FEATURE | Anamanaguchi (DJ Set) & Skylar Spence at U Street Music Hall (July 2, 10pm)
The birth of Anamanaguchi must have taken place in the middle of mankind’s greatest sugar high. The rosy-cheeked little thing came out of the womb, was slapped on the ass by the jovial delivering doctor and started laughing hysterically, blowing disco ball kisses in between its unprecedented fits of joyous rapture. The band, an instrumental electronic band from New York, was drawn to Nintendo game consoles, arcade games and all of the plinking and high-score sounds that were coming out of them, ringing in its ears like magical coos. It immediately set out to write punishing and inspired music that would comprise a mixtape that would be the chosen composition of the sky to accompany every plane jumper, skydiver and parachuter. It’s a little known fact that the second anyone takes a leap out of the open hatch of an airplane, thousands of feet above ground, for any recreational purpose whatsoever, the music of Anamanaguchi is suddenly blasting into the ears of those plummeting folks. It’s louder and more exhilarating that any of us down here on the safe ground could ever imagine and it’s a secret that those jumpers keep to themselves, having signed a binding Anamanguchi non-disclosure agreement before pulling the chute cord.
Skylar Spence is the continuation of Ryan DeRobertis’ Saint Pepsi project, which he started in late 2012. In the years since, he’s released a number of sample-y long-players full of slo-mo funk and boogie, and he rose to prominence as one of the more distinct voices associated with vaporwave corners of the Internet. Growing up listening to the likes of Duran Duran and Chic, 23-year-old DeRobertis had plenty of inspiration when he started Saint Pepsi as an Ableton exercise. And though he began writing music at age 13, he hadn’t tried writing his own song in the style of his favorite music until “Fall Harder,” which appears on Skylar Spence’s full-length debut, Prom King. After strengthening his skills as a producer with the Hit Vibes album, he began incorporating his own instruments and production flourishes into his work, first with the Gin City EP. Prom King distills DeRobertis’ sampling style into an idiosyncratic melody machine, introduced his own vocals to the mix, and adopted tighter disco and new wave song structures. It’s “pop music for freaks,” as DeRobertis has it—outlandish aesthetics filtered through his deft intuition.