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datathief in columbus, oh [mar. 10 2001]
posted on 12-Mar-2001 by anton
idm outfit datathief was the main reason I attended this weekly installment of "flight" series organized by ele-mental crew.

datathief was the main reason I attended this weekly installment of "flight" series organized by ele-mental crew. I usually closely monitor "flight" announcement just for events like this, when out of nowhere, without any special warning someone I have been following for a while pops up on our side of the globe.

click to enlargeI have been caught off-guard before a few times missing shows by passarani, somatic responses, swayzak among others. which brings me to the point of advertising. sure, the ele-mental crew did their part, and they did it right, but they have targeted their usual crowd. I would speculate (and I could be wrong) that majority of the crowd would happily attend any event organized by ele-mental simply because it is a "hip" thing to do, the same reason they attended surprisingly successful "oval" performances a while ago. I am sure that datathief was a happy encounter for many, an enlightening chance that they stumbled upon, discovering a fresh new music genre. this encounter might not be fully comprehended by them right away, since they were never prepared for it ("dark electro noise" is not the best term to describe melodic idm).

click to enlargeif only datathief was marketed for all those idm addicts that could have visited the show, if it was sold to those gearheads and advertised to dark electro/industrial crowd, the outcome could have been completely different. it is surprising how many knowledgeable idm fans are out there that listen to the same music and would miss events like that simply because they never cross paths with those that attend and organize shows like that.

now, actual feasibility of such marketing is another question, and I might not be the person to answer it. in any case I am very grateful to ele-mental crew and everyone involved for bringing in shows like that and doing it for the longest time despite of all the difficulties associated with it.

todd sines and stewart brown treated the crowd with their material before datathief went on around 1am. by that time the audience suddenly tightened up and became surprisingly attentive.

even if I had any doubts about how datathief would sound, they were gone after first few seconds of their set. technically, it was my first idm show, and datathief with their blend of addictive melodies and energetic rhythms formed a great first impression.

click to enlargetracks played by the duo varied from lo-fi melodies filled with analog strings and energetic swirling percussion to darker and more aggressive textures that still remained melodic. at one point of the show game boy was used as one of the instruments becoming a peculiar addition to the band's gear.

I noticed almost right away how clean and polished the sound was. the music completely filled the performance space, and each sound element seemed to be perfectly shaped and completely fitting, sparkling with every detail that makes idm genre so appealing.

datathief has restored what idm has forgotten about, carried away by experimenting with pure sound techniques. melody is an important factor for the band and it shows on every track that builds around beautiful melodies inspired by the 80s splendor, reviving its tender and romantic atmosphere. at the same time intricate percussion structures remain in the music, allowing it to fit within idm boundaries. but after all, how many idm tracks you can actually remember by melody the next day?

click to enlargespeaking of the melody, I was trying to compare datathief with toytronic material or even majority of other bands that use the same formula to compose typical idm track - piling up intricate percussion on top of distant simple clean lines. in case of datathief it is something more mature, when melody becomes a part of music, moving as one whole. in this respect it would be a lot closer to nature/final frontier material. the similarity to final frontier is even more apparent after you recognize how closely datathief recreates unique romantic atmosphere that these italians are famous for.

click to enlargeon couple of tracks datathief used some vocals, nicely treated with vocoder. voice is something I would be cautious about in idm genre, but with datathief I was amazed at how perfectly it fit the music. it brought back kraftwerk memories and yet remained strikingly elegant mixing together with the music. it would make your heart swell with emotions and make you laugh at the same time.

at any time during the show I could sense a very friendly vibe coming both from stage and the audience. clearly the band was having fun at the same time remaining serious about the music, getting into each track, intensely following the melodies. their energy on stage was backed by positive feedback from the audience that quickly got into the music and visibly "woke up" at the band's presence.

click to enlargemost of presented material was something you could dance to, and at all times it was a perfect ear candy that many people seemed to recognize right away judging by the comments in the audience. hopefully the band will continue exploring more and more melodic side of idm, therefore making this style of music more acceptable for wider audience. meanwhile you can try to hunt down their earlier releases and compilation appearances.

photographs © 2001 by alan mcclelland

related links
stewart brown website
todd sines website
ele-mental website
datathief/yunx split review
datathief website
datathief "bandwidth" review

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