There is a light mist in the air, a chill sweeping the air, and the moonlight still shining bright. I arrive to Terminal West, one of my favorite venues, and take a seat by the side of the stage to catch the last few moments of Charolastra playing swirling ambiences and nice grooves. I've seen this guy open for Beacon once before. He is the hidden electronica treasure in Atlanta and knows how to get the crowd grooving and bring their energy levels up.
Moments after, Trandle takes the stage. It's just him and a sample machine playing all of his rhythms and triggers live. The guy has a lot of passion and is clearly enjoying himself. He is very experimental with his take on his music. Varied tempo changes with lots of stutter effects and repitching techniques ring through our ears.
There is a short break as Jlin sets up her gear. She is using a computer, respective midi controllers, and executes a more mixing forward performance. Jlin is from Gary, Indiana and making waves in the underground electronica scene. Her style is abstract, modular, almost industrial in a way, rooted in hip-hop and trap grooves. She's a bit on the conceptual side of music, pushing things to a new arena yet to be fully explored.
All of the openers are playing their hearts out, yet the dance floor remains divided. The lights and visuals are the icing on the cake, helping people stay intrigued with their surroundings, while listening to one of the best sound systems in the city. A few people in the crowd are accepting of the experimental approach and are dancing in their own unique way. Others, however, are standing around looking confused. The music is too out there for them. It is often times hard to find a groove since it is switching up so quickly. I find myself somewhere in between.
Machinedrum makes his way onto the stage. The crowd is so ready. It feels like we have been waiting for this guy for a lifetime. Someone who is known to blend many different styles with unique and precise sampling techniques, while creating flowing grooves in between. Machinedrum creates a style of his own, what you expect from someone who is a part of the Ninja Tune family. He blends everything from first wave dubstep, uk garage, two-step, hip-hop, jazz, house, drum and bass. The mixes are all rooted in a shuffling groove. He is truly a master mind. He treats us with several new edits and tracks that have yet to be released. I watch eyes open from those in the crowd who were only here tonight because they came with a friend. But true Machinedrum fans knew exactly what to expect, we certainly got it.
Photos by Sara Vogt