Techno files

Hot Chip live, plus the return of the Orb  
By DAVID DAY  |  March 20, 2006

DIRTY MINDS: It's that beat that pervades all that is Hot Chip.By the time the four-man disco band take the stage at Great Scott, the crowd is so jammed into the Allston venue, you’d swear it was a Saturday night. But it’s a week ago Monday, and the fact that all these scruffy hipsters braved the cold for this early-in-the-week gig by Hot Chip attests to the power of persistence — and dedication. Hot Chip have been releasing material for more than six years now, but they’re only just breaking into the US. Their debut, Coming On Strong, finally came out here on DFA/Astralwerks in late 2005. The drummer has the flu, the tour manager’s late, but nothing’s keeping Hot Chip’s electro-funk grooves down tonight. The crowd hoots in hoodies and pogos in parkas.

Hot Chip are one of those special acts you almost regret telling friends about. Singer Alexis Taylor has a voice that lifts as much as it drives. Equipped with Casios, Arps, Moogs, and even a few guitars, the rest of the band stand with him in a row, unified in their quest for the groove. “For a long time when I was a kid, I hated house music,” admits Joe Goddard, the “beat master” who founded Hot Chip with Taylor, when we talk before the show. “I wasn’t a dance fan. But Daft Punk and the Basement Jaxx, they’re a little more song-based, aren’t they? It becomes a lot easier for an indie kid to get that . . . ”

This isn’t straight house by any means. Taylor’s vocals are more Dirty Mind than diva, but it’s that beat that pervades all that is Hot Chip. Live, positioned on the right, Goddard nods along to every programmed beat. Their mastery of groove has them on the short list for that staple of dance culture — the remix. They’ve left their mark on tracks by everyone from Conor “Bright Eyes” Oberst to Mancunian house wunderkind Brooks. They recently had a go at Jamie Lidell’s “Multiply,” generating one of the more compelling remixes of 2005. “Multiply (Hot Chip’s Mouth Remix)” splits Lidell’s vocals into stuttering beats and adds cathedral-like ambiance. Taylor and Goddard do the bulk of the remixing. But the others — Felix Martin and Al Doyle — have been getting involved too; they did the Lidell mix, and the four have begun to collaborate more often. Goddard notes, “It means we can spread our name around a little more and do different types of things.”

That hasn’t kept Hot Chip from their own work: they’ve already finished a new album and an EP to follow. “When we have a day off and can just sit in the hotel room and make a track — it’s wicked,” Goddard adds. “It’s just a laptop and a couple of our keyboards and whatever we want — it’s good fun.”

Hot Chip have also promoted their graphic designer to band member. Keyboardist/guitarist Owen Clarke was the group’s artistic eye before he started contributing his musical talents. “Increasingly it’s very hard to control your image,” Goddard explains. “We have EMI telling us you need to have this person or that person doing our videos . . . but Owen started off doing the artwork for the band.” It’s a visual ethic that recalls art-rock groups like Le Tigre and Talking Heads.

1  |  2  |   next >
Related: Hot Chip, Hot Chip | One Life Stand, DJ Kicks: Hot Chip, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Entertainment, Music, New Music Releases,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
More Information

Hot Chip, "Over and Over" (Windows Media Player)

1 | “Little Fluffy Clouds” | Big Life, 1990 | This all-time classic, best heard on this 12-inch vinyl mix, turned a Rickie Lee Jones reading into one of the most recognizable samples in history.

2 | U.F.Orb | Island, 1992 | The catchiest ambient tracks of all time. Paterson and KLF’s Alex Faulty combine free jazz, Jamaican dub, and Eno ambiance, with contributions from Jah Wobble and Steve Hillage. The 40-minute edit of “Blue Room” remains the longest single in UK history.

3 | U.F.Off: The Best of the Orb | Island, 1998 | A goodbye to Island, this two-CD set is a landmark remix album, with 24 mixes, edits, and live cuts including “Pomme Fritz,” “Perpetual Dawn,” “Toxygene,” and the dance mix of “A Huge Ever-Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the Universe.”

4 | Okie Okie It’s the Orb | Kompakt, 2005 | A return to form for Paterson’s innovations — with touring partner Thomas Fehlmann he lays down 14 delicate tracks of plonging beats, ambient pop, and schaffelhaus riddims.
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   DAY BY DAY BY DAY  |  September 18, 2007
    Two years ago, the Phoenix asked me to write a weekly column about Boston’s growing electronic music and DJ scene.
  •   THE DUFF CONNECTION  |  September 12, 2007
    “I really haven’t had to deal with any crazy paparazzi, since we usually keep a low profile and sneak in the back door of places.”
  •   BASSTOWN NIGHTS  |  September 12, 2007
    If 2006 was the year Boston germinated, 2007 is the year it grows up.
  •   PARTY PROS  |  September 06, 2007
    Weekend Warriors, or WKND WRYRZ, is the Sunday-night lounge party at ZuZu in Central Square.
  •   CITIZENS OF BASSTOWN  |  August 29, 2007
    The proliferation of dance parties in Boston has led not only to a rise in the number of DJs but also to a growth in the ranks of dancers.

 See all articles by: DAVID DAY