Any DJ that comes out dressed in a suit and then proceeds to lay down FIVE dub step tracks in succession to start off his hour-and-a-half-long set — receives good marks in my book.
More videos and commentary after the jump:
Throughout his set at the House of Blues on Friday night, Diplo was totally nonstop: Anything from the movement of hands, body, and even his feet the entire time — were constantly in motion. It was captivating and, at times, even exhausting to watch. While most other DJs stand there and look “Benny Benassi Cool”– merely bobbing their heads and flicking their wrist every once in a while, Diplo took his set from the standard level to an all-out production. And watching him fully engage himself into every beat and oontz he threw down, contemporaneously made the room erupt with an equally energetic reaction– resulting in an all-out sweaty frenzy. You don’t get that often, especially at a venue like the House of Blues.
(Diplo performs live at the House of Blues in San Diego on June 11th 2010. Look at this guy move!! So non stop! What a killer performance!)
However Diplo is the kind of DJ that totally changes your perception of DJs as performers: What differentiates producer-DJs like Diplo, Deadmau5, and 2ManyDJs, from their peers in the field, goes well beyond just the sound of their music: As performers they consistently break those usual expectations for DJs to be, essentially, non-vocal play list mediators — by engaging their respective audiences with elements of theatrics and constant movement. Electronic music is typically accused of lacking these factors, however this was not remotely the case with Diplo’s set this past Friday night.
Of course nothing got the room more ravenous and feverish than when Diplo threw down (his alt-moniker) Major Lazer’s track “Pon de Floor” for sweaty ravers to aurally devour and rub up against each other to. Admittedly, things got pretty intense in the inner circle in front of the DJ booth, so I apologize for the unsteady camera action: Nothing was safe from the omni-group-grinding action…
And as we discussed previously, Diplo is also producer behind the boom, boom, boom, click, bang of M.I.A.’s ubiquitous track “Paper Planes” so here is a sweet little clip of Diplo dropping the track, along with a nice crossover into Bassnectar’s dubstep remix of The Pixies’ classic number “Where is My Mind”:
Diplo laid out an extremely technical set with heavy dosings of tropical tech, dance hall, Cumbia, and tribal-esque Reggaetronica. However the most sonically interesting element of his set was his heavy emphasis on dub step. Especially within our local atmosphere where in recent months dub step has been increasingly gaining more attention throughout the music “scene”, it is important to note this successful and renowned future-thinking producer’s heavy inclusion of dub step into his set. If you had any questions about dub step’s potential in global dance music culture prior to his live set, you shouldn’t have any now: Expect dub step to be more sonically relevant within the next two years.
Can’t get enough of Diplo? Neither can we!
What fascinates us most about Diplo is his ability to intermix culture into his music: It’s more than appropriate to describe Diplo’s music as “a melting pot of sounds”– intermingling reggae, with manipulated soundbites straight out of electronica, with dance hall rhythms and booty busting beats coursing in an undying fashion throughout.
Diplo almost uses his music as a guise for what really seems to be an unassuming lesson in intercultural communication. And, it’s overwhelming to the point of near speechlessness: The potential his music has to positively impact global society. He discusses more about the importance of his music and the sense of “cultural androgyny” that his music assumes in the video below.
Especially in the case of Major Lazer: A duo made up of Diplo himself and another producer named Switch — as two white dudes making reggae music at first impression, are not particularly credible. In order to evade the racial implications and remove that bias from their music, Diplo & Switch decided to come up with a character who would validate our racial expectations for reggae musicians, and thus came up with a quirky Mr. T-meets-rave-culture-esque cartoon character that is, in essence, the visually designated Major Lazer proxy. This allows for their amazing music to be heard and diminishes those opportunities for even those subconscious mental objections and biases to effect individual judgments.
Needless to say: If you missed Diplo at the House of Blues last Friday — you missed out.
A Huge Thank You to Krysta Hynes for providing TheMixster.com with the photo gallery of the event at the House of Blues in San Diego exclusively for THIS site!!
Photos By: Krysta Hynes
All Commentary and videos by: TD