One night in late January, Doug Appling and Ilya Goldberg emancipated The Westcott Theater in Syracuse, NY. Appling, along with long time collaborator Goldberg, are known as Emancipator, and have been touring in support of their newly launched Loci Records as well as their new album, Dusk to Dawn. On this particular night, local New York DJ Beatkid, fellow Loci artist Tor, as well as the ever-present joy Eliot Lipp graced the stage. Beatkid kicked the night off with some solid trance as the audience filtered in, some hula hooping and others setting up blanket villages inside on this frigid Syracuse night.
Next, Tor, whose new album, Drum Therapy debuted as Loci Records’ first release on December 11, took the stage to spread on some sample heavy, down tempo EDM with absolutely tight rhythms. It may have been the surge of the crowd, but Tor developed the ambiance significantly, bringing the tempo up. Nearing the middle of his set, Tor began exploring more exotic melodies reminiscent of the famed Thievery Corporation, and by the end, the blanket villages had to give way to the load of concertgoers dying to dance and hang on his every move.
Emancipator’s “Nevergreen”Later, Eliot Lipp brought the night to another level. Introducing thumping break beats and incredibly complex harmonies, Lipp absolutely killed it. There was no simple part of Lipp’s set. Each moment seemed to be filled to the brim with an exceptionally twisted but never convoluted blending of beats and harmonies, all mixed with swag and clarity.
It is undeniable that Eliot Lipp is one of the best producers on the scene today, having an insane resume of collaborations as well as an absolutely solid discography that shows amazing growth over almost a decade. Today, his beats most resemble those of the whimsical Griz, but without the Jazz. Lipp has a knack for calculating harmonies and rhythmic equations that will make your head spin and bob all at once. This is not to say that others do not incorporate more beats, melodies, or samples than Lipp, he just does it better, smoother, and with less showboating.
Finally, Emancipator took the stage. One surprising aspect of Emancipator’s show is the stage set. A giant grid of triangular projection screens came to life with intricate light shows; swirling and mutating somehow like Alex Grey paintings or the visuals at a Tool concert. Members of the audience commented that only Eoto, with their “lotus egg,” rival Emancipator’s visuals. Playing over an hour long set, Emancipator dug deep and looked forward, playing old crowd favorites like “Nevergreen,’ and “Kamakura” as well as selections from Dusk to Dawn. Ilya Goldberg’s live violin work really added to the show. Since he is not always present with Appling, their set on this night, in support of two new albums and a new label was especially moving, calming, ambient, and ultimately left one with a sense of ease, as only Emancipator can.
Written by Peter Destefano
OurVinyl | Contributor