w/ Little People, Big Wild
Marathon Music Works; Nashville, TN
March 13, 2015
Review by Jack Smith
There’s no denying that we’re currently in the midst of a golden era of electronic music. Today’s artists have ditched cheesy sound effects in favor of work-intensive sound design, but kept the groove and danceability that makes electronic music so great. Last Friday, March 13, Nashville’s Marathon Music Works was lucky enough to host three of the most respected names in the modern electronic music industry. The night began with a performance by LA based producer Big Wild, followed by respected artist Little People. The headliner for the evening was the one and only ODESZA. The show was a blast, and if you have a chance to see any of these three artists in the future, we highly recommend them. After the jump, we’ve got details on the show, so stay tuned!
Nashville isn’t really known as a hub for electronic music fans, but we still managed to pack the house during this one. From the beginning of Big Wild’s set, the crowd felt vibrant and lively. If you haven’t been lucky enough to catch Big Wild live yet, you definitely need to add that endeavor to your bucket list. This skillful artist utilizes a genre-bending approach to his music, drawing influence from music from a variety of times and places to create a focused but cosmopolitan vibe. Of course, this is all framed with the context of electronic music, meaning there were plenty of builds, bridges, and drops for the audience to loose their collective mind over. Though many fans know Big Wild primarily for his high profile remixes (including a stellar ODESZA remix), his original material deserves a favorable mention as well. If you’re lucky enough to attend SXSW this year, Big Wild will again be joined by ODESZA for a show this Thursday that you don’t want to miss.
Next up on the bill was Little People, a Portland based DJ who spins tunes in a similar vein to Emancipator or Tycho. However, Little People uses a uniquely minimalistic and downtempo touch to make his music stand out. While there’s still plenty of content for the audience to latch on to (it isn’t just ambience), in many ways, the spaces between notes are just as important as the notes themselves. Of course, for music like this to work, a producer needs to be an expert at sound design. Fortunately, Little People seems to have no trouble on this front. The talented DJ has received a great deal of recognition recently for his intricate live shows and generally artistry, and after getting a chance to see him, we totally understand why he’s been so lauded. Sadly, the Marathon show was Little People’s last stop on his current tour, but you’ll be able to catch him during next year’s tour or on the festival circuit this summer.
The evening’s final act was ODESZA. In contrast to the previous acts, ODESZA is a duo, which drastically expands what they’re able to do live. While a traditional DJ is either tied to the stand or forced to use prerecorded tracks, ODESZA enjoy a great deal more flexibility. For instance, both members of the band performed live percussive parts in addition to programming synthesizers and launching clips. The most impressive part of their performance was the level of communication between the two members, Clayton Knight and Harrison Mills. With minimal discussion or eye contact, Mills and Knight were able to construct complex musical ideas and stay in tempo with each other throughout the set. While this is what one should expect from a group with as much critical and commercial acclaim as ODESZA, it’s still impressive to see an electronic act excel in both the live performance and computer sides of the genre simultaneously. We’ve already mentioned that these guys are playing SXSW, but they’ll also appear on a few more tour dates, several festivals this summer (including Bonnaroo), and a lengthy European tour in late spring. Check out ODESZA’s schedule here.