The third installment of MoMA PS1’s Warm Up 2014—a summer-long series of Saturday afternoon music happenings in the big backlot of the MoMA outlet in Long Island City—featured a diverse lineup of dynamic artists and musicians, ranging from homegrown locals like the wunderkind singer-songwriter Gabriel Garzón-Montano to the the Japanese expatriate acid rock-pop Cibo Matto, which formed in New York City in 1994.
The first act of the day was a DJ set by the electronic artist Auntie Flo. Maneuvering through hysterical house beats and psychotropic Afrobeat textures, Auntie Flo married two breeds of irresistible dance music: the kind of visceral, pedantic highlife hues that evoke an intense and metronomic swaying of the hips; and the kind of astral-abiding, technicolor madness that has neurons firing like rogue fireworks. It worked splendidly.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano followed soon after, playing his first live set with a four-piece band. With a more dense and immediate sound compared to that of his previous two-man, keys and drum set performances, Montano pushed the already tenuous limits drawn in the nooks and crannies of his real-time, simplistic strain of soul. On tracks like Keep On Running (never before played for a large audience), crystalline miasmas spewed forth from his mouth like a breakaway flange being snapped off a fire hydrant. Spencer Murphy adorned the collective sound with physically taxing, face-melting bass guitar; Jake Sherman re-joined the band after a brief hiatus, accenting the group with lucid jazz flourishes on the keyboard.
Gabriel Garzón-Montano’s Styles Upon Styles labelmates Archie Pelago followed their set. The electronic three-piece took to the stage barefoot and chillaxed, a cello and a tenor saxophone flanked to the sides of the trio. The inherent dynamism of the music they engage with, warbled and intrepid-feeling house music, interacted in strange and wonderful ways with the frenetic feel of their live improvised playing. Oftentimes, the space couldn’t accurately accommodate the fragile sound of their live instruments, but it left more room to embellish upon their dance-centric tendencies.
Cibo Matto was the last live act, and their performance was definitely the most compelling and difficult to describe of the day. Between shrill yelps and explosive, jerky rapping from lead vocalist Miho Hatori, the veteran backing band for Cibo Matto capitalized on all the kinetic energy with a gargantuan, tour de force of sound. It was beautiful, boisterous funk music tossed around and played with like a live hand grenade.
As the sun dipped low, the two resident Mister Saturday Night DJs, Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter, closed out the event with an hour-long set of wild, rampant, darkly-colored dance music.
Photos by Angel Eugenio Fraden.