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Review: Knife Party at Mansion 6/1

June 5th, 2012 -

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Australian Electro House and Dubstep DJ/Production duo, Knife Party, have seen their stock grow infinitesimally over the course of less than a year. Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen of the Electronic Rock band Pendulum comprise the duo, and they have maintained a high profile since their debut performance last August at mega club Space on the island of Ibiza, Spain. The duo have produced some heavy-hitting remixes and original tracks that have melded the genres of Dubstep and Electro House in ways that are not only innovative, but sonically rife with tremendous energy, and augmented in every conceivable manner by turbulent distortion and reverb. The resulting concoction is some of the most compelling dance music being produced today.

Knife Party took to Miami Beach’s posh Mansion Night Club, in support of their second EP release, entitled Rage Valley. If it already isn’t blatantly apparent from the title of their aforementioned release, the venue began to resemble a metaphorical, populated by a proportionately male and female crowd, that in spite of being dressed to the highest of standards, did not hesitate even momentarily to party with what can be described as reckless abandon. The ceiling resembled something along the lines of a vibrantly-lit midway game, emitting bright hues of light ubiquitously, in a manner that suggested movement. The room had a pulse, beating lively as the walls vibrated in unison with the floor, which throbbed against the inertia of hundreds of bodies, stamping in frenzy as the beat dropped on the decks. The duo gazed down onto the audience, surveying the smoke burnished space in front of them, as the lights shed fractals in every direction.

While the ambience may have promised a night of unfettered calamity from stat to finish, it was truncated to an extent that was not in keeping with expectation. Knife Party took control, and began commanding the decks some time after 2 AM, and departed nearly as abruptly as how they arrived initially, having played a set that lasted in the realm of an hour, give or take. In their brief flirtation with brilliance, the duo delivered their most recognizable tracks, including their superb remixes of Porter Robinson’s “Unison,” Swedish House Mafia’s “Save the World” and “Antidote,” as well as their original track “Internet Friends,” which became a staple in most DJ sets in this most recent installment of Ultra Music Festival. The main room quickly became engulfed in a deluge of screeching drops infused with the distinctive wobble of conventional dubstep.

There suddenly was little in the way of room to move, as their small fraction of the audience that was not heaving in rhythmic movement was scampering without cease throughout the floor, seeking a favorable vantage point – not afraid to encroach upon others to do so. Swire and McGrillen churned through the bulk of their material, but never once afforded the audience with a glimpse of anything new. This was the Knife Party that everyone knows and loves, yet in their effort to replicate that sense of familiarity, they overlooked the necessity to constantly reaffirm their vitality as a Dance act, by integrating new music into their sets. When taken in the context of the brevity with which they played, the performance was rendered to be more underwhelming than should have been, and promised to be – even in spite of the frenetic pacing and immediacy with which they announced themselves upon taking the stage.

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