Born Gold - City Pages, Anna Gulbrandsen

I spent last night getting a heavy dose of experimental pop and driving synths when I accompanied a friend to see Grimes with Born Gold in concert. Grimes, who I can best describe as a one man band for the Internet generation, brought her eclectic style and cute as a button persona to a crowd that seemed to hang on every sample and hauntingly beautiful vocal passage.

So, video games…right?

Fine, I’ll stop waxing poetic about Grimes and get to the reason I am writing on this blog – a blog ostensibly about video games so bad they are good.

Well it was actually the opener for Grimes, Born Gold that provides the requisite gaming context for me to rationalize this post. Born Gold is three Canadians, a whole bunch of synthesizers and samplers, and a Kinect. Offering a glimpse into the future, Born Gold frontman Cecil Frena uses a Kinect to manipulate beats, cutoffs, and samples with the same precision and enthusiasm as a conductor of a classical orchestra.

It actually took a good few songs to figure out why exactly the vocalist was standing so far back on the stage, but after careful observation, it became apparent how cool the set up Born Gold employed was. Initially I thought the beats were being manipulated by the LED adorned jacket worn by Frena, but after studying the stage with a bit more attention a familiar device suddenly caught my eye. Sitting at the front of the stage was a microphone stand with a Kinect attached to the top, and a monitor mounted below to give real time feedback of the motion sensing camera. Moving his arms up and down, forwards and back all yielded distinct changes in the sonic landscape making Frena’s movements equal parts dance and calculated music making.

In addition to the use of the Kinect, Born Gold also brought incredibly weird, but compelling showmanship to the performance. Be it covering part of the audience with a blanket and placing a strobe light beneath it for an improptu rave, or one of the members putting on stilts while dropping beats with a sampler duck taped to a scoop shovel, Born Gold was bizarre in a very Kusoge way.

While I can guarantee that Born Gold and their music  isn’t for everyone it is an act that shouldn’t be missed.