Posted by Alexandra Voigt on 04/12 at 04:19 PM
It’s a “Thirsty Thursday” night for the college students of Penn State and unfortunately this notion seems to have taken away the potentially large audience that should have been present for Conspirator at the State Theatre on April 7th. Composed of The Disco Biscuits’ keyboardist Aron Magner and bassist Marc Brownstein, Conspirator is the ‘retrograde remix’ to Biscuits’ electro-jam-band sound.
As I wait for the band to finish its set up during intermission, I am seriously shocked to see so little Bisco fans. (Fall semester’s showing of the Biscuits was a sold out show so this is definitely a surprise).
For a rough estimate, if no one was situated on the balcony, only about half of the seats on the ground level are actually “in use.” Well, I’m not complaining…the nice advantage is: more dancing room!
‘Electronica at high speed’—Conspirator’s slogan—truly couldn’t define the band any better. The first song’s tempo is violently fast, constantly keeping you on your toes, bouncing around in every direction. The reverb on the hi-hat produces a vivid, crisp sound, complimenting the static kick drum hits. It sounds even more intricate when Mike Greenfield, of Lotus, switches it up and uses the tambourine against the drum.
Assigning a genre or style to this unique musical project is near impossible because every song is so exotic and different. Songs like “Velvet Red” are ultra-fast and techno driven, while the song “Boom Shanker” has a slower, sensual groove. A few songs also have a very trippy, zen and dreamlike feel, like the song, “The Blue,” with its use of harpsichord and horn notes on the synthesizer.
Nevertheless, you are sure to work up a sweat if you so much as try to keep up with the artists’ performance. Some songs, like “Liquid Handcuffs” for example, I feel are constructed with ever-changing time signatures and, what would seem insane to fuse them into one flowing song, is actually epic.
Surveying the atmosphere around me as I continue my erratic dancing, I see and feel the crowd’s own movements—clearly everyone’s digging the hard electronic beats. The vibrations to every standard techno “untz, untz, untz, untz…” in “Velvet Red” are electrifying and syndicating.
I, personally, am a raging techno/electronic music enthusiast so I thoroughly enjoy the intimate rave going on, especially with the fierce dub-stepping occasionally being thrown in, adding to the eclectic appeal of each song. A crescendo in the tempo and the rhythm escalates rapidly like the intense climax of a techno jam, and then just as quickly, slows back to a speed that even a force like gravity has trouble bringing back. Come to think of it, “intense” is definitely a word to describe the overall essence of Conspirator.
After the encore, which sounded like a steady Biscuits jam, (always enjoyable), I leave the theatre, my energy still at a peaking high. Probably one of my favorite songs played all night was, “Macina Verde” because of its international Spanish and Indian styled theme. It could resemble a more robotic/electronic Thievery Corporation song.
To differentiate The Disco Biscuits from Conspirator, other than having actual lyrics, I’d definitely say the Biscuits play up the “warped” effect more, and Conspirator concentrates on the fundamentals of being “technologic.” Either way, either band, I am keen to both styles. Magner and Brownstein’s goal was to steer away from the idea of being “pigeon-holed.” I’d say it’s been a grand success. The musicians put on a quality show, much thanks to the robust playing on the bass and the distinct resonating frequencies heard from the keyboard.
Author: Alexandra Voigt
Bio: [Alex] is currently a senior double majoring in Print Journalism and International Studies with a double minor in Music Technology and French. As random as all that may seem, Alex’s true passion lies within the art of music and the countless characteristics of rock and roll. Growing up to everything classic rock, she indulges in Led Zeppelin, The Doors, CCR, The Animals, Neil Young up through 90s grunge and today’s indie/folk rock and electro beats like: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Spoon, The Black Keys, TV on the Radio and Bassnectar!, (don’t turn away, that is only a taste of the list). Alex also loves using music programs like Logic Pro to mix, modulate and place different effects on songs, which is why electronic/techno and dubstep play an essential factor in her everyday life.
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