Festival Coverage

Thursday night Hopscotch at Neptunes

While one of the most engaging parts of Hopscotch is racing from venue to venue to catch your favorite acts, it’ll be hard to find a reason to leave Neptune’s Thursday night.

Kicking off the lineup is David Mueller’s solo electronic project TZYVYX (pronounced civics). Mueller is a member of Raleigh’s Birds of Avalon and Heads on Sticks, but his solo project eschews traditional song structures for experimental electronic soundscapes. TZYVYX builds off of little, using few vocals, sleek synthesizers, and minimal percussion to fill the room. His live performances incorporate the use of projectors and CRT TV sets, creating a powerful atmosphere hard to step away from.

Following TZYVYX is former Asheville local Nick James. James was previously in a Raleigh band, Oulipo, but also has adopted a radically different sound for his solo music. With slow, grinding tempos, his tracks use building chromatic melodies and drones to create a supremely menacing post-apocalyptic atmosphere. As tension builds James sporadically releases that kinetic energy with thick-as-concrete industrial bass punches. It’s startlingly cathartic for music that seems so sparse, but feels natural. Utilizing visuals for most of his live performances as well but had the following to say on them in an interview with The News & Observer: “…with my show, I kind of thought, since it’s built for sound systems – there’s a lot of bass, there’s a lot of heavy, kind of reverberating, cinematic sound – I want visuals, but projections aren’t necessarily high-definition enough. So, I’ve kind of gone with this HDMI, dual flat-screen situation that gives it this kind of high-definition sound environment that, when people are listening to the music and watching the visuals, it’s a much different, musical experience.”

Up next on Thursday night’s lineup is Chicago’s Teklife member DJ Earl. After gaining a steadfast knowledge of Chicago’s juke culture at a young age from other Teklife DJs like Rashad, Spinn, and Traxman, DJ Earl began producing his own sounds that promote a fresh generation of footwork. While Earl was not a part of the official Hopscotch lineup last year, he took the stage of King’s the night before with DJ Paypal and DJ Big Hank kicking off the festival.

Closing out the night at Neptunes is UK producer Mumdance whose energetic, grime dance music will make it hard to leave the parlour to race over to CAM to catch Cashmere Cat.