By: Ryo Miyauchi
The third installment of CRSSD Fest starts this Saturday at the Waterfront Park in San Diego. If you’re not too familiar with many of the dance producers and DJs on the bill, here’s a crash course of five artists worth your time.
When/Where: 7:00 – 9:00, Saturday at City Steps
Recommended mix: Essential Mix
Unlike many of the names on the CRSSD lineup, Ben Thomson has solely stuck to his job as a DJ. But his mixes alone have been an important document of the changing culture of underground techno for this good half of the decade. Thomson’s curation of bare-bones, battered breaks and raw, often uneven melodies have defined his voice, and his mixes have consistently warped the contemporary while finding a pop footing in the dissonant. There’s a good possibility he’ll make you dance to squiggly bass lines and metallic clanks.
When/Where: 3:30 – 4:45, Sunday at The Palms
Recommended listen: Knockin’ Boots
The best introduction to Julio Bashmore still remains his breakthrough hit “Battle for Middle You.” It’s equally odd and pop with its wonky riff and eagerly nimble break, which reflects the track’s anthemic chant perfectly: “People get up/ stomp your feet/ let’s get down.” His mixing, too, falls in between the two poles, though running slightly jagged yet mostly jolly in terms of spirit. His recent debut album, Knockin’ Boots, also provide a good entry point by showcasing his pop instinct in tandem to his tastes in dance music.
When/Where: 1:30 – 3:05, Sunday at Ocean View
Recommended listen: Short Stories EP
Since his release of Short Stories EP via Soulection last year, Sam Gellaitry has been gaining a lot of buzz for his meticulously precise, larger-than-life bass productions. His booming beats owe a lot to Hudson Mohawke, whose own massive-scaled music changed the shape of the dance scene in the past half-decade. Gellaitry’s twists and turns of his songs, as well as the shiny sheen, recall popular future-bass producers, but most appear brittle compared to the young producer’s arsenal.
When/Where: 2:30 – 3:30, Saturday at The Palm
Recommended listen: Prom King
Ryan DeRobertis rebuilt his music from the scratch last year, switching from his Saint Pepsi moniker to Skylar Spence. The result was the slick, French touch-calling pop debut, Prom King. Lead single “Can’t You See” from the album finds a lovestruck DeRobertis working a glam-speckled riff and beat not too dissimilar in vibe as Stardust’s eternal classic “Music Sounds Better with You.” Pair the bass line with the sun-lit waterfront, and it’s a completed scene.
When/Where: 7:30 – 9:00, Saturday at The Palms
Recommended listen: RA.494 podcast
Tiga puts fun first, edginess second, no matter how rough and gritty the record may sound. And he knows a thing or two about rough and gritty techno. His label Turbo has been of one the most reliable imprints for noisy, hard-knocked dance singles, which includes releases by Clouds and Renaissance Man. The label head’s own songs tell his tastes best, like the off-kilter goof that fuels his most recent hit, “Bugatti.” It’s a little out there, but that’s only Tiga being Tiga.