Sound on Sound Review: Hot Chip

London synthesists’ DJ set pushes the EDM envelope

Stationed behind a Frankenstein board of digital turntables, Joe Goddard and Felix Martin’s silhouettes were outlined by neon lights overhead. Two-sevenths of Hot Chip thus delved deep through an eclectic 90-minute set Sunday night at Vulcan Gas Company, putting on a turntable workout.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

The London spinners, much like their band, never forfeited to an EDM spectacle, choosing to stick to the band’s synth-pop productions or effective groovers that kept the crowd footloose on the dance floor. Synth stabs, nü disco glitz sweeps, and electronic flourishes combined with resonating bass jolts loaded the decks with glassy-eyed club gestures. They put together a tapestry of disco, English house, even funk that made incongruous tracks perfect pairs, each song prodding along a sinuous soundscape.

Oddball visionaries, Martin and Goddard pushed the envelope of what can be played in a club, their mixes often flirting with a bevy of obscure tracks or other material. Common ground was met at the synth-heavy “Huarache Lights.” Packed with killer transitions, disco-ball pulses rolled into dance post-comedowns that bled into electro-chintz romps. A good deal of the set was relegated to juxtaposed instrumentals, creating a push and pull structure that made it easy to lose yourself.

Long dance sessions and melodic snippets teased out melodies that segued into the next song, never deviating from the set’s seamless, free flow form. Critically acclaimed Made in the Dark (2008) and One Life Stand (2010) made the cut, while dance-pop “I Feel Better” and slinky single “Ready for the Floor” provided the set’s sweeping and earnest moments. An expanse of genres – whether dub, house, R&B, or electro-pop – all coalesced into a multilayered mosaic.

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Hot Chip, Sound on Sound Fest 2017, Joe Goddard, Felix Martin

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