Ghostly International Show: Christopher Willits, Beacon and Tycho
Even as someone more than waist-deep in the trenleverhes of the music industry, it’s always gratifying when an experience manages to strike my emotions in the same way as that of a detached fan on the sidelines – someone who isn’t concerned over the gears, the vernacular and the game play of this business that happens to make an art for which the world universally pines.
Each artist/group is unique on their own and has their own flavor so, if you wanted to get into one particular artist and describe them to a friend later on, you could do that without confusion. At the same time, the artists are each analogous enough to fit quite snugly in a “Recommended If You Like” / Pandora Radio style arrangement. Furthermore, the way the three acts’ sounds and intensity levels also fit into each other, like musical nesting dolls, with each getting more expansive than the one before it, the flow of the show felt simultaneously like a fluid linear progression and uniform blending.
Christopher Willits: A sonically gentle, instrumental opener, (no pun intended for new album, “Opening”) Willits has an affinity for applying enough similarity that his tracks are a bit hard to distinguish when they are played live. Nevertheless, in that same vein, the songs run together so well that they clearly function better as a whole unit, which, when paired with a film, makes perfect sense. Use of atypical, off-beat time signatures is an atypical way in an of itself, to account for musical difference. This choice might not be as detectable or appreciated by the average listener but it is nonetheless worthy of a nod for subtle cleverness.
Beacon: Continuation of instrumental styling but with the inclusion of vocals that somewhat matched the fluidity, punch or whichever feeling they were aiming to evoke with their striking melodies and rhythms. The increase in intensity came via things like more percussion, louder volume, faster tempos and more complex rhythms.
Tycho: A combination of both the prior two sets. Tycho’s sing-able melodies, (to be noted later) hooks and absence of lyrics align with Willits’s style but the band also employs more intricate arrangements, louder volume and traditional, conventionally-catchy rhythm patterns that lean toward the feel presented by Beacon.
Add in Tycho’s own original melodies/individual electronic effects and the culminating result is like a perfect frosting topping the most sensibly baked cake. Those involved in the programming decisions deserve just as much of a high five. Lineup is important to a concert, as track order is to an album.
Lastly, it would be a crime to leave out mention of the third sensory element in this live performance — one especially apparent during Beacon’s set — which is that of extreme bass and heavy use of the nine sub-woofers lining the front of the Terminal 5 stage. I will say for that particular aspect of the concert, having a front spot was quite different than being anywhere else, as I truly felt each downbeat against my whole body. However, it was balanced and EQ’ed well enough (A double thumbs up to the individual running sound for the show!) that, although extreme, the bass vibrations didn’t go so far as to start encroaching upon the listening experience in a negative way.
This isn’t how Terminal 5 does things. Doors opened at 7PM when they said they would open, not 15-20 minutes after, the show itself started at 8PM on the dot, sets were changed in a relatively silent and fast fashion; with the kind of urgency akin to that of a race car pit crew. It probably helped this time because the equipment used and instruments coming and going hardly varied between sets. A computer rolled in here, a mixer rolled out there, a few guitars swapped out from song to song but that’s simply another bonus of this grouping, contributing to a seamless evening of listening.
- First time (and or) solo show goers
- For people whose intention is to partake from the in-venue bar while listening (No fear of spilt alcohol!)
- For those whom being physically well balanced in intensely crowded venues has never been a strong point.
The overall immersion of the audience into melodies that undulated like waves, the presentation of smoothly blended, complementary colors (Who would expect less from a designer turned musician?) and the physical manifestation of the sound that allowed the music to further permeate and be stamped upon my memory — both mental and muscle — was enough to leave me at the end of the night, with all my music journalism lingo and industry knowledge, simply thinking,
“When it’s good, it’s good and this was just all around damn good.”
You can learn more about Ghostly International and all the artists on their label at their official website, find them on Twitter @Ghostly or visit them on Facebook.
If you want to get a more actualized idea of the great musical cohesion I’ve described here, just give a listen to these tracks back to back!
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