Fred again.. refreshed my morning

Man playing piano

The electronic musician Fred again.. did a Tiny Desk Concert. I know this because NPR uploaded it to YouTube about 7 hours before I wrote this. Chances are you would’ve heard of him through recent tours with Skrillex and Four Tet, and if so, you’d know him for his forceful electronic beats. That’s really not what you get on Tiny Desk Concerts though. Here’s a quote from the video description to help explain:

“When Fred again.. first proposed a Tiny Desk concert, it wasn’t immediately clear how he was going to make it work — not because he lacked creativity, but because translating purely electronic music at the Desk is a daunting task for anyone. How would an artist, whose performances take the form of DJ sets in front of massive audiences, curate an intimate and unique experience? But what the British songwriter and producer came up with is a reminder of what a Tiny Desk is at its best: an opportunity for artists to challenge themselves in such a way that it almost feels like they’re making new music, all while sticking to what feels true to them.”

Why am I sharing this? Because Fred’s performance was not what I was expecting. And that is refreshing. The artist I’ve seen usually making impressive electronica is here playing the instruments live — from soft intimate piano, to scraping a marimba with a violin bow. He sings, he bangs on the desk, and it all gets fed into his small electronic set up on the side where he occasionally bends and warps the sounds to remind us he is an electronic artist. In the background is a vertical screen that flashes up video of the people he has taken recorded samples from. I remember him saying in another interview he loves to use phone recordings of his friends, and thus names the songs after them.

As beautiful as it is, to be honest, it’s not the kind of music I usually listen to. I don’t know if I’ll watch the video again. But I am constantly on the lookout for new and interesting music being made out in the vast universe of the internet. Sometimes it can feel like you’ve seen it all, and forget what it is to be surprised. But this Fred again.. performance came unexpectedly into my morning and was a great reminder of just how cool it is to see an artist pushing themselves into new directions, and taking us along for the journey.

[ You can watch Fred again..’s NPR Tiny Desk Concert here: ]

Tagged in music, Creativity, What messes with your head