At the Royale this past Sunday, Giraffage and Slow Magic took the crowd on a kaleidoscopic journey through a dreamy sound landscape infused with a touch of vibrant quirk and organic sounds unconventional of the electronic scene. Neither Giraffage nor Slow Magic have been in the electronic music scene for a long time. Unlike other EDM producers such as Zedd and Alesso, whose music strives to lift the crowd and create a buildup of excitement, both Slow Magic and Giraffage create the type of music that brings listeners to an imagination-based realm, far from reality.
Giraffage is the performing name of Charlie Yin, a tall lanky guy whose humble presence on the stage did not detract from the crowd’s enjoyment of his music. Giraffage’s music has got a sound similar to that of Porter Robinson’s, whom Giraffe went on a tour with last year, and can best be described as atmospheric by building on the ambience of a particular mood.
He came on stage dressed in a white t-shirt with a beagle printed on it. And with low-pixelated, Tumblresque graphics of pugs, cats and outrageous cartoon characters flashing in the background behind him, Giraffage’s whole entourage was eye-catching in the way that could have amused only those raised by the Internet.
His music similarly externalized our generational eccentricities. With remixes of popular songs such as “Hotline Bling” mixed with the sounds of the standard iPhone ringtone and peculiar beat drops, the crowd was in a daze. The glaring graphic images behind Giraffage only lended a sort of psychedelic tapestry to the whole scene that was insanely addicting to look at. Overall, Giraffage successfully wrapped the audience up in his music, although his stage presence could have been a bit more engaging.
Slow Magic is a figure enveloped in mystery; he’s similar to other masked music producers such as DeadMau5 and dons a technicolored wolf mask on stage. Outfitted with simply his laptop and two translucent drums, Slow Magic’s music certainly does have a distinct sound evoking the mystical and otherworldly. However, his performance on stage added a live instrumental element that one would not recognize simply by listening to his otherworldly tunes on Spotify.
With the way that Slow Magic spent most of the time accompanying his music with powerful and skillful drum-beating, it was clearly apparent that he seemed to have a longer history with percussion than creating otherworldly electronic sounds. Slow Magic’s frequent emphasis of the homegrown through his live drum sets allowed the audience to be treated to an ethereal experience complete with colorful strobe lights and, of course, dreamy electronic melodies. The crowd went wild as the sounds of his drums seemed to strike an impact in the ears of all, and at one point Slow Magic actually jumped into the crowd, bringing his drums with him.
Yet, halfway through, a sort of exhaustion seemed to be apparent in the crowd. Slow Magic had an incredible energy concentrated into the form of his drums, yet he rarely strayed far from them. And although his music flowed effortlessly from one song to another, this became a problem the later the concert went. One can only be intrigued by ruminative melodies and rhythmic sounds for so long; it seemed as if Slow Magic had run out of ideas and frequently resorted to his percussion set to keep our attention.
The concert ended with Giraffage joining Slow Magic on stage for a final performance, colorful strobe lights blazing. The two truly work well as touring partners, and their partnership seemed well represented as both took to the drums for a final song.
With so much electronic music floating around on the charts and through the interwebs these days, an electronic artist’s sound defines memorability. Electronic influences, which have slyly seeped their way into mainstream radio, are everywhere. The music that both Slow Magic and Giraffage are creating ha achieved a certain eclectic poignancy which can easily be heard in the sea of electronic sounds that have come to define dance music and pop hits today. Perhaps the more they tour, the more skillful these two artists will become at strongly captivating their audiences.