Balam Acab - Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Tue 9 Oct
Dreamy witch house/chillwave set struggles to hold audience's attention
Just 21-years-old, Ithaca, New York native Alec Koone has already delivered two deliciously transporting albums, awesome for wigging out to in your living room post-club. But as with so many anonymous hoodie-sporting young men, hunched over laptops and mixers making slow, dreamy, ghostly, wobbly-bass music – witch house being Balam Acab’s most oft-applied micro-genre designator, though chillwave would also do – how it’s going to work live seems to have been an afterthought. As such, this show is underpowered at best and dreary at worst.
Beats squelch, harps glisten and canned vocals chirrup what sounds like a drunk Kate Bush trapped down a well sucking helium, while artily-shot super-slo-mo videos of leaves and lakes – sloshing water samples run throughout Koones’ tunes – loop on a screen behind. It’s all incredibly pretty, but too weak and too damn quiet to fully excite the senses. A few nod along trance-like, a couple attempt some 60BPM dancing. Increasingly, the crowd just talk over the top of Koones’ set, evidencing his entire movement’s acute challenge to be respected as more than mere trendy background listening.