Review // Die Antwoord // Feb 19 2012

Commodore Ballroom

For EXCLAIM! MAGAZINE

Die Antwoord have been attracting their fair share of attention for the group’s provocative music videos that lend themselves nothing short of viral. The Cape Town originals (whose band name means “the answer” in Afrikaans) boast some of the strangest hip-hop this side of the Northern Hemisphere. With their gritty, Kafka-esque lyrical style and their beat-delivering prowess, they proved to be the best response to a rather grim-looking Vancouver weekend.

The city’s Expendable Youth DJs started off the evening with some turntable delights as the Commodore began to fill with an anticipatory audience, some of which even dressed to resemble DA’s frontman Ninja. While a popular DJ set was not exactly the most appropriate way to usher in an evening of musical weirdness, the Mad Decent team managed to deliver a solid string of catchy dance tunes and smart mash-ups.

Wearing a rather terrifying mask, DJ Hi-Tek began Die Antwoord’s set by baiting the crowd, repeatedly spinning out the threatening slogan that he’d “fuck you in the ass,” while flashes of Die Antwoord music videos revealed a sinister theme. It was almost sensory overload when Ninja (Watkin Tudor Jones) and Yo-Landi Vi$$er (Yolandi Visser) finally exploded onto the stage wearing bright orange sweatsuits for “Fok Julle Naaiers.” Unified by their performance and onstage charisma, the unlikely trio formed a nuclear-type family unit in the strangest way imaginable. No stranger to the notion of being “eye popping,” Visser showed off her midriff, her eyes two black pools, coming off as both terrifying and strangely attractive.

While focusing on delivering rhythms and tunes from their newest offering TEN$ION, the group played some more vintage favourites as well, such as “Beat Boy” and the huge crowd pleaser “Enter the Ninja,” one of their most notorious tracks. With the intent of fully staggering the crowd, Die Antwoord blazed the stage and hit the sweet spot with their blistering rendition of “I Fink U Freeky,” effectively delivering one of the strangest songs in their arsenal.

Gritty, real and yet somehow fantastical, Die Antwoord’s surreal blend of hip-hop, trashy pop culture references and brazen methodology make them one of the most unbelievable acts around, on record and especially live from the stage.

Aphex Twin reveals new untitled track!

Booya! Just read in Exclaim! that electronic genius/madman/misanthrope Aphex Twin (a.k.a. Richard D. James) played a new, untitled song at a concert in Europe during his tour recently. Here’s concert footage revealing the mystery track. It sounds equally ethereal as some of his earlier work, but without his classic glitchy-weirdness. Maybe he’s toning down the electro-craziness?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnVRp6SXSk4&feature=player_embedded#!]

Sadly, I discovered that there is no mention of a new album coming out any time soon. For those who enjoy this brand of music, feel free to reminisce with this masterpiece of weirdness. It’s Come to Daddy, from his 1997 EP.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Az_7U0-cK0&feature=related]

Rumours that Thunderheist is calling it quits!

After suffering a near coronary reading a story from Exclaim saying that my all-time favourite electro-duo Thunderheist was planning on a break-up, I was disheartened to say the least.

Grahm Zilla is one of the main focal points of my upcoming documentary Remixing Culture, which looks at how technology and the digital format has changed cultural consumption, production and relationship to music.

Singer Isis Salam posted information about her own solo projects, while DJ/ producer Zilla’s been a little more secretive. After a brief Facebook chat session, Grahm relieved much of my anxieties and assured me that he’s been making music like crazy, and will make an official announcement about the status of Thunderheist in a few days. For Zilla fans, like myself, it’s come as a bit of a surprise, but rest assured. There are bigger and better things on the horizon for these talented musicians.

Check out the video of the first interview I did with Thunderheist last year for SPINearth.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehQWFdVtzhg]