Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

December 16-22, 2004


Duran Duran Duran

DEAD BEATS: "Electronic sets are usually completely insufferable to watch," says Flis.

For a second there, it looked like a Slayer show: a stormy sea of flailing fists and oafish fools doing barrel rolls. But the method to this madness is not off-key vocals and out-of-tune guitars. It's basslines and beats with the thump/thwack quotient of a meat tenderizer, triggered from the sticker-encrusted laptop of Duran Duran Duran's Ed Flis.

"Electronic sets are usually completely insufferable to watch," says Flis, who lives in Frankford. "While I think the music should speak for itself, it's more than music that fuels a good live show."

In the case of Duran-to-the-third-power, shows are fueled by Flis' own expressive display of headbanging, tongue-wagging and pumping devil horns. Last month, he was a hit at the third Philadelphia Laptop Battle. The judges gave him second place but the audience was noticeably in favor of Flis' breakcore sound.

"Breakcore was a punk-rock reaction to the snobbery that enveloped drum 'n' bass in the mid- to late '90s in Europe," Flis explains. "For me, it's the most exciting form of music because it's the fastest and least repetitive. I really love hardcore techno and gabber, but a lot of it is really masturbatory."

The same argument can be made about IDM, the "intelligent" approach to dance music that often places an emphasis on the technical intricacy of a track rather than its visceral appeal. Flis says he enjoys IDM, but understands why people might want something to dance to when the headphones are off and they're in a dingy club like Silk City. Hence the infectious breakcore of Duran Duran Duran's Very Pleasure LP (out Jan. 24 on Cock Rock Disco), which runs hip-hop, rock and ragga through a circuit board of jacked BPMs and overt effects.

"Ultimately no one really gives a shit what you're doing behind your gear," Flis says. "They just want to see you freak out, get naked or puke on things."

Counter Culture: A Night of Experimental Electronics, featuring Duran Duran Duran, Synth-Etik, Xanopticon, Totakeke, Lichtswitch, Kallisti and Nicosia Nephente, Thu., Dec. 16, 9:30 p.m., $5, Silk City, Fifth and Spring Garden sts., 215-592-8838.

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