By Oleg Yakovets
The best way to enjoy EMPAC shows is to play EMPAC roulette: you take a throwing knife, a corkboard, some thumb tacks, the season program,and blindfold yourself. Bonus points if you don’t hit anyone and even more bonus points if you get some form of nudity in the show. The student discount allows RPI students to participate in this event for $6 and write home about it in some satire article to be able to say they’re a published author. Well…. That’s not what I did this time. I went on recommendation, and I like techno.
The set itself was quite impressive. Hieroglyphic Being started out the set with lots of melodies and noise to allow the sounds to evolve. The kick drums didn’t come in for what seemed to be about 20 minutes. The anticipation was properly built. The program said something about “space” and the sun visuals certainly helped deliver the mood. The set was quite tasteful and ad proper breaks from rhythm to allow for a soundscape of quackfuckery… And ribbit-fuckery. One of the leads sounded like a frog being tortured. The sound of the room also wasn’t too harsh on the ears like a full venue or club that one would go to. You could enjoy the set without ear plugs for most of it, and could hear someone next to you when they would get close to your ear.
The set itself was played on 2 iPads that ran AudioBus and various app simulations that Hieroglyphic Being could find as close to the originals as possible. This is actually interesting as it strays away from traditional turntabling or using a laptop to control loops. Just plug in 2 iPads into a traditional mixer board and there is your 2-track set. The set was as minimalistic as the gear used itself.
Now usually, EMPAC shows have the artist as the main form of entertainment, but not so here. The audience was quite fun to look at too. This is house music after all, and watching others dance is part of the package. For one, I had my fleece draped over my shoulders and a woman who was probably in her mid 30’s told me it was very chic. I guess fashion lines up with practicality for once. A group of similarly-minded individuals decided to dance to house at the pace of yoga motions, which made me very infuriated. It’s house, dammit, not Pink Floyd’s Echoes. And let’s not forget that out-of-place ballet lift, but I guess more power to you.There was also the rather good behavior of people not getting so… intimate. Adults seem to be as quirky as middle-schoolers, even the ones who came with their significant others, except the couple standing behind my date and me. They were standing awkwardly about, then proceeded to make out like the high schoolers they once were. I feel bad for the crew who were standing to watch that up close.
If there’s anything to be learned from this experience, I hope that someone from a fraternity showed up so they open their eyes to something other than angry trap music.