Somehow we have a knack for covering French beatmakers. With show coverage from Chinese Man earlier this year to covering AllttA out of Nantes, France to The Geek x Vrv out of Paris, France last year, it seems these frenchies are on to something when it comes to battering us with satisfying soundwaves.
This time around, we kept things low-key at a local co-working space for musicians called Noize Fabrik ('Fabrik' is German for 'factory'). Tucked away in a back yard of a re-purposed factory complex in a plain neighborhood, we felt like we were on our way to a house party in a loft, except this one had showcase of respected beatmakers.
The cozy space provided a stage for the line-up's first shows ever in Berlin. On the bill were Parisian trip-hop duo il:lo and two beatmakers from the village of Poitiers, France -- Mounika and Kognitif. Each act gave us a unique demonstration of how live electronic music goes beyond DJing with records or CDJs. Each of them used their own blend of sample pads, drum machines, and keyboards to deliver true live beats mashed with instrumental and vocal samples. Instead of fading songs in and out like traditional DJs do, each of these guys assembled their music layer by layer completely on-the-fly.
The hosting venue provided a comfortable atmosphere where the love for music felt real. Introducing us into the night were il:lo out of Paris. Their tunes washed over us with euphoric flavors of downtempo hiphop launching us off proper. Their songs include a diverse inventory of instrumentals and their set touched on multiple genres from trip-hop to house to midtempo bass music. With il:lo, we felt in a safe place to appreciate what the moment provided.
Then it was time for a producer we've covered a fair amount, so we were pretty excited to finally get a taste of his live sets. Mounika took us along for a ride with his brand of chilled-out beats to much more heavy grooves. He brought an upbeat stage presence with strict live beat synthesis over instrumental samples from piano to ukelele to acoustic guitar. Something notable about Mounika's set is there is plenty of unreleased material, so it was up to us to put our phones down and just groove to the music.
To close out the program, Kognitif took a more bass-driven approach throwing samples over hardcore beats bringing the energy to its peak. His set drove recognizable samples straight into live beats elevating the momentum song by song. Fully at the wheel, Kognitif executed impeccable transitions to propel us through an assembly of funk, beats, and bass. Not a bad formula, indeed.
Some of the best moments of a party are when just the hardcore leftovers remain. Following Kognitif's set, the party went forth as il:lo returned to the stage with Kognitif for an after-party of melodic house music to smooth us over. Thankful we felt descending back to the streets of Neukölln for an evening of appreciation for beats from a group of French musicians who amplified moments with condensed groove to a room of multiple nationalities.