This Wednesday, April 25th at 8:00 p.m. another famous electro and EDM producer hits the stage at The Westcott Theater. There have been a ton of shows packed together in the last few weeks and that trend is still happening. This time it’s Felix Cartal, a young and super talented producer/punk musician hailing from Vancouver who just dropped his second album, Different Faces. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy his work and I’m stoked to see him tear it up live!
What makes Felix Cartal different are his punk rock roots. By age thirteen he was playing bass guitar for a local Vancouver punk band called Dysfunctional. It was inspired by the late 90s punk scene, including bands like NoFx and others. It was a short-lived project but they actually released a few albums before breaking up in 2006. Around the same time, Cartal discovered Reason, which is popular though complex music production software. Having been exposed to the piano as well, it was simple for Cartal to pick it up. Given Vancouver’s rich DJ scene at the time Cartal began to make the connection and eventually decided to bring the hardcore, raw energy of punk rock to the EDM scene. This is where Cartal excelled and he is now an extremely well-respected, though still somewhat obscure producer. I consider him to be one of the best in the game.
Felix Cartal’s association with electro house genius Steve Aoki certainly propelled this talented producer’s career, but he held on to a style and sound which no one else can capture. In 2006 he started working with fellow Canadians Keeler and Al-P of MSTRKRFT, which is a hardcore dance-punk group that hasn’t released new music in a few years. Interestingly enough, Felix Cartal’s initial buzz came from his own blog, which he was able to later leverage into a major label signing. It’s unbelievable considering that within a year he performed his 3rd live gig ever–opening for the legendary French electro/nu disco group Justice in front of 4000 people! In 2009 Cartal dropped his first EP; although Skeleton only contained four songs, it was and remains very popular. A year later he released his debut album called Popular Music. Between Skeleton and Popular Music his career blossomed and he began a hardcore 2010 touring schedule–hitting Camp Bisco, SXSW, Electric Daisy Carnival and more. He ended up putting out four more EPs and dropping Different Faces, which is already one of my favorite’s of 2012.
Now a little about his sound. Felix Cartal relies on all the standards of EDM–thundering bass, synths, sampling and heavy bass-lines–but the end result is somehow much more polished and interesting than the work of his peers. His early work has a glichy, raw sound and hard energy rooted in his punk days, while the newer stuff is somewhat toned down. He still uses bouncy and repetitive bass-lines, beeps and edgy drums but now adds a melody-driven, vocal element to his work. One song in particular called “Black to White” exemplifies this perfectly in it’s trancey, soothing, minimal vocals juxtaposed with a heavy, bouncy drop that brings the entire song to life with rising synths and anthemic (sometimes I invent words) melody. I’d argue that “Black to White” is a perfect song, but many of his other works show similar erudition and polish. I’ll attach a few songs, take a listen. So if you’re looking for a fun concert in ‘Cuse, head to the Westcott this Wednesday night! Don’t forget to do a shot of Jaeger with my buddy Sam Levey while you’re at it.
This is a rare chance to see Felix Cartal’s #DifferentFaces Tour stop in Syracuse. What’s the best part? It’s only $15!
Buy Different Faces or you can read a full review.
Felix Cartal at The Westcott Theater
524 Westcott Street
Thursday, April 25th at 8:00 p.m.
BUY TICKETS NOW – just $15 (plus fees/tickets will be available at the door)
#DifferentFaces Tour Recap so far:
Black to White video featuring hipsters, hot chicks and more:
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