Friday, November 21, 2014

This Little Underground: Caribou & Jessy Lanza at the Social

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 12:54 PM

This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene. Read the latest column here.

click to enlarge Caribou at the Social
  • Caribou at the Social

Caribou at the Social

The time has never been as ripe as now for an artist like Jessy Lanza. Seducing the language of R&B from an iceberg of electronic minimalism, the Canadian siren sits in a genre junction that may be niche for right now but it’s hot and current. And she does it well.

Unfortunately, a sound a distilled as hers has a narrow window for proper execution, especially live. Although her music’s loaded with style and aesthetic, the lack of volume and presentation at her recent opening performance (Nov. 18, The Social) made it seem like the kind of flat half-show that ails electronic music’s live reputation. Her voice – the beacon and soul of her music – was distant in the mix. Riding far behind as a secondary ornament to programmed beats, her vocal expression just wasn’t given enough play to weave the aura it’s capable of on record.

click to enlarge Jessy Lanza at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)
  • Jessy Lanza at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Jessy Lanza at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Headliner Caribou, on the other hand, brought plenty of show with a live lighting array and a full band. While that last detail there is something unusual and impressive for an electronic act, it’s standard operating procedure for Caribou. It’s why Dan Snaith and company are one of the best in the business at rendering electronic music with live-band electricity.

click to enlarge Caribou at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)
  • Caribou at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Caribou at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Caribou’s sound is a constant evolution. Their previous album, Swim, was a very honed and effective pivot toward the dance floor. With this year’s Our Love, Caribou’s still out there under the throbbing lights and shaking that ass, just with some timely stylistic updates like clipped hip-hop looping, sizzurped R&B and the rhythmic perpetuity of EDM. At times, their current sound gets a little too deep into the boxy house-music schema at the cost of the identity Snaith has worked so hard to achieve. Even so, Caribou’s reliable taste remains high.

click to enlarge Caribou at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)
  • Caribou at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Caribou at the Social (photo by Christopher Garcia)

Moreover, though they’ve ventured into a dance-music path well-trod by fly-by-nights, Caribou seriously certifies it onstage with real live play that sometimes even results in two drummers. To say that Caribou is to electronic music what the Roots are to hip-hop is maybe going a bit far, but not that far. After all, they create all the odyssey of EDM with all the legitimacy of a live band.

When all of Caribou’s forces converge, it’s a transporting thing. Between the lights, fog and frequency of this latest album, the time-bending vibe of this show was a palpably late-night one. As the show approached 11:00 PM in real time, the sensation in the room felt more like 4:00 AM... somewhere back in 1994.

click to enlarge Caribou at the Social
  • Caribou at the Social

Caribou at the Social

Read more This Little Underground:

click to enlarge Live music at the Smiling Bison
  • Live music at the Smiling Bison

Live music at the Smiling Bison

Follow Bao on Twitter (@baolehuu)

Email Bao: baolehuu@orlandoweekly.com

 

 

 

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