Jeremy Ellis for Champion Sound at Art Basel Edition at Electric Pickle, December 1
The Electric Pickle, Miami
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Ask anybody who pushes buttons for a living what they think about their job and they'll most likely tell you they hate it. Detroit producer, vocalist, and live electronic percussionist Jeremy Ellis, however, looks like one of the happiest dudes alive when he's on stage.
With inhuman speed and precision, Ellis, AKA Ayro, commanded three separate drum machines simultaneously (not to mention keys and vocal duties) to create a highly refined mesh of loosely improvisational electronic soul tunes and live digital reconstructions/remixes covering Gil-Scott Heron, Ron Isley, James Brown, J. Dilla, and more. All those with a clear view of the stage watched in awe, staring hypnotized at the all-out fury of his pad-pressing fingers (and sometimes elbows and chin). Everyone else not in eyeshot moved ass on the Electric Pickle dance floor without a clue to the madness going on behind the human curtain enclosing the stage.
It's not uncommon to see Champion Sound -- Miami's longest and strongest Wednesday weekly -- packed with more dancing females than a Jazzercise class, but the combination of Ellis and Art Basel pushed this one over the edge into what's sure to become Miami dance-party folklore. Live art on the patio by local MC and brushstroker LOX and, as always, the Champ Sound massive of Lumin, Sire Esq, Manuvers, A-Train, and Mr. Brown delivered the goods in a floor-filling package of rare groove, funk, soul, and dance classics.
Top five reasons to attend Champion Sound even when a genius musical visionary is not playing live drum machines, in no particular order:
2. Sire Esq
5. Mr. Brown
These are five of South Florida's best DJs, and they're there every week!
Top five words that describe the vibe that I would never actually use in a review:
2. Grown Folk
"Freestyle Herbie Hancock type shit"
Improvised re-creation of Gil- Scott Heron's "The Bottle"
Bouncy dubstepish track self-described as "The scary shit!"
Freestyled breaks session "People, I'm telling you, it's all about the middle"
J Dilla Homage
The now-famous James Brown routine