It’s almost May, and the rumors are flooding campus.
“I heard Spring Fling was canceled.” “No one is booked.” “Anwar was gonna headline, but then he backed out.” “We could only afford Afroman. It’ll be in the ice rink.” “Maybe it’ll be a Tupac hologram.” “Lightning Bolt is gonna play all three sets, but only if we dig a 6’x6’x6′ pit on Foss Hill for them to perform in.” Where’s the announcement?
You’ve been patient, so here’s what’s up. Yes, Virginia, there is a Spring Fling this year. The acts have been booked, the lineup confirmed—and despite popular belief, it’s not going to be a 3-D hologram of Tupac (though sources report that was M. Roth’s first choice for a headliner). Spring Fling Committee has compensated for the slight delay by including an extra act—four instead of the usual three—and the list looks pretty fantastically diverse to me: a minimalist producer-turned-critical darling, a fun synthpop duo, a Cali-based DJ, and a dirty south rapper. Thanks to the gruff-voiced FBI informant who whispered these names to me in the Court Street parking garage late last night.
In the order they’ll be performing in, here’s what we got:
Kablaam! As I said, diverse. Spring Fling Committee decided to go for more of a festival format rather than the typical opener-opener-headliner template this time around, and it paid off well: we have four acts, each bringing its own singular vibe to the show. Here’s the statement I’ve gotten from the committee:
Thanks for waiting so patiently to hear this year’s lineup! We worked very hard to plan a well-rounded event with a decreased budget in an attempt to appeal to a wide variety of music fans. This year we’ve extended the duration of Spring Fling to make the show feel more like a festival, showcasing great live talent in a more diverse, four-band lineup.
Spring Fling is on and we’re very excited about it, thanks again for your patience. So come out to the hill early on May 10th for over 5 hours of live music!
In brief, Jaar is a hugely acclaimed electronic producer presently attending Brown, Chairlift is an infectious electro-pop duo straight outta (can you guess?) Brooklyn, MiMoSa is a dubstep producer based in LA, and Big K.R.I.T. a supremely talented up-and-coming southern fried rapper from Mississippi (and it shows). For lengthier descriptions, read on.
If Spring Fling 2010 taught us anything, let it be this: Dirty South rappers do well on Foss, especially when their rap name starts with “Big.” Headlining the show this time around is Big K.R.I.T. (that’s short for “King Remembered in Time”), a much-blogged-about burgeoning rap sensation straight outta Meridian, Mississippi. K.R.I.T. first garnered mainstream praise with mixtape K.R.I.T. Wuz Here in 2010 and his subsequent minor hit “Country Shit.” He signed to Def Jams later that year—and drew the attention of XXL Magazine‘s Freshman Class of 2011. More like Big L.E.G.I.T. See what I did there?
Both a talented emcee and producer, K.R.I.T. has worked (in both roles) with a colorful list of artists, including but not limited to Wiz Khalifa, Curren$y, Ludacris, and Chamillionaire. His upcoming release is Live From The Underground, a debut studio album (the rapper has already released a handful of online mixtapes) featuring Big Sean, 2 Chainz, 8Ball & MJG, Anthony Hamilton and—bizarrely enough—B.B. King. His music merges thoughtful rhymes with a ’90s Dirty South vibe—think Goodie Mob updated for today’s blog rap set. Given this campus’s propensity for hip hop headliners, K.R.I.T. should be a real fun set.
Next up, MiMOSA (real name: Tigran Mkhitaryan), a dubstep/grime DJ from LA who has been concocting beats in his lair since the tender age of 17. As his MySpace succinctly points, this dude gets around: “this summer saw MiMOSA globetrotting from festival sites everywhere—including his headlining slot and Lightning in a Bottle, to triumphant performances at Detroit Electronic Music Festival, Shambhala festival, Red Rocks, Electric Zoo, Summer Camp, and Burning Man.” This time around, he’s en route to Bonnaroo—and just dropped a collaboration release with Sleepyhead under the moniker “Sexytime,” which was released on 4/20. As one press release puts it, “Interestingly danceable rhythms, hip-hop samples, and lots of synthy bass is what makes MiMOSA’s music distinct.”
Unquestionably, this is the most exclusively dubsteppy/dance-happy Fling act in recent memory, so here’s hoping it gets Wes’ homegrown DJ crowd’s motor running at full throttle. For more, here’s MiMOSA’s September 2011 mix.
Chairlift, not to be confused with the popular elevated skiing and snowboarding ropeway of the same name, looks like a clear crowd-pleaser, especially if Tanlines’ bounce-happy set at Zonker Harris Day earlier this month gives indication. (Hell, what other act has covered Beyonce with Wes’ very own Kool A.D.?) Like Tanlines, Chairlift is a stupidly catchy Brooklyn-based synthpop duo with a penchant for sleek ’80s synths and irresistibly bubbly hooks. Unlike Tanlines, Chairlift brings a female lead vocalist, a rarity in recent Spring Fling lineups, into the mix. I’ve been spinning the duo’s sophomore effort, 2012’s mostly acclaimed Something, for about a week now, and I’m sold: this is as infectious as ’80s electro-pop nostalgia gets, and, as the Washington Post testifies (choice excerpt: “as Polachek’s breathy bellows floated over sharp-edged synthesizers, one couldn’t help but hear echoes of Human League, Eurythmics and late-’80s Fleetwood Mac”), it’s a helluva good time live.
For further empirical evidence, scope out Something highlights “Ghost Tonight,” “Wrong Opinion,” and “Met Before.” If my experience is any indication, they won’t leave your head for a month. [Edit: Adrien DeFonswanky ’13 implores me to point out that Chairlift actually performs as a five-person band live, not a duo. Additionally, they’ve appeared on this campus at least twice before—opening for MGMT in 2008 and performing in a “benefit concert for America” the following October. Most current students weren’t around for either gig, but I’d be glad for senior perspectives.)
Then there’s Nicolas Jaar, arguably the wildcard candidate on this lineup—for one thing, he’s certainly the only Spring Fling act in recent memory to garner phrases like “sound design” and “minimalism composer” in critical write-ups. Jaar is a comparative literature major at Brown,
which is all you need to know. He’s also the significantly hyped minimalist electronic producer behind 2011’s haunting Space Is Only Noise, which was released a few weeks after his 21st birthday. As Nico himself writes on his website,
NICOLAS JAAR was born on the 10th of January 1990 in New York but spent most of his childhood in Santiago de chile. Haunted by Mulatu Astatke and Erik Satie, he started making electronic music in 2004. At the age of 17, he made his debut on Wolf + Lamb records. Now 21 years old, Nico runs his own label clown & sunset and just released his debut album “space is only noise.”
Jaar, who hails from New York by way of his family’s native Chile, describes his music as “blue-wave.” What that means, I think, is that this is a heady, cerebral fusion of styles—minimalist techno, sparse trip hop beats, lingering ambient passages, empty spaces galore—pieced together with what TinyMixtapes identifies as “a bricolage of submerged beats, French Impressionist-sounding piano squiggles, musique concrète doodads, and the occasional glum vocal.” It’s a wonderful record, too (my favorites cuts include the pulsing “Too Many Kids Finding Rain in the Dust” and the glitchy, piano-driven “Specters of the Future”), and if it may seem more suited to headphones at night than a very drunk Foss, consider that Jaar is bringing a live band with him to perform it. I, for one, am intrigued. (And yes, Jaar goes to Brown, which makes some sort of cosmic sense when you consider that our own Das Racist co-headlined Brown’s Spring Weekend a year ago this week. Thanks for the shout-out, BlogDailyHerald.)
This is what it sounds like during interstellar travel:
And there you go. It’s later than normal, but on the bright side—sheeeit, this is happening in two freaking weeks. Attend on Last.fm!