On February 21, award-winning Australian electronic / hip-hop group Hermitude performed with Keys N Krates and GANZ at House of Blues. During this concert, which impressively lasted over four hours, Angus “El Gusto” Stuart and Luke “Luke Dubs” Dubber — who formed Hermitude in 2000 — rocked the audience with their downtempo rhythmic patterns and synth effects, fusing the two genres of electronic and hip-hop music with elements of R&B, trap, jazz, and reggae.
They started off their set with a lightless stage and a simple booming bass drum. As the rhythm became increasingly doubled and syncopated, the performers were revealed to the audience by a light show. Their interaction with the audience and energetic stage presence kept concert-goers exuberant, which is quite the task as an act entering the stage after two hours of openers. In addition to playing pieces from their latest album Dark Night Sweet Light, Hermitude entertained the audience with remixes, including a throwback to The Lion King, all the while achieving smooth transitions between hard-hitting sections and lighter, calmer sections.
“We just wanna make great records. Each one becomes a chapter in our life and has a different journey attached to it,” Hermitude told The Triton. “We’re just super stoked that we’re living the dream, and we get to do this for our job!”
After entering music at a young age and experimenting with a number of genres, like metal, before discovering their sound, Hermitude achieved worldwide fame after their album HyperParadise gained the attention of the international community. With both the 2012 AIR Award for Best Electronic Album and the 2012 Australian Music Prize under their belt, they have traveled the world, performing at a number of music festivals, including Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza, and SXSW.
In regards to Dark Night Sweet Light, Hermitude described how the goal of this album was to “…keep the production quite minimal”:
“If we wanted to add another layer it had to be really strong so as to not over clutter the song. Each song on that record, compared to our earlier records, is made up of a lot less sounds within each track, but the sounds that are there are very deliberate.”
This is reflective of the “Future Beats” movement, which celebrates the production of experimental music of the future. Hermitude combined this with characteristics of electronica during their one-year production of Dark Night Sweet Light, which they performed this last Sunday for a packed crowd of college-aged House of Blues spectators.
Before Hermitude hit the stage, Netherlands-based DJ GANZ worked the venue with his trap / EDM / hip-hop fusion. Jordy Saämena of GANZ, formed only three years ago, played a number of remixes, which he accompanied with heavy sustained bass and voice samples. Playing songs from his most recent work Dino War E.P., GANZ achieved smooth and well-thought out transitions. At the same time, his bass became so heavy and repetitive in rhythmic structure that it overwhelmed other elements of his songs and disallowed clear differentiation from his other pieces. Still, he had a lively stage presence and transitioned well between energetic and relaxed sections for his audience.
After Hermitude was Keys N Krates, a trap / hip-hop / electronic trio who, after forming in 2008, has released a number of EPs and singles. For their most recent, Midnight Mass EP, Keys N Krates members Jr. Flo, David Matisse, and Adam Tune focused on creating a unique array of samples indistinguishable from their origin. With works that combine pop chords and house, Keys N Krates also play, as in their song “Nothing But Space” (featuring Aqui), with a gloomy concepts in their lyrics. Yet they incorporate these ideas into dance songs that are still catchy and powerful.
Keys N Krates will travel with Hermitude on to Boise and Seattle before both bands continue their own individual tours. You can catch Hermitude at Big Pineapple Music Festival in May and Keys N Krates at UME Festival in March.