meeting between the two separate entities.

Despite concluding his encore slightly after 2am, the buzz from the crowd was palpable; testament to the quality of the Tycho live experience.