Gig Seeker Pro


Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada




"Two 808s and a Microphone"

"This sh*t is live!" Versatile T-dot producer dishes out improvised up-tempo electronica mayhem. by Andrew Clark

I laugh out loud as I walk into the back room of Clinton’s on Bloor Street West. Jason Prine is making mid-air scratching motions over what are obviously drum machines. Nobody’s fooled, I think to myself. This is Milli Vanilli-style turntablism! Nonetheless, the beats do kick ass. I move in closer to check out what exactly is going on onstage.

Oops, I soon discover that the fool is me! As it turns out, each of Prine’s twin Roland SP-808 samplers is equipped with an infrared D-Beam Controller. His hand gestures above the machines are, in fact, controlling real-time audio effects. Lucky for me, it’s loud enough in here that no one has heard my little outburst of mirth, so I don’t have to duck out of the club in embarrassment. It isn’t long before I’m thanking my stars I stayed.

Don’t get me wrong; it isn’t the "spectacle" element of the show that has me riveted. There really isn’t much to watch here. There’s no charismatic "rock star" magnetism commanding the stage and the room. Instead, watching Jason Prine tweak knobs and push buttons on his techno machines is very much like watching the DJ booth at an all-night warehouse party. Why bother? The real show is on the dance floor.

Which is the way Prine wants it. Like a traditional DJ, his role is to keep the party jumping, to read the mood of the room, and to toy with the expectations of the dancers. But unlike traditional DJs, Jason Prine is not cueing up pre-composed music.

"I used to bring a microphone into the booth and yell out, ‘This shit is live!’ every once in a while," says Prine, "just so people would know that I wasn’t just up there spinning records." In fact, there are no turntables ( or CD players! ) on stage at all. Prine’s set is entirely improvised, based on a few ZIP disks full of samples and loops.

It’s hard to believe that Prine is just making this stuff up as he goes along, because the end result is so damned tight. His improvised arrangements, textures, and structures are just as cohesive and intuitive as one would expect from an expertly produced studio album. In English: Prine’s purely improvised music sounds better than most CDs.

At the same time, there’s an extra frenetic energy and dynamism to the set. While the tunes progress logically under Prine’s expert guidance, the structures change fast. Prine takes his audience on a wild ride that defies description. I can only compare it to ( Beastie Boys’ ) Mixmaster Mike’s frantic solo turntablist gigs. If that doesn’t help, get off ya couch and check Jason Prine out live, yo! - Silvershard.com


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