By Geo Gomez
Massacooramaan, like the other acts coming this Friday, draws from a variety of influences. One of his songs is called “Cumbia Embotado,” and the track pits the maraca driven beat of Cumbia against high pitched electric ‘wamp wamp wamp’s. Another one of his tracks is tagged as a “pre-Christian Slavic winter ritual” on Soundcloud.
Besides those outlying tracks, most of Massacooramaan’s music tweaks dancehall music. The classic dancehall music reverberates behind melodies that switch between dizzyingly fast and dreamily slow. Even his name is a smorgasbord of syllables and sounds, and his music is sure to intrigue as well as entrance listeners.
Cedaa is a DJ from Washington whose mixes are absolutely groovy. He distills songs into fast and slow tempos, which he parses out into staccato production. He pinpoints start and stop moments of different melodies until he combines the whole shebang into a frenetic banger.
In this way, Cedaa can get the dance floor jumping like Girl Talk. In his music, there is an air of self-referential production, as if he knows the tools and effects he is messing with are only possible through this new age of digital technology. His songs are rich with qualities that deliberately evoke the sense of tailored and electronic production, like a dance party for cyborgs.
Last on the setlist is Venus X, whose real name is Jasmine Soto. Hailing from New York, she is renowned for her party GHE20 GH0TH1K—which she founded and organized—and which she describes as “a mix between hip hop, punk, chopped and screwed, basically everything black and white.”
Venus X is a Latina who has studied Gender and African studies, and tried to incorporate her kind of cultural savvy-ness into her music by blending all different types of media into a “fantasy meets reality” party mix.
In one of her mixes that marked the debut of her notorious party, a slowed down Vanessa Carlton sings out “makin’ my way downtown” while another voices call out “GHE20 GOTH1K.” Carlton’s voice speeds up with every call and response, turning into a near yelling match and just as Carlton’s voice reaches near recognizable speed, the sound spins off into a repetition of “GHE20 GOTH1K” again and again. Suddenly, a voice calls out, “I come to you hungry and tired,” an ominous and otherworldly call.
Later on in the track, the sound has bounced to a type of rock sound undercut with repetition, voice alterations and, strangely enough, the jangle of tambourines. When this interlude fades, the track has transformed into a quick beat laden with industrial influences. This all happens within one track.
Venus works across the gamut of not only music, but auditory stimulation. From haunting to soothing, and from high-energy hype to distorted dystopia, Venus’ music doesn’t try to appeal to any sensibilities. It doesn’t try to fit into any genre. In fact, it actively tries to subvert those ideas and topple binaries.
Venus herself has said that during her party GHE20 GOTH1K, she tried to “Merge everyone’s identities, issues and music tastes into one platform.” Later, she talks about how she wants music to come through not as ‘derivations’ of world music, such as the influence of Reggaeton on Moombahton, but as true representations of culture. That’s why her music sounds like such a kaleidoscope of different sounds.
Within all this intense production, headed by just as strong of a dedication to musical integrity, Venus has what it takes to get the audience pumped. If she can bring a club party in the no-mercy New York club scene from the ground up with only her and her friends playing underground music, she can definitely get a room of college students dancing like we weren’t in the middle of Iowa but, rather, the middle of Venus’ dreamlike textile of every sound imaginable.
To experience this amalgamation of electronic dance artists, come to Gardner tonight, Friday February 8 starting at 10 p.m.