This weekend, New Orleans welcomes a brand new addition to Festival Season as the inaugural Buku Music and Art Project descends on Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, offering an almost literally unbelievable lineup that hits every high point in electronic music, underground hip-hop and many different combinations of the two. Wiz Kalifa, Cities Aviv, Rockie Fresh, deep south superstar Big K.R.I.T. and local hero G-Eazy combine with true heavyweights Skrillex, Avicii, Diplo, SBTRKT, A-Trak and more for the two-day festival; and an official, on-site Saturday afterparty stretching into the wee-hours of Sunday morning packs the weekend with almost 24 hours of non-stop music. The schedule is filled with highlights, including these two can’t miss acts:
3.17: Holy Fuck – BASSIK Ballroom, 8:45PM
Falling somewhere between post-rock and proto-electronica, Toronto alchemists Holy Fuck create frenetic, blipped-out dance music largely without the most important instrument in any techno producer’s arsenal: a laptop computer. Instead, founders Graham Walsh and Brian Borcherdt – with an ever-expanding collective of co-conspirators that includes Broken Social Scene alum Dave Newfield and former Enon drummer Matt Shultz – take a decidedly lo-fi approach to creating their signature noisy grooves, “playing” anything from old Casio keyboards to 35mm film synchronizers to toy phaser guns as they improvise their way through unhinged performances of their analog electro analogues.
3.18: Big Gigantic – BASSIK Ballroom, 8:30PM
The addition of any live instrumentation to an otherwise purely electronic production is usually limited to a percussionist adding a modest layer of mimicry to the drum track or other similarly non-functional window dressing; like, perhaps, a guitarist hammering out quarter notes of no particular consequence or a bassist hanging on the corner of the stage getting overran by the crunchy, atonal bellows that typify American dubstep music. So the idea of Big Gigantic, the brainchild of Boulder, CO drummer Jeremy Salken and producer/saxophonist – that’s right, saxophonist – Domonic Lalli did little to assuage my skepticism of the general practice when I saw them for the first time at last summer’s Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores.
The performance started tame enough, with Lalli tapping away at an effects pad and Salken holding an invigorating but steady rhythm; but as soon as the beat dropped, the pair exploded into an untamed and transformative exhibition of staggering instrumental prowess, an acid and straight-up free jazz manifesto set against brain-crumpling low-end that landed like On The Corner-era Miles Davis being remixed by Skream. Lalli does nothing short of completely wail on the sax, and his interplay with Salken’s nimble, shifty drum work adds a freeform futurism to each track’s lush landscape of wobbly bass and warped samples.