Live: Nguzunguzu And Salva Get Heads Bobbing At 285 Kent


Nguzunguzu w/Salva, Rizzla, DJ Weird Magic
285 Kent
Friday, March 23

Better than: Any workout that doesn’t happen on the dance floor.

At 2 a.m. early Saturday Salva took control of 285 Kent, commanding the audience with a mix that incorporated freestyle, house, Miami bass, southern rap, and west coast funk—among other things. “I’ve gotten into a lot of stuff over the years like IDM and old proper electro, and Miami bass”, Paul Salva—who operates under his last name—told me before the show. A Midwest native, Salva has set up on shop in San Fransisco and launched his own Frite Nite label; he recently moved to Los Angeles.

Salva’s releases on the LA label Friends of Friends tend to be a headier exploration of modern electronica, but he noted before the show that “the more I play shows, I’ve been interested in making harder stuff for the dancefloor, still keeping it heady, but making things people can dance to regardless of what style it is.” The dancing happened, but it would have been nice to hear some of Salva’s own tracks thrown into the mix. In between Tyga’s “Rack City” and Mobin Master’s “Show Me Love,” the audience was left wondering what Salva’s stylistic footprint is.

Daniel Pineda and Asma Maroof (a.k.a. Nguzunuguzu) got behind the decks at 3 a.m.and zoned in on a more specific style. The Los Angeles duo delivered a brew of jagged, warped, R&B-inflected bangers that was consistent with the sonic identity records like 2011’s Timesup EP.

Since relasing that critically lauded EP, Nguzunguzu have become known for a no-frills, off-the-cuff approach similar to Venus X’s NY-based DJ team GHE20G0TH1K. At times Nguzunguzu calls to mind the industrial funk of Throbbing Gristle, but Nguzunguzu’s curation of tracks lends itself incredibly well to a party environment, always keeping people on their toes while keeping their heads bobbing up to the downbeat.

Critical bias: Excited by forward-thinking bass music.

Overheard: “What is this, a Girl Talk concert?”—when the audience danced on stage.

Random notebook dump: Nguzunguzu (pronounced en-goo-zoo en-goo-zoo) takes its name from a traditional Solomon Island figurehead used to protect against supernatural forces.