If you’ve never before experienced the collision of trap, hip-hop and bass: you are missing out. This sweat-inducing musical collision is having a moment right now and producers — even whole labels — are devoting themselves to the future of this booty-shaking genre. All things considered, if it weren’t for the efforts of Machinedrum, who knows whether our ears would have ever enjoyed this hodge-podge of beats, bass and drops the way they do now. Ever since encountering one of Machinedrum’s tracks in 2011 I’ve wanted to see him perform live, and in the years that followed I eagerly consumed each new track or collaboration. Two weeks ago at Webster Hall, I finally got to witness him bring the house down.
There’s often a misconception that so-called “laptop producers” don’t know how to put a fresh spin on their music to captivate a live audience, but Machinedrum sure knows how to put on a show. Over the course of 90 or so minutes, he took us on a journey through his new album — complete with live visuals by A/V master Strangeloop — and he even threw in some brand new tracks at the end. Throughout his performance, I was struck by his playfulness, energy and sheer athleticism. It takes a lot to simultaneously manipulate tracks on a laptop and riff beats on drum pad, while pumping up a crowd to keep everyone engaged, but Machinedrum made it all look incredibly easy.
As the music continued to swell around me and I lost myself to the drop of my favorite songs, I began to feel something I hadn’t felt in months: Escape. For me, as with many electronic music aficionados, escapism drew me to the scene. The freedom to leave the world, dance judgement-free on a dark dancefloor and lose myself to the music became my drug, but somewhere along the way life (and the Election) got in the way. There on the dancefloor of Webster Hall, I closed my eyes, welcomed the synergy surrounding me and smiled.
As for Machinedrum’s latest tracks, I’m happy to report that trap and bass lovers will greatly approve (as do I). For a taste of his upcoming releases, check out the video below, and you can listen to Human Energy in full over on Spotify.