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Monday, December 20, 2010

Friday Night: Claude Von Stroke and Julio Bashmore Lead XLR8R's Holiday Party

Posted By on Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 2:14 AM

Claude VonStroke at Public Works on Friday
  • Claude VonStroke at Public Works on Friday

Julio Bashmore
Claude VonStroke
December 18, 2010
@ Public Works

Better than: A Holiday party at the family's house

Many people missed Saturday's small earthquake, probably because they were still feeling reverberations from the night before at Public Works, where XL8R and Dirtybird threw a free holiday party featuring house heroes Julio Bashmore and Claude VonStroke. Half the city seems to show up to these free shows. Maybe this is why San Francisco has become such a hotspot for electronica: it's the result of lots people trying to escape a sense of impending temblor doom by staying constantly in vibration.


The concert poster: Vaguely reminscent of local graphic artist, Jason Munn.

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Highlights spun from the opening DJ's: Ramadanman, Crystal Waters and a healthy dosage of tribal trance and popular dubstep, courtesy of Disco Shawn, REM Koolhaus, and Contakt.

Claude Von Stroke: Proclaimed by several people throughout the night to be "one of the greatest DJs alive right now," the man with a suggestive name seduced his already salivating fans with filthy headache-inducers. As old as the genre of house is, VonStroke has gotten tons of hype because he's one of the few current DJs who recaptures its experimental nature. The casual listener may just hear repetetive drum machines, but the dance connoisseur can pick up on the subtleties -- teeth-clenching breaks and spiraling cycle-gasms of stuttering snares, claps, and hi-hats. Primitive, confrontational, urban and relentless, VonStroke's set exemplified the art of timing, giving the simplest synth lines and corniest sound effects infinitely more power. This was the kind of music that Black Eyed Peas must have been referring to when they suggested that we "get retarded." It's one thing just to be non-melodious and minimal, but when the bass is pounding and the tempo is unchanging, the effect is hypnotic. Audience members proceeded to climb atop the stage like enthusiastic puppies wagging their tails.

Julio Bashmore: VonStroke emphasized the technical side of things, but this UK DJ, making his United States debut, preferred to explore less tense textures. One man set up an African drum in the back of the club and started freestyle-tapping it in time, emphasizing the enormous amount of freedom a dancer has within the open spaces of his tracks. Whereas VonStroke seemed to exist in a world of 8-bit technology gone awry, Julio preferred 32-bit style pads calmed down by Buddhist chanting. The anxiety was toned down with Eastern percussion and swooping, cyber-delic textures. Noises shifted from earthy and absurd to spacy and soothing.

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Outfit of the night: A tie between Max from Where The Wild Things Are (complete with light-up crown) and sexy shirtless purple spandex man, who was one of the wild things.

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Journalism advice from a drunkard: "Just because you're shooting, doesn't mean you can't groove too!"

Personal bias: Complete sobriety and intense hunger. A musician has more of a challenge making me care about grooving when my other, more necessary survival needs are unsatisfied. Kudos to XL8R and Dirtybird for delivering.

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Aron Fischer

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