LIVE REVIEW: Zomby @ The Angel Orensanz Foundation, 7.18.11

[Photo via FADER]

Words by Mitch Strashnov

Hell froze over; after four aborted appearances in New York City, Zomby finally showed up and played a private after-party for (capsule) at the Angel Orensanz Foundation. The Lower East Side setting–a former synagogue that looks like it hosted raves in the early ’90s–was relatively strange, yet it made perfect sense for the reclusive producer to make his long-awaited debut among pockets of people who didn’t have the slightest idea who he is or how monumental the occasion was for anyone remotely into electronic music. (One girl actually asked self-titled who tonight’s “special guest” was. When we said Zomby, she just stared back at us blankly.)

Zomby isn’t exactly a proper DJ but his selections were on-fucking-point at times. Early on in his set, he played a bunch of classic tunes from Warp (including Aphex Twin) and Metalheadz, tying it all together with a surprise drop of Johnny Jungle via the unbelievable Suburban Base imprint. Some truly gritty grime tracks also appeared, alongside rough dub beats and eski-laden rhythms. The other half of his set included cuts from his new Dedication LP, Gucci Mane, and a couple of drops from rising Dipset producer araabMUZIK. An intriguing set of carefully curated music, for sure, and one that’d make many people lose their minds in a proper club setting.

Zomby seemed calm throughout, as he sat down and burned through blunts at a steady pace until the end of his set. That happened abruptly at around 12:20–he was reportedly booked to play until 1–when he stood up, closed his MacBook and exited stage left. And with that, the house lights were hit and the party was over. Although it didn’t matter to the many people who already left during the hour-long set, a reflection of the simple fact that most people didn’t know who he was.