EDM, or Electronic Dance Music, has a bit of a bad reputation. People argue that artists like Skrillex, Flume and Cashmere Cat are just sounds made on a computer, fabricated by anyone who knows how to press buttons. The frequenters of such concerts typically are college frat boys who reek of alcohol and overdose on LSD. While there may be a higher percentage of said social groups at EDM concerts in comparison to Taylor Swift concerts circa 2010, the said indicators of EDM do not describe Girraffage.
Listening to Girraffage, the stage name of music producer Charlie Yin, is an electronica, dream pop, lo-fi experience. Yin is an Asian-American of Taiwanese descent from San Jose, California and a graduate of the University of California Berkeley with a degree in political economics. He creates glowing, ambient and sensual synths combined with R&B and hip-hop elements.
Girraffage is on his “No Reason” tour and played in Boston last Thursday at Brighton Music Hall. The two openers, ROBOKID and Spazzkid, unfortunately missed the mark. While Giraffage, Spazzkid and ROBOKID are all considered “EDM,” they all touch on different points within the spectrum of the genre. ROBOKID’s mixes were incohesive in every sense, a mess of digital sounds. Spazzkid offered fun Flume-like music that was easy to dance to but in reality was just a combination of already well-known songs with very little original flair.
Yet once Girraffage came on stage and the lights went almost dark, apart from the rainbow of blue and pink auras, the room completely transformed. An organic buzz rippled through the room, and Giraffage opened with “All That Matters,” my personal favorite of his. The visuals, as with most electronic dance concerts, were out of this world. Near-psychedelic puppies floated across techno and ambient screens. Sometimes videos clips of reality would be thrown in, showing a talk show host with dogs, which would further drive the concert-goers into an extreme state of reflection and euphoria. Girraffage himself was chill amid the ecastic and hyper crowd. At times he would jump up and down, swept up in the excitement of his fans, but he would usually sway back and forth, bringing his own aura to the show.
The music itself was fresh and rich with samples. He remixed from a wide array of singles, most ridiculously “Don’t Wait” by Mapei. His music fostered a dream-like state within reality, with a combinration of an exciting and lush blend of his original beats, synths and the familiarity of hit songs. Some have described his electronica as the “future R&B,” and I could not agree more.
As an Asian-American in a primarily white music industry, Girraffage has shaped EDM into a superior genre and has created music beyond dropping beats and video-game beeps. While Girraffage’s tour will not circle back to Boston, his music is readily available all over the internet, so I recommend taking a listen.