BINKBEATS bounces to Berlin: In review

After a perplexing opening act and a 40 minute wait for the crew to properly reset the stage, I wasn’t particularly primed to really appreciate BINKBEATS’ set.

Standing in the middle of a mini music studio stocked with a range of percussive instruments, synthesizers, midi controllers, a xylophone, a bass guitar and an Ableton controller, the classically trained Dutch musician showed off his precise, technical and innovative loop building skills.

He also sang deep and impressively resonant vocals, bringing a somber seriousness to the show. Unfortunately, the lighting was either not working or not well thought out, as only a soft white light was occasionally cast on BINKBEATS moving through and recording his instruments. On many occasions he had his back turned against the audience in order to hammer out xylophone parts.

Songs like “Little Nerves” lost some of it’s cool, jazzy appeal without the accompanying keyboardist, yet the groovy baselines and driving hi-hats still wove little waves of energy throughout Gretchen’s church-like concave ceilings. These waves caused heads to bobble and hips to gently swing, but I felt the overall vibe was kind of shy.

What makes BINKBEATS fun to watch —at least online— is to see how he accesses each of his instruments to find the bizarre, dynamic and novel sounds that he weaves into intricate groupings. The sonic element of the music by itself however —heard in the middle of a mostly unmoved crowd— left me looking for more.

The sweet subtleties of songs like “In Dust” couldn’t followed after too many elements were added and forgotten as no physical embodiment allowed the listener to see or remember where the sounds came from. It seemed that each sound lost a bit of it’s magic once it was recorded and looped.

BINKBEATS is a talented multi-instrumentalist and composer and I think his set needs to be enjoyed in an intimate and well-lit setting to be truly heard. Hoping for a bit of escapism after a long week, I escaped the end of the set wishing for something more interesting in a bar with a beer.

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