There is definitely some sort of intrinsic awesomeness to being a girl who absolutely kills it as a DJ, probably because of the scarcity of female DJs on the electronic scene. TOKiMONSTA has been one of my favorite DJs — in general, not just of the female subset — for a while, producing delightful beats on Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder label with contemporaries like Nosaj Thing, Martyn, Teebs, and Lorn. Sadly, the Brainfeeder folks rarely make their way to the Northeast, so it was quite a pleasure to be able to see both TOKiMONSTA and Nosaj Thing in one day in New York (TOKi at Tammany Hall and Nosaj Thing at The Creators Project).
TOKiMONSTA's show at Tammany Hall, a small, dark, narrow venue well-suited to a DJ set, was opened by Anamanaguchi and Beatsaface. Anamanaguchi, a chiptune or 8-bit group by nature, played a bass-heavy DJ set, with familiar tracks from artists like Zomby, Rustie, and Joker scattered throughout (how did they know this was the way to my heart?) as well as glitched-out hip hop and music befitting their normal style.
It's surprising to me how much the volume of music can change its tone sometimes. I generally see TOKiMONSTA as "chill music" — something akin to sitting on the porch on a crisp spring or fall day (though perhaps this association comes from having discovered her just as the seasons began to transition last year and finding that she hit the spot like no other).
This show, however, was anything but "chill" — something about infusing anything with super loud bass is a perfect formula for a dance party, and the crowd, at least towards the front where I was, got down, just as I was beginning to think that New York City couldn't dance for anything but womped out dubstep and electro (based on limited experiences). People were friendly and interacted outside their own circles, which was great, and the atmosphere was pretty generally fun. Although this was a much different experience from listening to TOKi's recordings, it was still clearly marked with her unique, amazing style.
I'm so happy I traveled down to NYC from Boston to see TOKiMONSTA, I am finally able to check one of my favorites off the Brainfeeder label from my bucket list. Unfortunately for me, she doesn't have any U.S. shows for a while, but if you're hanging out in Japan, the U.K., Russia, Denmark, and Switzerland, you should check out her tour dates, I promise you'll fall in love.
Instead of individual tracks — honestly, just get your hands on her Cosmic Intoxication EP for the best intro — I'm including a great live mix from 2010 in London. It's not the newest, clearly, but it's pretty timeless. Turn up the bass and play it loud if you're in the mood to dance.