Let’s face it, the Shanghai music scene is relatively hit and miss – a regrettable mixture of chart orientated music and shameless fist pumping EDM fills an array of mediocre venues. However, Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones certainly hit the nail on the head at ALL club. The brand new venue brought to the city by the team behind Shelter, a similarly underground and gritty establishment recently closed down for less than perfect behaviour. As co-founders of Fractal Fantasy – almost equal parts sonic endeavour as pioneering visual adventure launched in 2012 – the pair are partners in every sense of the word. The duo from Canada and Austria respectively, craft experimental and twisted electronic music with a distinct vision of utopianism in mind. Their World Tour follows the release of Sinjin’s debut full length body of work, First Opus which dropped May 10th.
Kicking off the night was DJ Swimly, warming up a sparse but enthusiastic crowd. At this point it was clear the venue had been appropriately engineered for such events. The audio environment was effective and what the sound system lacked in punch it made up for in clarity and balance. The floor progressively filled with an eager group with mounting anticipation in the build up to Zora’s set. And rightly so. The Austrian producer blitzed through a seamlessly improvised set of infectious tracks, confirming beyond any doubt that her stamp on the international electronic music scene is thoroughly deserved. Having once been a fashion student, Zora became enticed by music production after meeting Sinjin in 2010 who advised her to create at least 100 tracks before releasing anything. Her production panache clearly shines through on the stellar 100 Ladies EP of 2015.
Next up on the decks was the unassuming and initially back-pack clad Sinjin. This young artist truly demonstrated an efficacy for instilling a sense of ethereal energy in the room, flawlessly picking up where Zora left off. Weaving in and out of resolutely buoyant tracks, shimmering with airy choral timbres and contrasted with an abundance of erratic bass pieces. Hailing from Montreal, Sinjin first carved a name for himself in late 2011 with his debut EP The Lights via Belgian label Pelican Fly. Since then he’s wrapped up a string of commendable collaborations including working with Just Blaze and founding member of Three 6 Mafia, Gansta Boo. However, most notable was his recent collaboration with Kanye West; Sinjin co-wrote and co-produced the track ‘Wolves’ from The Life of Pablo, alongside Cashmere Cat. This year saw the producer drop First Opus, an uplifting journey and exhilarating exploration of electronic music.
The two then went back-to-back for an emphatically dynamic set comprised mainly of their own extensive catalogues and edits. Supplementing the thrill in the airwaves was the awe-inspiring visuals on display. Sinjin and Zora have made great efforts to implement multi-media elements into all things Fractal Fantasy, I recommend taking some time to check out their website to get a taste, it’s quite the trip. Having become fascinated with 3D and CGI audio-visual experiences, the duo utilise movement tracking technology to generate and incorporate a synchronised visual display into their performances, employing the dance floor as a platform upon which to manufacture a disquieted sci-fi inspired scene.
It’s the technology side of things that really drives them to create something original. Speaking with FACT magazine, Sinjin has said, “What we’re doing is based in what’s actually happening. There are all these new technologies that are coming out now that we’re fascinated by: VR is becoming a reality, AR [augmented reality] is becoming quite interesting.” Zora added, “If you look at how we live in 2016, we live URL and IRL… It’s the natural progression for us to work in that angle.” It certainly creates a warped reality, and a sensory involvement like no other.
The Fractal Fantasy World Tour will culminate with the finale performance at Motion, Bristol. I would expect a riot. Catch Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones at a venue near you:
01/09 – THE BORING ROOM – Xian, China
02/09 – XXX GALLERY – Sai Wan, Hong Kong
08/09 – CAKESHOP – Seoul, Korea
09/09 – CLUB MAGO – Nagoya, Japan
15/09 – CIRCUS TOKYO – Shibuya-Ku, Japan
16/09 – CIRCUS OSAKA – Chuo Ward, Japan
17/09 – THERE VND THEN – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
20/09 – AISLE 5 – Atlanta, GA
21/09 – U STREET HALL – Washington, DC
22/09 – SUNNYVALE – New York, NY
23/09 – EAST ROOM – Chicago, IL
27/09 – CERVANTES OTHER SIDE – Denver, CO
28/09 – HOLOCENE – Portland, OR
29/09 – NEW FORMS FESTIVAL – Vancouver, Canada
30/09 – TBA – Los Angeles, CA
04/10 – Q NIGHTCLUB – Seattle, WA
06/10 – 1015 FOLSOM – San Fransisco, CA
07/10 – MOONSHINE 3 YEAR ANNIVERSARY – Montreal, Canada
13/10 – HYPERWINE – Toronto, Canada
14/10 – HIFI CLUB – Calgary, Canada
20/10 – LUNCHMEAT FESTIVAL – Prague, Czech Republic
21/10 – 3′ HI – Berlin, Germany
27/10 – MOTION – Bristol, United Kingdom
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