“Sense” is such an interesting word. It can refer to our access to sensation through “the five senses.” But it also refers to meaning, how we “make sense” of the world. So how exactly do we “make sense” of music? Big question. I haven’t the faintest clue how to answer it, but as the years have gone by and I’ve had the opportunity to witness the evolution of contemporary music, I’ve come to value singers, musicians and DJs who have challenged and even shattered my preconceived notions about what precisely music is capable of.
San Francisco’s Brendan Angelides, a.k.a. Eskmo, is just such an iridescent figure. Like most of his Ninja Tunes colleagues (Amon Tobin, DJ Food, Herbaliser, Vadim, etc.), words, especially categories, can’t possibly do justice to the sophisticated panoply of tools that Eskmo brings to the table. If forced at gunpoint, however, I’d reluctantly characterize his CDJing and instrumental style as a combination of distinctively Ninja Tuney layered sonorous textures, abstract dubstep vibrations, Prefuse 73’s abrupt tempo disruptions and a Thievery Corporation-like penchant for creative sample pilfering [ed. We at Discorder did not put a gun to reviewer Dan Adleman’s head]. In interviews, I’ve heard Eskmo say that he’s much more interested in transforming people through music than getting them to dance. If Sunday night’s W2 crowd is any indication, the two are far from mutually exclusive. In fact, with instant classics like “Hypercolor” and “Amphibian,” he was pushing all kinds of pleasure buttons in the packed house, and I got the impression that a great many people wound up staying up significantly later than they’re accustomed to on a Sunday night in mid-November. As a side note, the new W2 space is incredible. The space is expansive and clean, the resonance is phantasmagoric, and they have good (but reasonably-priced) tequila behind the bar. Long gone into the trash bin of history are the days when Vancouverites had to cram themselves into claustrophobic after hour shit-holes or Granville strip chachi bars to see quality electronic musical acts.