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Intensive: October at EMPAC

On October 4, EMPAC is having what’s essentially their fall festival. The Intensive is showcasing four performances in a single day from their artist-in-residence program. These pieces include a band in a mirrored box, a talking car, a performance on a moving bus and a solo performance from Mick Barr.

Again, if you haven’t been to EMPAC recently, or ever, just pick one of these and go. It’s always awesome.

Check out the official descriptions on the event page and head over to EMPAC on the 10th to enjoy the performances.

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Tonight: Woodside Pecha Kucha

Tonight at CAC Woodside the latest installment of the Capital Region Pecha Kucha.

Pecha Kucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps — just about anything, really. Pecha Kucha 20×20 is a simple format where each presenter shows 20 images which they discuss for 20 seconds each.

These talks are a lot of fun, and with a bunch of presenters you can learn about a variety of topics in a night. And if something doesn’t interest you, it’s just a few minutes until the next presenter is on stage.

Find out about the presenters on the event page, and go enjoy the talks tonight!

Photo: Andrew Franciosa

Laurel Halo at EMPAC: Recap

This past Friday, upstate New York was gifted with another performance from an artist proudly of the Hyperdub roster. Laurel Halo is a brilliant producer and live electronic musician whose music gets you thinking as much you get lost in it.

I first saw Laurel Halo at TURRBOTAX®, a monthly club night in New York City that had first exposed me to some of my now-favorite producers over the past several years. In the city, it was a fully loaded dance set packed with the purest techno (read: actual techno) imaginable. Her performance at EMPAC on Friday was the complete opposite. Halo’s set was full of heavy, mysterious synths and samples that built towards one direction, and then shifted into a completely different, but not so distant direction. It was difficult to catch the rhythm or nod along but that seemed to be the clear intention of the artist.

Her set was a curious presentation of sound, as opposed to being engineered for a dance club setting like I had experienced in the past, and was somewhat expecting. I’d almost consider this set to be a total tease, knowing the type of music I’ve heard her capable of creating in the past. I enjoyed her performance with my eyes closed and my thoughts drifting, while seated in the venue’s main concert hall. There’s something to be said of being able to sit down to watch an artist with Halo’s talent and unique approach to sound. It was truly something different.

Halo’s music is meditative and pensive, while also aggressive, sharp, complicated and simple, all at once. It was all about the build with Halo controlling chaos and creating intricate patterns that seemed both illogical and perfectly on point. Whatever Halo is doing seriously works for her, as Friday’s performance had us all completely captivated.

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Troy Restaurant Week starts today

Troy Restaurant Week kicks off today, and features different menu items between $5 and $30 in $5 increments. $5 will get you select lunch items, $10 will get you entress, $20 gets you into dinner territory and $30 gets you big dinners to share.

Check the restaurant week price and food list and be sure to check out the videos Erin Pihlaja had created in support of Troy Restaurant Week.

Grab a friend and go try a new restaurant over in Troy!

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Sean Rowe ‘Madman’

Local hunter-gatherer turned world traveling song-man Sean Rowe has a new album out, and will be performing locally in support of his new album.

The new album is called Madman, and is available via iTunes.

Tickets are currently on sale for Rowe’s local show, which will be at CAC Woodside on Friday October 3. There will also be a pre-show reception with artwork from Scott Ackerman as well as food and drinks, which you can buy a ticket for as well.

Check out the video for Desiree and a short interview with Sean Rowe over on GQ.

Kode9 at EMPAC: Recap

Last night at EMPAC, Kode9 showcased that he is a humble performer. The iconic DJ and producer has been influencing the electronic music scene since the early 90s, and it was a truly special occasion that he was able to share his sounds with us on the absolute best sound system in upstate New York.

Kode9, known for founding the record label Hyperdub, started the evening off with a series of experimental works and slowly built into his signature styles. Throughout the night, a heavy fog filtered through the dance floor and at times even reached the knees of those in the audience, completely burying the floor and what lies beneath, providing a cool atmosphere to get lost in the music.

With such mastery of the lower, deeper end bass frequencies, Kode9 proved that he is more than worthy of having control over EMPAC’s epic sound system. Any other venue would have been a sub-par system for what Kode9’s sounds are capable of. Normally, one would have to travel three hours to a major city to be able to experience bass music that you can feel from your feet all the way up to your nose hairs, so needless to say it was a blessing to have this opportunity locally.

Kode9’s sound ranged from experimental soundscapes to jungle to footwork, including a footwork edit of “On Sight” from Kanye’s Yeezus and Biggie’s track “Dead Wrong,” among many other DJ Rashad tunes. Kode9 is an intelligent performer and kept control over the audience with seeming ease for a full two and a half hours. No gimmicks, no yelling into a microphone, no visuals – just pure, unfiltered sound that forced even the hesitant ones to dance. Needless to say, it was absolutely fantastic.

If you have never been to an event at EMPAC, simply go to the next one that your schedule will allow, regardless of if you have heard of the performer or not. For example, this Friday, EMPAC will host Laurel Halo, also from the Hyperdub family, as part of celebrating the label’s 10th year.

Doug Bartow at Create Upstate 2014: You Can Do World-Class Design Work In UPSTNY

Create Upstate, the Syracuse-based design conference that took place in May just published a video of Doug Bartow’s talk. Doug is both Principal and Design Director at id29 in Troy. If you’re unfamiliar with id29, they have clients such as Albany Distilling, Brown’s Brewing, Firefly Bicycles and many more.

Doug’s talk focuses on the design ecosystem in our area, and how it’s possible to do good meaningful work here. In the talk there’s some firms that I wasn’t aware of, some that I knew but didn’t know their work, and some that were just nice to see again.

Click play, sit back and enjoy.