Shigeto and Awesome Tapes From Africa Win Thursday at Moogfest

An anxious Zachary Shigeto Saginaw came onto the stage Thursday night at Orange Peel, one of the larger venues in downtown Asheville. To ensure he made the performance, Moogfest scooped him from his late flight and took him directly to the stage. Each song was a monstrous crescendo, distinguished from studio tracks with a live drumset and Shigeto’s phenomenal rhythmic warp & control, maxing on altruistic ebb & flow.  Tribal step rolled organically from one beat structure to the next, rising and maintaining a thriving momentum over his textured electronic grid. The crowd for this installment of Ghostly International‘s showcase was modest but riveted by Shigeto’s sweaty, physical input to the show- word of his set crept like secret dessert in the days that followed. Ghostly’s showcase also featured Com Truise, ADULT. and Audion.

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The final Driftless show on Thursday was from Awesome Tapes From Africa (aka Brian Shimkovitz). We packed in a narrow, long bar called Emerald Lounge just after midnight, joining a dense and sweaty crowd on a more intoxicated scale in the evening. On its blog, ATFA is a showcase of African music- fuji, benga, tsonga disco, soukous, hip hop, rhumba, ethio-soul- as Shimkovitz discovers it. The live set incorporated beat and vocal samples from these tapes into a house-heavy show, and of course the crowd swooned at the colorful case of physical cassette tapes being mixed on stage. Hip swimming to marimbas and impassioned jungle sounds, the show was steaming with dancing Moogers matching their bodies to rhythms like wooden warriors on ATFA string paths. Driftless’s showcase also featured NORTH AMERICANS, EATERS, Noah Wall, Megafortress, Ejecta and Teengirl Fantasy.

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We also caught the incredible Dan Deacon– a modular technology superstar at Moogfest- put on his famous dance party at New Earth. With the stage presence of a deep-middle mosher, Deacon rolled around and thumped on stage while fashioning everything possible to further manipulate his music. This crowd’s stimulation level was above the wiring clouds even allow.

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YACHT, the now 4-piece music group headed by the beautiful and wildly intelligent, android/robot/alien embracing Claire Evans also made the list for outstanding Thursday night performances. Between her confident subversion of beauty alongside Janelle Monáe earlier in the day and the energetic pop raging from her demanding percussion and artful stage antics, she voiced a personal and moving theme, one subtly embraced by much of Moogfest’s programming: “Thinking about aliens allows us to not be so solely focused on our own existence, not so egoistical about our life. Even if it’s not real, it’s important.”

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 Photos captured by Tiffany Wen / Groovenik

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