Mala @ Goodlife 8.19.11
by Kyle Risley (Marketing), published August 23rd 2011
Just one week after bringing in West London’s Silkie (new album, City Limits Vol. 2 reviewed here), Bassic doubled down and brought Mala to Goodlife’s downstairs. Co-founder of the DMZ record label and club night, founder of Deep Medi Records, and early sculptor of the dubstep sound, Mala’s credentials link to every pivotal moment of the genre’s development. As I arrived at the venue a line stretched from the door to the end of the block, where I patiently waited while the bass vibrated through the sidewalk and against my sneakers. About a half hour later, I was nearly through the entrance when a car leaned against its horn on Kingston Street. I watched as the car in front of it pulled an outlandish parallel park job, nearly hitting the honking car in the process, and smoothly settled against the curb. Mala exited from the back seat with his case of records and walks into the club. I smiled, caught eyes with another stranger in line, and gave a knowing nod. Tonight would be something remarkable.
C Dubs was finishing up his set as I walked into the basement, the rhythm of ‘Bad Man’ massaging the crowd into a head nodding trance. The steady pulse of ‘Eyez’ and off kilter percussion of ‘No Respect‘ rounded out his set a bit past midnight as Mala stepped up to the decks. After opening with a reggae roots track, Mala followed with ‘Living Different VIP,’ a naked kick/snare combo tied together with frozen, hollow drum hits and subtle notes that were intriguingly eerie. As it faded away, an anonymous voice addressed the crowd. ‘People do respond to that bottom frequency, you know. People have to feel it.’ V.I.V.E.K.’s track, ‘Feel It,’ entered, showing off the capabilities of The Goodlife’s sound system. The rolling bass enveloped the crowd, droning in and out as cheers erupted and the dancing heated up. Well, if you want to call it dancing. Dance floor moves ranged from a head nod and a shoulder jerk all the way to guy on guy on girl maneuvers. Above all else though, the crowd was respectful of each other’s space, something I can’t quite say for the gentlemen that showed up for 12th Planet’s set at B.O.M.B. Fest.
Mala proceeded to deliver a slew of other slow burners for the first half of his set before gradually upping the tension. ‘It Ain’t Got a Name,’ a collaboration between Joker and TC earned two rewinds before letting its crunk drum fills and purple synths tear out of the system. Mala’s ‘Alicia’ serenaded the crowd into a trance before he asked the crowd ‘Hey, any of you know my brethren Coki?’ The wild cheers were all he needed to justify unleashing his cohort’s newest unreleased track ‘Duppy Soursap.’ Coki’s trademark metallic filth was accented with percolating beeps and ragga vocals as Mala blended in a new track from himself, ‘Eyez VIP.’ While the original ‘Eyez’ was built around a fuzzy synth line that slid down from head to toe, the rework flipped the song from a meditative hymn to a sonic assault. A slew of Coki tunes followed to keep the energy at a fever pitch before dipping into the ethereal, floating vocals of ‘Changes.’
‘You know, it’s great to play somewhere with a sound system that is actually decent. I love you Boston!’ declared Mala when he hit his ten minute warning. The polyrhythmic percussion of ‘King of Kong’ by LD and the mammoth weight of Goth Trad’s ‘Babylon Fall‘ tied up the evening, the crowd equally exhausted and awe-struck. The night was a testament to both the continued relevance of dubstep’s ‘deep sounds’ and BASSIC’s continued success. Having booked N-Type, Addison Groove, Ramadanman, Silkie, and Goth Trad to Goodlife in the space of under a year, BASSIC is bringing some of the genre’s best and brightest talent to a city often overlooked in electronic music. Mala, however, might be their best accomplishment yet.