DNTEL (aka Jimmy Tamborello, one half of The Postal Service) concluded Decibel Festival 2011, putting a different spin on what most of the festival had to offer. He didn’t display the unwavering confidence that most DJ’s displayed — in fact, his stage presence was fairly quiet and antisocial in stark contrast to his music which was frantic in a way, less bassy and more noise-influenced rather than beat-influenced. His visuals involved diamond grids layered on a spiral background, geometrical shapes dancing. It was a pleasure to see DNTEL, but some of the bigger fans of the band said afterward that it was a bit disappointing that he didn’t play some of his older, more recognizable material. Nonetheless, his set was enjoyable and a great conclusion to Decibel 2011.
Erika Spring (of Au Revoir Simone) performed as the middle act, putting on a pop-oriented set featuring live bass and drums (a rare sight for Decibel!) that proved more immediately accessible and rock-oriented than most of Decibel. Her shadow was projected onto the visuals — she was seductive, a pleasure to watch perform. Speaking to her afterward, she was a truly delightful person, shy yet containing a surreptitious creative energy that I found myself wishing I innately had.
The world debut of Orcas, composed of Seattle’s Rafael Anton Irisarri (aka The Sight Below) and Portland’s Benoit Pioulard opened up the music for the night. They put on a piano-heavy set, progressive enough to contain a sense of purpose yet simultaneously abstract enough to please those who were searching for a more psychedelic sound. It was certainly music to get lost in, everything done methodically on medium. It was angsty in way, strangely reminiscent of Portishead, sad in way performing with eyes closed. This band has a bright future and should be checked out.