Never underestimate the mud.
This has long been a truism of the Furthur and Even Furthur parties that began in rural Wisconsin in 1994 and came back after a decade-and-a-half hiatus in 2016, as detailed in City Pages’ cover story on Woody McBride that year. The mud on Wisconsin’s flat lands can be treacherous, as thousands of hardy Midwest-and-beyond partygoers have learned firsthand—and as Kaite Watson, an Eau Claire native who moved to Minneapolis in 2001 and performs as Aimerie, found out the hard way.
Up until two years ago, Aimerie played live sets, triggering rhythms and parts and adding embellishments in real time, rather than DJ. That’s what she was doing in one of the Even Furthur tents in 2016. “I was hauling around a lot [of] gear and playing out of Ableton Live,” she says. Then one of her pieces fell onto the wet, dirty ground. “After nearly losing a synthesizer to the mud after my live set at Even Furthur 2016, I decided to seriously pursue the art of DJing,” she says.
Aimerie, who lives in South Minneapolis, is nevertheless used to quaking ground. Dubstep is defined by its molten, shuddering low end, which has often been taken to absurd, sometimes comic ends over the past decade. The “brostep” style that Skrillex epitomized (and transcended) has been responsible for more purely lunkheaded music than even I, liker of lunkheaded music, was comfortable with, which means I tuned out of any further developments in the dubstep realm a few years back.
Now, Aimerie’s Live @ The Black Box - SubSequential Halloween Takeover (October 31, 2017) has me wondering just which developments I’ve been missing. Recorded at a club in Denver during a “takeover” by the DJ’s Minneapolis-based crew, SubSequential (so far, their Bandcamp page contains only merch, alas), this is the kind of dubstep set you’d play to convince someone who doesn’t think they like dubstep that they actually might.
Rather than the blunt blurt of booming-and-zooming bass acrobatics, Aimerie’s style goes further back to the mid-2000s, when dubstep was seeping out of London pirate radio stations and small clubs. Her tempos are more relaxed than the relentless chop that typifies the stuff Korn found attractive enough to rip off (God knows what Chinese Democracy would have sounded like if Axl had waited a few years longer). Yet there’s a seething menace to their relentless steadiness, much of it having to do with bass lines that take on all kind of infernally glowing qualities: bright like neon tubing here, rumbling subterranean undertow there, veering throughout between playfulness and threat.
It’s not surprising that Aimerie’s versatile and nuanced style has gotten the DJ work playing for everyone from TC Presents (doyens of the more bubblegum styles showcased at the Skyway Theatre) to the Headspace Collective (whose Tek Fox was covered recently in this column) and Steven Centrific, who booked Aimerie at Black Mass: New Year’s Day last year.
Aimerie is still a producer at heart. When she plays Honey next week alongside her SubSequential mates Nicky Boy Floyd and Kryptic Disciple, opening for Bristolian dubstep favorites Kahn & Neek at Honey, she’ll be premiering a number of new tunes. “I’ve been in the studio a lot with this never-ending winter, so I have some new music I’m excited to play out,” she says.
Khan & Neeq
With: SubSequential DJs (Nicky Boy Floyd, Aimerie, Kryptic Disciple), Feel Free Hi Fi
Where: Honey Mpls
When: 9 p.m., Thu., April 19
Tickets: $10 adv./$15 door; tickets here
Are you a Twin Cities dance-music DJ? Michaelangelo Matos wants to hear your latest set. He writes about recent mixes by local every Thursday for City Pages. Tweet to his attention: @matoswk75.