SXSW showcase reviews
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 18, 2011
Gabriel ProkofievKarma Lounge, Thursday, March 17
Gabriel Prokofiev's is an existential problem. It's difficult to watch the 35-year-old British composer, producer, remixer, and founder of the Nonclassical scene without returning to the fundamental proposition of what a DJ set should be. Prokofiev inspires such musings, less from his lineage as grandson of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev than from his solipsistic stage presence hunched over his laptop, sharply cut jawline diving deeply into the delta of the headphones around his neck. The classical clash built upon the opening string quartet with the intentional contrast of the dark and posh club struck as initially interesting, especially as he began to slide jazz riffs and a stuttering turntable rhythm into the mix, and the remix itself was ambiently elegant as it surged into more electro pulses and genre segues with the bass rising up into a dedicated groove. And yet ultimately the set could benefit from more edge and assertion, not least because the crowd remained so particularly disengaged as his sounds twisted more experimental and Prokofiev himself only acknowledged the audience to rather academically and dryly explain his sources. Prokofiev may produce interesting headphone hermeneutics, but they're so self-indulged that the results rarely connect beyond a philosophical level.