From a review of City Of Hungry Ghosts/Beat Imprint performance opening for oOoOOO the Deli Music Magazine, by Trevor Talley
I sat, huddled on the steps of the nearly pitch black Beauty Ballroom, awaiting Gomi(City Of Hungry Ghosts sic), Beat Imprint, Ben Aqua and oOoOO to perform what I knew would be a most deliciously dread-filled show, one which lovingly filtered the dark parts of contemporary life through a haze of sound pulled from genres untold. I had arrived a bit early, and so I turned to my trusted magic phone to take in a bit of HP Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness, a work of mythical, cold horror that I knew would be a perfect prelude to the July 7th show.
As the haunting words of warning you see above passed through my eyes and into my consciousness, Gomi began their set, and I couldn't help but feel that the men who had gathered that day to put sounds in my brain and body (for the bass was earth-shaking) had dared to tap these dark corners that the book spoke of, and that the sounds which were about to squirm and splash out of their black, speaker-shaped lairs were the aural cousins of Lovecraft's blasphemous nightmares, out to seek conquest in the minds of those present. And that, dear readers, was exactly what I came for.
What I now know was Gomi's set (Gomi and Beat Imprint are the same two people, and they played one set after the other) began with a kind-of horrific, mood-setting prelude of heavy abstract drones, white noise and a mostly echoing voice fading in and out of intelligibility, which sounded like it might have been ripped from a 1970's PSA or an documentary on something dismal. To this cacophony (and loud it truly was) the men brought a piecemeal hip hop beat in and out, letting it feel like a song was starting repeatedly, and ripping it away just as you started to get comfortable with it.
What came after was a cascade of black reworks and viciously manipulated tracks that seemed like M83's evil, noisier cousin. I imagined it to be the perfect music to soundtrack someone taking experimental hallucinogens and breaking into a run-down, glitchyplanetarium. At points it sounded like they were taking fellow Austinites Explosions in the Sky's sound and turning it into something evil and insiduous, and it was good. This was sound that was trying to fuck with you, with animal screeching sounds and disembodied voices floating around in a mire of noise that would fall into what seemed like chaos only to be pulled back again into a semblance of control. It was unsettling, and that was the point.
I may be wrong, but I believe the moment they changed from Gomi to Beat Imprint was when the first proper, staying beat dropped in after a brief pause, because at this point the feel of the show definitely took a change for the more organized and less ambient. That's not to say that the newcomer tracks were any less fucked-in-the-eye dark, heavy or nightmarish, oh no, they simply featured more steady and recognizable beats. Beat Imprint took genres like hip-hop, house, tribal trance and even what sounded a little slowed-down moombah-y and put them through an electronic grinder. What came out was music to happily go mad to, music that was sometimes purposefully a little off kilter or grating, and sometimes filled with strikingly beautiful melodies. The bass became so heavy that it was shaking the ground 30 feet away, and I felt each punch from the snares in my chestbone.
Beat Imprint never really let a genre fulfill its own rules, undermining and warping them to something that bared only the basest relation to the original. There were times that they even brought in some 8-Bit influence, and it felt like they were the bastard children of hip-hop, unfit for mortals, playing a club owned by the Mario Bros in hell. Chopped 'n screwed and drag (witch haus) influences were in full effect, and occult symbols, Vicodin pills and geometric shapes swirled and flashed madly behind the bobbing duo, who were obviously controlling the images live to the music. It was a sick, beautiful reinterpretation of music as a whole, especially electronic and hip-hop, and it provided the ideal soundtrack for the demonic Lovecraftian creatures floating around in my brain that night.