If you need anymore evidence of Williamsburg being an extension of Manhattan, look no farther than Output. A mandatory coat check, aggressively lurking bros, and $8 beers will leave you thinking you’re in Midtown. But what the club does have going for it is an exceptional sound system. Falty DL, Nosaj Thing, and Prefuse 73 came through last week to give it an intense workout, with the low-end reaching skull rattling levels on multiple occasions.
The highlight of the show, and who most of the crowd was there to see, was Nosaj Thing. Many of the more downtempo/chill electronic artists struggle with the conundrum of whether to perform their own songs or #turnup when you’re in the club at 2 AM and each person in the crowd has spent $30 on drinks. Not Nosaj Thing. Dude is a straight pro. He flawlessly mixed between his own songs, which had some added percussion parts, while also dropping in some swag rap and Kendrick. This gave his set peaks and valleys – the perfect mix between a DJ endlessly playing bangers and one sulking behind the mixer, stubbornly playing only downtempo despite what the crowd is feeling.
But what specifically made his set so great? First off, you can’t fuck with Nosaj Thing’s percussion. Every snare and kick is on point. He forgoes high hats in favor of woodblocks and shakers, which were frequently playing 32nd or 16th notes, giving the tracks a strong forward momentum. When they were present, the vocals had a high pass filter and bass synths a low pass, allowing the percussion to stay at the front of the mix. A few times, he would suddenly cut one of the filters, functioning as a “drop.” Other times, he would drop a 1/4 or 1/8 note rest in the mix, surprising the crowd and keeping them on their toes. The crowd rewarded the technical proficiency and polish by going just as wild as those crowds at festivals watching a DJ bro doing absurd, pre-mixed 8-bar filter sweeps into halftime trap drops.
Dude is going places. He’s carved out his own space in the chill genre with an innovative visual and auditory aesthetic. When kids begin turning away from the disgustingly corporate, corny, and over-saturated EDM scene, don’t be surprised to see Nosaj Thing really blow up.