Sinjin Hawke is on the record as being “Open to human extinction and the dawn of a new era where computers take over.” After seeing him DJ with his partner Zora Jones at the Portland stop of their world tour representing their eclectic crew Fractal Fantasy, I tend to agree. The casual destruction humanity seems hell-bent on subjecting itself to leads me to believe that we would be better served by the deft hands of our inevitable robot overlords. If talents such as these are in charge of the final inputs, we may be in for a brighter reality very soon.
Zora opened up the night on the decks, happily bobbing and weaving her way through a bouncy warm-up. Lifting the energy, she pushed us through a collection of her productions and edits, as well as a few tracks off the Visceral Minds compilations previously released by FF. Notable among these is “Dark Matter”, a recent collaboration with Gary, IN producer Jlin and intricately woven tapestry of chopped vocal samples and undulating bass synthesizers propelled by hyperactive snares and claps.
Meanwhile Sinjin pilots a laptop nearby, presumably marshaling components of their proprietary visual set-up which projects digital silhouettes of the DJs onto the wall behind the booth. As as a wire-frame avatar of pulsating light mirrors Zora’s movements above, the duo’s rework of Cardi B’s club hit “Bodak Yellow” drops and I find myself lost in the nebulous space between humanity and machinery, a cybernetic paradise.
The line between organic and synthetic blurs further as the duo’s track “No Shame” starts to play; a modulated chorus of electronic voices pop between grinding synths. The dance floor vibrates with low frequencies and the bodies of dancers driven into frenzied motion, recalling ecstatic tribal rituals. The DJs trade positions. As Sinjin begins mixing, I catch several tracks from his recent full-length release First Opus- an album which blends the high energy revelry of a Southern Baptist choir with brass hits, deep bass and drum patterns heavily inspired by the Chicago Footwork style popularized by DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn from the Teklife Crew (both of whom collaborated with Sinjin on “Monterrey” the closing track of Visceral Minds Volume 2.)
As I take a quick break from the chaos inside to catch some fresh air, I hear the unmistakable snare slaps of “Thunderscan”, a track Sinjin produced alongside legendary vogue/ballroom impresario MikeQ. Cursing my impudence, I quickly rush back through the doors, to the front of the crowd and silently vow to keep my post for the remainder. Nearing the finale now, we see Sinjin and Zora start trading off on the decks, playing tracks back-to-back- my favorite portion of the event. Building the vibe together, their effortless chemistry shepherds the audience into transcendent bliss. The penultimate track of evening, an early Zora Jones remix of Sasha Go Hard’s track “Badass”, was a personal favorite and a perfect way to release the last burst of coiled tension. I realized then I started smiling uncontrollably.
A masterful performance. Together these two producers have assimilated bits and pieces from numerous underground dance movements, and the results are greater than the sum components. As I filter out of Holocene and into the warm air of a late-summer evening, I’m struck by the remarkable gift of our interconnected world. The isolated scenes of the past now capable of international influence. The cross pollination of melody and rhythms from around the world coalesced into one wild Thursday night in Portland.
Check out all the aforementioned tracks, as well as choice motion-graphic accompaniments over at FractalFantasy.net. Until we allow our technological masters full reign over mankind, this well-curated collection of works will have to suffice.