Osheaga has kicked down Montreal’s door once again, and it couldn’t get off to a synthier start. Neon and Highfood have teamed with Osheaga (and a Red Bull sponsorship) to bring us the highly anticipated triple threat: Glitch Mob, Phantogram and Com Truise at Société des Arts Technologiques at 8:00 tomorrow!
We recommend you don your neon headbands, leg-warmers and slap-bracelets for this one. With these three down-tuned, cinematic groups engaged in a war of keyboards and drum machines, we’re sure it’s going to be a synth-wave throwdown.
THE GLITCH MOB
Hailing from the bass-driven nightlife of Los Angeles, The Glitch Mob are neither especially glitchy or, technically speaking, a mob – but with an onslaught of moody, funky instrumentals spanning a whole constellation of ’80s and early ’90s synth sounds, they manage to paint a grimy portrait of neon-lit nights and Vice City violence that makes their name feel spot-on. Variously described as glitch-hop, IDM and breakbeat, Glitch Mob don’t stick to one sub-sub-genre long enough to be pigeonholed, but their sound is unified by creative sonic layering and midnight retro atmosphere as thick as LA smog. This is one mob you’ll be happy to join.
Phantogram have been a mainstay of the Montreal scene since 2007, delivering their unique brand of downtempo trip-hop to a growing fanbase – this writer recalls a crowd going apeshit for them at a local venue last year as they followed up the release of their debut album Eyelid Movies.
Sonically, Phantogram are firmly rooted in the sultry stylings of late ’90s Massive Attack and Portishead, filtered through a decade-plus of organic experimentation and low-fi indie sound-collage. The fragile crooning of lead singer Sarah Barthel s as likely to attract fans of Florence + the Machine as much as old-school Bowery Electric.
Com Truise has been described – as always, somewhat non-descriptively – as chillwave, but for us Nintendo Generation kids, he’s more than merely chill, he’s an architect of a certain nostalgic time and place where chill was the default state.
Stirring up a blend of laid-back, ’80s-styled soundscapes by way of classic analogue synths and samplers, Com Truise is to downtempo what the Valerie Collective is to electro. A bit of hard-edged cyberpunk (Com Truise is perhaps most well-known for his remixes of the Tron soundtrack) and spaced-out Steve Moore-ish atmosphere add further colour to Com Truise’s sound. Glitchy samples and the occasional broken breakbeat are the main clues to modernity for Com Truise; for the most part, he’s as ’80s-authentic as a Sylvester Levay film score – and just as moodily cinematic.