Review & Photos | Symbiosis Gathering 2013 | California

DJ Final, aka Magnus August Høiberg, aka Cashmere Cat was a DMC finalist as a turntablist. However, he has reinvented himself as an in-demand, magnetic and unique producer of modern electronic music. The Oslo native was buzzed about all weekend, and by the time he took the Cove stage at Symbiosis Saturday night, the legend had already grown substantially. Warm and fuzzy EDM rhythms were spiced with tasty R&B vocals and some of the freshest hip-hop of the past couple years, as he took his drum-cue far more from the annals of Timbaland than any ATL trap-set. Cashmere set it off properly with his remarkable remix of the 2Chainz/Drake collabo “No Lie,” with its prodigious drums and dynamic interplay; later he smoothed out the grooves superbly with his mouth-watering version of Miguel’s “Do You,” the latter of which was also featured in BELI3VER’s afternoon set. Cashmere Cat set the tone and the vibe for a tremendous run of post-trap sonics from later acts Lunice and RL Grimes.

[Photo by Kauai Ric]

Lunice, one half of buzz-duo TNGHT (alongside fellow Symbiosis performer Hudson Mohawke), is rapidly redefining the art of the trap hip-hop remix. A Montreal-based producer born to Filipino and Haitian immigrants, Lunice is a b-boy at heart. He has stated he was inspired to make beats by the early work of 9th Wonder of Little Brother, and the dude lives, eats, and breathes hip-hop. Opening with an incredible take on Jay-Z’s brand new banger “Church,” Lunice unleashed an excursion in bass gymnastics that was positively trap-tastic! R&B vocal samples drenched in gutter-bounce 808 bass thunder, he had more than enough exclusive acapellas to make his entire set fresh to def! Like Laura Low, Lunice implanted vicious versions of Kanye West Yeezus tracks, his emboldened by a manic gloom, as Lunice raged like a man possessed. Dark and dirty versions of ASAP Rocky’s “Pretty Flocka” and Pusha T’s Kingston shout “Blocka” established a current force to be reckoned with. Alternately swilling from a handle, running around his tables rubbing his dome like a raving lunatic, headbanging along with his drums, or coming front- stage to uprock in a new style, Lunice was nothing if not demonic, and most of all, enthralling.

Ott set up at Pantheon and manufactured what was another of the finest displays of artistry over the Symbiosis weekend. He kicked things off with a solid forty minutes of mind-blowing psychedelic dub reggae, mining the Kingston yards for the finest in rudebwoy soundclash. The monster Function-One speakers didn’t just hold the rolling bass lines; they propelled them beyond the stratosphere; and it was Blunted in the Bomb Shelter, live from a new Nepal. Classics from the annals of King Tubby, Mad Professor, and Augustus Pablo were underpinned by the spastic low-end calisthenics. His patented mixture of Psybient Dub arrived late in the set, the lengthy, interesting “Rogue Bagel” shining through; yet his return to the island was overstood with authority. Ott. forwarded a massive “No, No, No” by Sister Carol that set the dancehall ablaze in the dirtiest skanking the evening would provide. The Pantheon nearly burnt down as we screamed “More Fiyah” and howled into the night.

Ott.’s lengthy dub-tastic rager caused this writer to miss a large portion of Emancipator, but so it went with the stacked lineup at Symbiosis. Playing an almost two-hour long set, Emancipator dug deep into the catalogue, and looked into their present and toward the future, playing classics like “Kamakura,” selections from his most recent record Dusk to Dawn, and debuted new music. Ilya Goldberg’s live violin work was thrilling and exquisite as usual. He and Doug Appling demonstrated why Emancipator’s live performances are the stuff of lore in a variety of scenes and regions. The ending of their set was especially moving, calming, ambient, and ultimately left one with a sense of ease, as they gave way to Michal Menert. The Pretty Lights Music, Ft. Collins by way of Poland OG delivered an energetic and lavish set of mid-tempo dance music. His unique stylings separated Menert from the crowd, the steez confidant and unabashedly celebratory.

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