“I couldn’t think of anything more boring than watching a man slowly turn a knob,” is how Kid Koala explained the rationale for his interactive Satellite concert series to a capacity crowd huddled around turntable stations and colour-coded 7-inch records at the Phi Centre last February.
Those who’d long fantasized about channeling their inner Grandmaster Flash, Mix Master Mike or, well, Kid Koala, got their dilettante DJ dream handed to them on a silver platter (one outfitted with an effects pedal) thanks to the Kid’s truly one-of-a-kind, collaborative live experience.
Taking Music To Draw To: Satellite, his just-released downtempo concept album as a potent starting point, Kid Koala was joined onstage by chemical puppeteer Karina Bleau and unassuming maestro Félix Boisvert, who set the tone for an unforgettable night that provided attendees more than a mere window into the mind of an insatiable creator.
Inspired by news of a solo mission to Mars that would have split up a relationship, Kid Koala’s Satellite album served as a gorgeously moody pretext for audience members to chime in on. Whether scratching, stabbing, trading bars or otherwise manipulating the records as recommended, each show resulted in an altogether unique—and uniquely moving—symphony of intergalactic resonances.
A veritable poster child for multidisciplinary art-making, Kid Koala’s inspirations stretch from introspective Montreal winters to the profoundly personal “life stuff”, as he calls it, that finds its way into his singular sounds.
An ineffable addition to the Koala repertoire, the Satellite concerts serve as apt reminders why labels can be so limiting. In this case, producer/composer/graphic novelist/turntablist/big-hearted human Kid Koala didn’t merely let patrons peek into his creative playpen. He invited them to step inside, at first holding them by the hand, until the training wheels came off near the finale and the Kid trusted his new collaborators to share in a moment of pure, guilt-free, joint creativity.
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Text by Michael-Oliver Harding
Photo credit: Sandra Larochelle