Lazer Sword, Salva & Nguzunguzu – Live Review

An intimate Vancouver crowd greeted American DJ/Producing duo Lazer Sword with opening acts Salva and Nguzunguzu at the ‘tiki-motifed’ Waldorf Hotel on Friday night. The multi-roomed venue was true to form as a creative compound. Vancouver’s own Expendable Youth and Eames spun in one room while LA based due Nguzunguzu mixed an eclectic variety of progressive global melodies with tribal beats.  They set the stage for a weird and wonderful, futuristic mash-up.  Nguzunguzu, which includes producers Daniel Pineda and MIA’s current tour DJ, Ms. Asma Maroof, mixed r&b and hip-hop favorites with sensual Caribbean zouk, high-tech reggaeton, Columbian cumbia, and body-banging African kuduro beats that reverberated deep inside the chest.

Following NguzunguzuPaul Salva, head of the Bay area label Frite Nite, spun in the main room – mixing futuristic, electronic beats into a funky cross-genre musical cocktail. Drawing on the Californian coast Low End Theory scene, Salva mixed synth-driven, funk hip-hop with neo-disco, ghettotech, pop grime, neo-electro, UK futurism house and more. Retrofitting old-school sounds and tempos that have deeper historical musical roots than most of the current electro heard today, Salva fused the old and new in a serial, modern composition with a street-wise edge that appealed to his young, urban audience. In a unique take on the traditional electro style, Salva combined both rhythmic and melodic hooks, infusing infectious ambient melodies with diverse pulsating beats.

Sometime after midnight, Lazer Sword took to the stage. The San Francisco production duo consisting of Low Limit and Lando Kal spun a boundary-pushing, creative set that impressively combined a seamless, futuristic blend of down-tempo electro trip-hop, underground hip-hop, and mainstream dubstep with a little nintendocore and a lot of mutated filter house thrown in the mix.

With such a rich musical soundscape that is both listenable and extremely danceable, Lazer Sword is definitely most fully appreciated when heard live. Spinning a set full of rapid synth arpeggios and rhythmic melodies from which emerged a modern all-encompassing take on hip-hop, Lazer Sword delivered a dizzying, mind-blowing live experience for a pulsating and responsive crowd. Although playing a predominantly instrumental set, Lazer Sword treated its audience, indulging their inner ghetto, as the duo dropped vocal tracks like “I’m Gone” which features Californian rapper Turf Talk. They remixed uniquely crunked-up, bass-heavy yet ethereal versions of popular R&B tracks, revealing the originality of their distinct and distorted sound. With such a diverse sonic palette, they combine a little something for everyone, and their upcoming album “Memory” to be released in late April under Modeselektor’s Monkeytown Records is an 11-track masterpiece that shouldn’t be missed.

Inspiring truly uninhibited dance moves from the Waldorf crowd, the three-act show combined beautifully to produce a cohesive evening of experimental electro, hip-hop mash-ups with a futuristic and otherworldly feel. Combining both the obscure and the mainstream, all three acts proved perfectly situated in the new emotive electronic club scene that immerses both body and mind. For music that will transport you to another realm, be sure to check out all three artists performances at the upcoming SXSW music festival.