San Francisco's Gray Area Art & Technology foundation had a huge weekend.
In celebrating the proverbial finish line for the renovation of its new facility in the Grand Theater on Mission street, the foundation, which champions “…the gray area between the arts, technology, and design,” closed out a three-day conference with performances by Shigeto and Teebs, two artists who straddle that very same gray area of creativity.
Teebs, who puts his music out on Flying Lotus' L.A.-based Brainfeeder label, was manning the decks on the left side of the massive room; the Grand Theater's old main show-space, but without the seats and leveled off to expose the gargantuan projector screen. Standing in the front of the room, Teebs dropped hard, core-rattling boom clap bass tracks and smooth electro wavelengths — the signature Brainfeeder future-hop sound. But there was a subtle anxiety in the air as everyone stared at the lonely drum set on the main stage, that would soon be manned by the evening's star from Detroit.
Shigeto, who mere hours after his first San Francisco set in nearly two years would fly back to Detroit to play Ghostly's International's Movement Festival showcase, bleeds the Ghostly sound. The Ann Arbor-cum-Brooklyn avant-garde electronica label has purveyed “Art+Artifice” since 1999 and Shigeto seemed like the perfect fit to illustrate the intersection of the Gray Area's creative mediums. He stands maybe 5 feet 6 inches tall, but it helps him roll with fluidity to and fro his drum set to his electronics station, sporting a laptop and elaborate effects synthesizers & samplers. His drumming is fierce, and wiping sweat from his brow becomes a hypnotically methodical motion, sandwiched between clean kick drums and rhythmic snares.
Visuals artists Effix provided the accompanying eye-candy to the set, which varied from geometrical designs and mixed-media propaganda treatises, to Shigeto coursing through the rubbled hallows of Detroit and a stoic falcon flapping his widespread wings, which stretched from one edge of the screen to the other. With the scent of weed and cloves permeating the atmosphere, the visual cues from Effix were an essential part of the journey through Shigeto's free jazz escapades and silky ambient backing tracks.
The conference's message of how creativity meets at the intercourse between different artistic platforms was especially strong on this particular evening. From interactive art installations extolling these ideas in the Grand's foyer, to one of the signature artists from the Ghostly label, the night was a succesfull kick-start to the organizations new facility.