Tom Krell aka HTDW has some problems in Germany, apparently. His innovative and critically acclaimed experimental R&B sounds perhaps doesn’t have a big tradition over here, but it was a shame that his gig in the small Bi Nuu venue did not sell out, not even halfway. But his music calls for intimacy, so the place was well chosen and the size of the crowd did give the show an exclusive feel.
HTDW was supported by a local act, a young woman from Hamburg calling herself Tellavision. Fee Kürten, as is her – awesome – real name, is an experimental lo-fi looping artist and her music did strike a chord with me. It was the clash of appearance and sound that fascinated at first, her standing up there in a simple dress and cute smile, but building intense soundscapes out of guitar lines, improvised tin can drums and synthetic beats, and using her voice as an instrument too. Sometimes screaming, sometimes singing, her set was a diverse and challenging listen, but captivating till the end. On a few occasions she didn’t get out of her songs very elegantly, but that only helped to further the DIY effect of the music. She already has two EPs out on her Bandcamp page.
Krell then played quite a short set, but you couldn’t really blame him. The audience obviously wasn’t used to R&B, but more of the intellectual indie crowd, taking the music in with their heads rather than their their hips. What I mean to say is, they didn’t move a lot and waited politely till the very end of each song to applaud. The applause was big and warm, but the “classical” attitude towards the absorption of music left Tom a bit baffled at times, it seemed. Plus, he was complaining about it being too smoky, and then the video installation stopped working halfway through. But his greatest asset – his voice – didn’t leave him hanging, and in those moments where he did focus on it exclusively, sometimes not even using the microphones in front of him, the magic got through. All said and done it was a Monday evening event – nice and cozy, but not much more I am afraid.
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