Crystal Castles: Show Preview

California-based electronic festival brand Hard is making things easy for fans of bassline wonkiness. The monthlong Hard Summer is launching from Oakland with headliners Crystal Castles and a bill that includes U.K. producers and DJs Rusko and Sinden plus Moscow's Proxy. Crystal Castles — Toronto's Ethan Kath and Alice Glass — bring the throttled synths of their rhythmically antagonistic, noisecore-sampling self-titled 2008 debut as well as the more transcendent melodies of this year's slightly less hysterical follow-up. Rusko offers pimped-out party beats, but includes enough supple two-step glam and trancey pads to not descend completely into brostep. With a sound equally bulbous and big-room–oriented, Sinden lays down an anchor of crisp, jackin' drums, but then buffets with waves of grimy, fidgety sub-bass wobble. And Proxy flexes on overdriven bounce, a tribal squelch, and grinding oscillators. Basslines on this tour are both a challenge and a threat, acting as instigator to double your strut, while periodically bombing with low-end that almost jostles the beat off the grid.

 
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