The term “glitch music” was coined to describe electronic music producers that specialize in a particular sound and enlisting a variety of audio artifacts. Taking accidental dissonance and turning it into artful expressiveness, purveyors of said “glitch” music have quietly carved out a loyal and widespread following. Depending on one’s own personal taste—Matmos, Kid 606 and Daedalus have all been associated with the movement—the music is progressive and forward thinking. Roughly fifteen years into its existence, the genre finds the birth of its first-ever super group, The Glitch Mob. Comprised of Ooah (Josh Mayer), Boreta (Justin Boreta) and edIT (Ed Ma), all acclaimed electro-producers individually, the trio is a force to be reckoned with.
All photography by Pamela Lin
Following the success of numerous remixes and their inspiring debut Drink the Sea, the trio embarked on their first-ever full-blown tour. Wrapping up with two shows on the West Coast, their show at the Henry Fonda Music Box in Hollywood was a tour-de-force of synthesized dynamics. Openers Deru and Free the Robots warmed things up with their decidedly more syncopated style of production as the crowd slowly filtered in. The band took the stage just after midnight.
Their setup included a backdrop of a gigantic LED video wall, some fifty feet high. The makeshift video wall provided an array of bizarre imagery, giving the entire set a larger-than-life sense of spatiality. Surrounded by numerous keyboards and mounted drums, The Gitch Mob began with the appropriately mounting “Animus Vox,” which opens Drink the Sea. The track’s highly processed tones slithered and slid by one another as the group slowly ladled in the manually triggered percussion. The crowd jumped and pumped their hands to each successive melodic phrase with eager excitement.
The band then dropped in a killer remix of TV on the Radio’s “Red Dress” from Dear Science. Tunde Adebimpe’s vocals cut and popped through densely layered sequencing reinventing the song’s funky phrasing into a futuristic stomp. One of the band’s strongest compositions came in early. The triumphant distorted bass, hip-hop squelch and shuffle-your-feet drumming of “Fortune Days” was an inspiring piece of meticulous arrangement. As the set continued with the bounding “We Swarm” and the creeping, cool “Bad Wings,” the main trick in their arsenal became clear. Each of the three members make Jazzmutant Lemurs (a super sophisticated form of a touchpad sampler) the centerpiece of their performance. The Lemurs are highly programmable, and it could be seen how from track-to-track the band had different arrangements of sounds, spacing and possible effects that the members could modulate in real time.
The bombastic energy returned with “Drive It Like You Stole It.” In a testament to the effectiveness of the material, there was a nary moment throughout the entire set where the crowd wasn’t in motion. Some of the show’s most poignant and subdued moments came before the encore break. The trio dedicated the ethereal and soulful “Between Two Points” to its vocalist Swan (who was not able to make the show). “How to Be Eaten By a Woman” doubled down on the drumming and the climactic crescendo for their biggest finale yet. And lastly, the delicately nuanced “Starve the Ego, Feed the Soul” chilled things off with the joy-inducing release that one might feel watching the credits of a stellar movie roll by.
The Glitch Mob concluded with a couple of their trademark remixes (Sound Tribe Sector 9 and Krazy Baldhead) along with a sample-filled stomper called “West Coast Rocks,” a track sure to be one of their most loved in years to come. The set’s order showed how some songs might be better placed in the finale, but that knowledge will come as the band continues to tour and get used to their audience. All in all, The Glitch Mob have found an exciting in-between spot in musical construction. Like Kanye West struck gold blending conscious rhymes and melody with club-banging, floor-filling fury, the three visionaries of The Glitch Mob have found a way to straddle the best pieces of glitch production, cinematic splendor and explosive dance beats. This is only the beginning, too.
1. Animus Vox
2. TV on the Radio – Red Dress (The Glitch Mob Remix)
3. Fistful Of Silence
4. Fortune Days
5. We Swarm
6. Bad Wings
8. Drive It Like You Stole It
9. Between Two Points
10. A Dream Within A Dream
11. How To Be Eaten By A Woman
12. Starve The Ego, Feed The Soul
13. STS9 – Beyond Right Now (The Glitch Mob Remix)
14. West Coast Rocks (live version)
15. Krazy Baldhead – The 4th Movement (The Glitch Mob Remix)
All photography by Pamela Lin