Short sets bolster two young performers
One unpretentious hip-hop teen and one apologetic electronic soundscaper performed at the Haunt in front of a small audience of aficionados to start off the Summer School exhibition of over a dozen regional and local acts hosted by Ithaca Underground in early September.
Despite the small crowd, 15-year-old musical engineer/rapper/vocalist Kii Kinsella, dubbed SAINT KID, did a good job hyping up the aficionados for the start of an eventful day of music and spoken word.
Mic freshly in his hand Kinsella lets loose on ‘Attached,’ by rapping over an emotional trap beat with a synth clap sounding like a sound effect from an 8-bit video game and a saturated 808 bass track that contrasted nicely with the vocals.
No need for Auto-Tune to improve the pitch of this voice. SAINT KID has bounce, pop and flow– three essentials to a good hip-hop track.
There’s a genre of rap adored by hip-hop teenie boppers where sincere and compelling vocals are performed by a young gallant full of conviction. Think Johnny Mathis but in rap terms.
You might consider Kinsella’s version or Mathis’ ‘Chances Are’ to be ‘Attached.’
So he doesn’t want to get attached. Love shouldn’t be a fallback. At fifteen he is rapping out his life’s plan.
To Kinsella’s credit for this exhibition geared toward young music lovers he refrains from dropping too many F-bombs which doesn’t detract from the short but impactful performance.
One thing that’s missing from SAINT KID’s one-man-band electronic creations are a tight catchy refrain that first-time listeners can hook onto and sing along with even before the song is over. From his debut album “Alterego” the tune “Oh Na Na” has this hook. Performed with a basic bassa nova beat mixed masterfully with subtle reggae inspired inflections, the tune is catchy and dance partner friendly.
Though still ineligible to drive Kinsella has his hands on the wheel of electronic music production and will soon be whipping up crowds in the 607 in the years to come.
“What’s Kristi music like?” a spectator asks Demi, Gogos cousin. “It will speak for itself. It will define itself in the moment. I call it ethereal,” replies Demi.
Kristi Gogos (DJ Midwife) performed while playing the keyboard and creating synthesized tonal pulses with undertones of wavering oscillations, looped and interwoven with her voice. The mood created is reminiscent of the Angelo Badalamenti’s 1990’s TV series “Twin Peaks” theme song.
Some might consider putting Gogos music on their playlist titled “Music to Sail by While Lost at Sea,” not that it’s morose and all is hopeless but that all there is in this wide expanse is this very moment.
Wearing a Casio watch and playing a Korg synthesizer with wires and electronics strewn about, the sound produced in combination with her voice can be called ethereal.
The collection of these sounds bring quality to a place. On the back dock of the Haunt glasses can be heard being washed, a line of cars flow in and out of Ithaca and families with baby strollers walk the Waterfront Footpath while water ripples in a mosaic pattern beneath Gogos feet. The world around the Cayuga Inlet is reflected in the waves.
The performance is an accompaniment to these moments as Gogos enchants the world around her.
Following each fully formed, richly layered mix she speaks into the mic in a wispy, apologetic voice her gratitude for the audience’s attention.