Kruder & Dorfmeister – Club Nokia – 10/15/10

Last spring I was surprised to get an email saying that Kruder & Dorfmeister would be playing together, as Kruder & Dorfmeister (as opposed to their individual side projects Tosca and Peace Orchestra), in Los Angeles at the antiseptic Club Nokia.  The Austrian duo created the seminal trip-hop/downtempo/drum’n’bass double disc album “The K&D Sessions” which is still one of my favorite albums and holds up well over a decade later.  I had seen Dorfmeister deejay at a small club in Oslo once, but other than that had no idea what to expect.

What would an actual K&D show be?  The show info said it would be “live” but would that even be possible, considering these guys traded in remixes almost exclusively?  So although I was excited for the show, my expectations weren’t all that high.

Turns out, the show exceeded my expectations, especially from a visual standpoint.  The lightshow consisted of three rectangular LCD screens stacked on top of each other but at different depths and widths that could do all sorts of patterns, video and visuals timed to the music.  Kruder and Dorfmeister stood behind the lowest screen with the middle screen behind them and the top screen hanging above.  Basically this was the Daft Punk pyramid, Austrian-style.

Musically it wasn’t very different than their albums.  But Club Nokia’s sound system made the tracks come alive in a way that your living room stereo can’t quite match.  Everything was clean and crisp – the bass was there, but so was the high end, and the dub echoes would swim through the speakers and sometimes swirl behind you before dissolving.  Of course, it wasn’t too exciting to watch the two aging Austrians bob their heads slightly and play with whatever buttons they had behind the lightshow bank – an extra dub effect here or loop there added to the album tracks – and it would’ve been cool if the Nokia’s in-house cameras that fed flatscreen TVs all over the venue could have given us a view behind the console to see what exactly they were or weren’t doing.  (The cameras showed us KCRW DJ Jason Bentley’s head bob awkwardly for the hour leading up to the show).  Also toward the end of the show the upper half of the lowest screen shorted out, but it didn’t detract from the overall awesomeness of the lightshow.

An extra “live” element was added by two MCs who would pop on and off stage for certain tracks.  One of the guys looked like the English version of the bald bespectacled old man weirdo from those Six Flags Magic Mountain ads.  The other guy more like Will.i.am.  Sometimes their appearance seemed a little cheesy and I felt like I was going to some sort of gimmicky electronica musical (Starlight Express Dub-style) – especially the beginning when the bald guy came on stage to introduce the whole act as an adventure through the “past, present and future of G Stoned sound” (G Stoned is the record label K&D founded).

However, this Christmas Carol structure of past, present and future worked fairly well.  The show started out with High Noon, a remix of Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message” that appeared on K&D’s first album of remixes.  Then came a handful of tracks from the seminal K&D Sessions, including the remix of Depeche Mode’s “Useless” and Bomb the Bass’ “Bug Powder Dust.”  I would’ve liked to have heard some more from K&D Sessions, but they played enough to be satisfied.  As the night progressed into the present and future, it got more uptempo and pretty much turned into a club night with the crowd really starting to move.  I didn’t recognize any of the tracks so not sure if these are things they’ve released already or might be coming out in the near future – will have to check Beatport.

Toward the end of the set the MCs led a “G-Stoned, G-Stoned, rockin” chant to the tune of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” (mixed with “Speechless” another K&D Sessions standout) furthering the cheez factor, but I found the finale of “K&D” to the tune of The Beatles “Let It Be” to be a bit endearing.  16 years of wisdom, yes, but I’d say a fairly intermittent 16 years!

The videos below are of many of the above mentioned tracks.  Shot on my iPhone and I am surprised by the audio quality, but it also goes to show you how crisp the sound is at Club Nokia.


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