SXSW Reviews: Tengger, v10101a

Thursday saw the start of the Jaded | FRIENDS:FOREVER showcase at Empire Garage and Control Room, a two day Asian-centric showcase featuring over 40 acts. Let’s take a look at two of those acts.

Tengger, March 14, Empire Control Room

Pegged as a traveling music family, Tengger consists of Itta (from South Korea), Marquido (from Japan) and their son Raai, who may be about10 years old. The trio played what I guess can be called as new age-y minimalistic synth-based tunes. I don’t really know how to describe it except that it was very calming, playful, and peaceful. There was a lot of performative art in their set too, as during one track, the band members went into the crowd, shaking rattlers over each audience member, as if to relieve them of their trouble.

It was overall a very calming set but I can’t get over the fact that during the pandemic, the couple were separated by countries and their son, who must have only been 7 or 8 at the time, was so upset he wrote a song and then a few years later he’s performing it at SXSW. Talk about being a go getter.

v10101a, March 15, Empire Control Room

Whereas Tengger embraced harmonious nature-based concepts, v10101a comes from the future. Shanghai born, NYC based, v10101a took to the stage on Friday night and took the crowd on a whirlwind dizzying electro journey that seemed very much in line with the themes of SXSW. Sharing her laptop monitor on the stage backdrop, v10101a proceeded to seemingly live-code her show. Each song was an open code file, with different components of the song tied to functions within that file that she could execute in whatever order she wants, with real time modifications to pitch, sound, etc. all available at her disposal.

The music itself was a mix of synths, samples, drum loops, chippy sounds and just about whatever else you can download. It was all geared to make you dance and the crowd definitely got into it at the Empire Control Room, although all eyes were on the backdrop to see what she was doing.

It was a fascinating glimpse into the tools now available to creators, who realistically don’t even need to learn guitar or piano anymore, just how to call the chords/keys, etc on a time loop.

Whereas a traditionalist might stick up their nose at this concept, it really does open the world of music creator to a new group of people, especially the ones that didn’t have the benefit of music lessons growing up. Is it a short cut? Yes, but look at your phone – everything technology does is a shortcut. I left her energetic set wondering how these worlds will inevitably collide.

I wasn’t able to take a video because it was way too dark but here’s an example of livecoding, which I guess is what you call v10101a does.

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.