Decibel Festival 2013: Hyper Dub Showcase @ The Crocodile

all photos by Matthew Thompson

Decibel Festival is really just getting started. On Monday, you could catch the pop up art show – with posters designed by some of Seattle’s finest – and on Wednesday there was the awesome kick off party at the Chiluly Garden, the glorious Space Needle presiding over the holy event. Though almost tangible in the morning, in the lines to pick up badges and tickets and passes, the excitement culminated as the first artists took stage. Over at The Crocodile London’s electronic label Hyperdub, home to greats like Burial, Flying Lotus, Darkstar, and Zomby. Unafraid in approach, the fairly young label enlists as much from the low and heavy dub side of electronic music, to the dancy spastic upbeats that captivate the masses. The showcase at the Crocodile kicked off with Seattle’s Jimi Jaxon (one of Decibel’s crew, also coincidentally gave me a flier last summer before my own first Decibel experience), London’s Ikonika, DJ Spinn of Chicago, and the founder of Hyperdub himself, Steve Goodman, a.k.a. Kode9.

Jimi Jaxon kicked things off:

Ikonika was among my must-sees at Decibel. In 2008 her release Contact, Love, Want was received with intrigue and good reviews – intrigue because she is one of the few female producers to work with dubstep, and good reviews because the album was, well, great. Spontaneous in nature (a quality she shares with Kode9), she is unafraid of arrhythmic bits, but clearly in love with the heavy thud of bass.

Next was DJ Spinn, whose down and dirty use of Kanye West’s “Mercy” riled up the crowd over and over again. Every now and then we put our hands in the air, and booty shaking was a reoccurring theme of the evening. Playing most of the recognizable songs/artists of the night, such as Ludacris, few were left not dancing.

Dj Spinn handed the stage over to Kode9, whose set was dizzying and filled with complex irregular rythms and sampling that faded in and out of recognition. Towards the end of his set TNGHT’s “Higher Ground” set the crowd shouting again. “What’s the time? Should I just keep playing forever?” Goodman shouted across the stage at around 1:30. And if it were up to us he would. The spirit of Decibel was alive and well at The Crocodile this Wednesday night (or Thursday morning).



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