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Monday, 27 February 2012

SubVersion Stop 153: Little Dragon + Holy Other @ 02 Academy, Oxford - 26th February 2012

Questioning your ruse doesn't faze a holy other. Indeed, the Mancunian doesn't outline the exact ruse of his music; all full of half-there shoegaze density meets industrial 'Bass Music' dualism. But it's darn appealing. Through a set pre-ordained at dominantly 80-140 BPM, Holy Other touch textural bases with Animal Collective support Grouper, Hessle Audio stalwart Pangaea and Murcof. Like those artists, it's a fairly lifeless experience visually, here mixed with no 'instrumental' interaction. However when the tracks are this absorbing - especially effervescently flirtatious "We Over" - it makes for an interactive mindgame, and I for one want to question with a desire to see this Holy Other again. He acts as amiable warm-up to this evening's Swedish headliners Little Dragon. A feel of a gig can be traced by its support, but there's also a gradient, present here certainly, that causes enjoyment to increase when acts are combined.

Musically, Little Dragon seem displaced from their 1980s upbringing. Their only throwback to that era tonight is a synth arpeggio intro, elongated to Oneohtrix Point Never size, similar to what adorned the "Ritual Union" standout "Precious", which fittingly commands the encore. Their signature swingbeat, slowed down to pop palpability, recalls a form of dance music tripping its own laces from noughties exhaustion. This translates well live: bodies are moving early, lights are dimmed and everyone's at home, so they must be doing something right with their productions. Pogo beats of varying varieties don't clash with singer Yukimi Nagano's sultry, bandy voice; her range skits prettily between Madonna-ish broken melismas and wisps of a more subdued M.I.A. They're like a nocturnal version of 4Hero in the 02, adapting to the venue's boxed-in-ness in a cuddly yet energetic bond with band and audience.

Ramjam up to the bar before we even started, an adventurous take on tonight might see Little Dragon as an update of 60s Rocksteady, while Holy Other a hint towards the Bass Music underground. The journalistic catch-all for whatever transcends Dubstep, it's excellent to observe so many enjoying themselves from a line that traces back over five decades.

Little Dragon: website
Holy Other: SoundCloud

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