Three Must-See Acts This Week

Pusha T on Friday at 1015 Folsom, Jon Hopkins on Friday at the Warfield, and Nina Kraviz on Saturday at Halcyon.

(Pusha T)

Hip-hop

Pusha T

10 p.m., Friday, April 12, at 1015 Folsom. $34.50; 1015.com

Coming off the most productive and chaotic year of his career to date, Pusha T has always remained blunt and calculated with whatever he creates, and commands a level of respect within hip-hop that led Complex to declare him as “the best rapper alive, at least as far as 2018 was concerned.” The native Virginian began his music career alongside brother and fellow rapper No Malice as Clipse, with their albums Lord Willin’ and Hell Hath No Fury becoming Billboard hits (as well as two of the best hip-hop records of the 2000s). Pusha would sign with Kanye West’s GOOD Music label shortly after Clipse went on hiatus in 2010, starting with an appearance on West’s now-signature hit “Runaway.” After releasing two solo albums with the label, West appointed Pusha president of GOOD Music in 2015. During West’s extended-getaway in Wyoming last year, Pusha was the only other artist who stayed on Team Kanye as he produced a slew of records — one of which was Pusha’s third solo album, Daytona. The instant classic is 21 intricately crafted minutes of searing bars that hit their target with impeccable accuracy and soul-infused production, thanks to a creatively rejuvenated West.

Photo by Steve Gullick

 

Electronic

Jon Hopkins

8 p.m., Friday, April 12, at The Warfield. $20;
thewarfield.com

Many electronic artists are obsessed with finding the balance between organic and synthetic instrumentation, and seek to marry disparate sounds together to find an unexpected harmony. Jon Hopkins is more interested in letting the audible contrast between organic and synthetic music become a focal point for his ambitious, breathtaking electronic compositions, which take equal inspiration from classical music and techno. The English producer and composer began his career as a member of Imogen Heap’s backing band, and would go on to produce records for other artists throughout the 2000s, including Coldplay’s Viva La Vida — after occasional collaborator Brian Eno asked him to. In 2013, Hopkins released Immunity, a visceral and throbbing 60 minutes of atmospheric techno that solidified his place as one of the most technically proficient electronic music producers alive. Hopkins followed up Immunity with last year’s Singularity, exploring ambient textures along with pounding, electro-laced rhythms. Simply put, Hopkins has presented listeners with his most emotionally captivating album yet.

Photo by Paola Kudack

Techno

Nina Kraviz

10 p.m., Saturday, April 13, at Halcyon. $40; halcyonsf.com

Unpredictable and relentless with her approach, Nina Kraviz has been referred to by The New Yorker as “one of the most celebrated figures in the international techno scene,” an endorsement Kraviz lives up to thanks to her spellbinding DJ sets. The Siberian DJ and producer fell in love with electronic music through late-night radio broadcasts, and she was a dentist at a veteran’s hospital in Moscow before turning to music full-time. In 2009, after singing for a local group, Kraviz was producing techno cuts, with singles like “Voices” creating buzz throughout the scene. She went on to release her acclaimed self-titled debut album in 2012, a sensual and hazy collection of left-field techno. In 2014, Kraviz started her own label, TRIP, where she would release most of her work along with that by other artists who explore the freshest, most obscure sounds techno has to offer. On stage, Kraviz truly lets the energy of the night flow through her, playing everything from ghetto house to trance, and making it clear to ravers that she’s not there for easy listening. Yet all the while, Kraviz’s unmatched technical skill and encyclopedic knowledge of dance music allows her to challenge clubgoers out of their comfort zone with great success. 

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