Space Mom, Rezz, is my #1 act of 2017
Billboard recently dubbed Dance’s Breakout Artist of 2017 to REZZ, and I couldn’t agree more. I had the pleasure and opportunity to cover her Mass Manipulation World Tour this Saturday at the Playstation Theater in Time Square, New York City, New York, USA, North America, Planet Earth. It didn’t feel like planet earth; however, as I was sonically and visually transported to another dimension in time and space. Below is my Rezz discovery story, my transformation into a Rezzbian, my review of the events that took place last Saturday at Playstation Theater, and photos I took from her unforgettable performance.
In 2017, I’ve seen Rezz 4 times: Bonnaroo, Electric Zoo, Lost Lands, and last Saturday in New York City. I’d never heard of Rezz before Bonnaroo. I had a slew of friends adamantly tell me I should go see Rezz at Roo (Bonnaroo’s nickname) because “she’s incredible.” I typically know which friends to trust musically at this point, and these emphatic murmurs were coming from trusted sources.
— rBeatzRadio (@rBeatzRadio) June 11, 2017
I was blown away by the downtempo, experimental-bass music that was coming at around 100 BPMs (Beats Per Minute) or lower. I’d classify it as beautiful, trippy bass music from space for the masses. When I was younger, I loved dubstep; however, at the ripe age of 27, the 140 BPM intense energy drops can exhaust me. Rezz’ music kept those industrial sounds at a lower tempo, giving me the tonality and texture I always loved from dubstep at a lower speed and energy I could get behind.
I loved dubstep, also, because of how creative and crazy I could get with my whomping or headbanging as most would call it. I always called it whomping because that’s what dubstep sounds like. If you don’t know what whomping is, check the video below of a mom whomping. You can really get creative with it. It’s kind of like dancing to heavy metal with A LOT more moves. With Rezz’ music, I was still able to WHOMP, combining my two favorite elements of dubstep with the unavoidable passage of time. This is WHY I loved her music the first time my ears laid ground to the frequencies she was combining and arranging.
After Bonnaroo, I was hooked. When I got home, I read about her and listened to all her music. Standard operating procedure when you’re blown away. I found out she really blew up on deadmau5’s mau5trap label and was found early on by Skrillex. She released her first two EPs in 2016: The Silence is Deafening and Something Wrong Here (both released on mau5trap), and peaked at #19 on the Billboard Dance Charts late in 2016.
When I saw her at Electric Zoo, I spent the most time with my camera in my backpack dancing alone to her set. I couldn’t have been happier. This was her debut show on her Mass Manipulation World Tour.
I wanted to see her on the biggest stage with more lights and her accompanying visuals around her. Another aspect of Rezz’ show that is out of this world is her visual performance. There is an essence of hypnosis in the majority of her visuals; a perfect compliment to her sound. There is typically a lot of red and black spirals of different patterns that put listeners into a visual trance. Occasionally during her sets, there will be other Rezz animations there to mass manipulate. The more Rezz’ the merrier in my opinion.
— rBeatzRadio (@rBeatzRadio) September 2, 2017
Aside from the apparent tone of the above tweet, Rezz was still one of my favorite sets at Ezoo. I ended up buying her Snek T as my only merch purchase at Ezoo. Rezz’ merch was so popular, they only had one small left. I still wanted it, so I bought it and gave it to my girlfriend.
It glows in the dark, which is pretty cool if ya ask me.
Click HERE to get your OWN.
Lost Lands was more like it. It was another stop on her Mass Manipulation World Tour. Rezz did her THANG at a New York City festival; however, it’s like when you see a HUGE Great Dane in New York City. You think to yourself, “Dam, that dog is really limiting their potential in such a small area. I need to see it run free in a huge field.” Lost Lands gave me just that. The sound and visuals were everything I dreamed of, and she was in a prime-time slot. She started her set with her hit single, Relax, which provided the calming, hypnotic, spacey, weird, and exciting vibe that would carry through her entire set. I took the video below.
Rezzbians yelling, “SPACE MOM!” were out in full force. I felt weirdly at home in the middle of Ohio that night, finding so many people who were just as obsessed with Rezz as I was. After Lost Lands, I found out there’s a Facebook group called The Cult of Rezz, which I joined immediately after gaining that knowledge. I was enamored by the creative collaboration by the Rezz fans (or Rezzbians) participating in the group chat. There is a sense of respect and compassion in the group that’s been passed down by the group’s mother, Rezz. Click HERE to check the group out on Facebook.
After seeing her crush three festival stages, I was eager to catch her at a venue. I saw she was playing at Playstation Theater in my hometown of New York City, and thankfully rBeatzRadio has done enough to be able to get me access to such amazing shows.
I wrote a preview for the event, which you can read by clicking HERE, and I joined the Facebook event Cult Meet Up @ Playstation Theater to interact with my fellow Rezzbians before and at the show. In the preview, I revered Rezz’ storytelling techniques. Music is storytelling, and it takes another level of skill to do it so well with just sounds. A lot of her music doesn’t have lyrics.
I packed up my camera, and headed off to my 3rd iteration of Rezz’ Mass Manipulation World Tour. I headed straight to the bar when I got it, that’s where I saw Playstation Theater was serving a special Rezz drink. I didn’t get it because I like beer. I wondered, though, if this was her idea or not.
Mad Zach was one of Rezz’ openers. I thought he was a perfect warmup to Rezz’ more intense, higher-energy vibe. He loves experimenting with sounds, just like Rezz.
I interviewed Mad Zach earlier this year for the release of his EP, Fortress. I was impressed with his acute interest in sound design and experimentation. He’s also been taken interest by Ableton and Native Instruments, helping these music tech companies create unique sample packs that other producers can use in their music. Click HERE to read the full rBeatzRadio interview with Mad Zach.
— rBeatzRadio (@rBeatzRadio) December 19, 2017
Rezz agreed because, duh, she PICKED HIM, and she’s super involved with her fanbase. She makes it a point to really be there for her fans when she can, regularly replying back when you catch her attention. This is another aspect that makes Rezz great, and another reason that she was named Dance’s Breakout Artist of 2017 by Billboard. Rezz has truly built up an organic, engaged audience through the last couple of years. These fans are also super devoted to her cause because she’s there for them.
Couldn’t agree more !
— ᴿᵉᶻᶻ (@OfficialRezz) December 19, 2017
She started off with, Relax, which is such a good song to start with. As I said above, it sets the tone for the rest of the night, letting listeners know to throw all their anxieties away because this isn’t a scary bass performance, this is REZZ.
She eventually delved into an evil edit of Porter Robinson & Madeon’s Shelter, which is a favorite of mine because that vocal chop melody is super catchy and comforting, then the script is flipped, adding power and grit creating a stark contrast. The bass was so heavy, as you can see from the video taken below, thanks to Playstation Theater’s in-house sound system powered by JBL.
Rezz relies a lot on sub-bass in her song compositions. According to Google, sub-bass is “low-register pitched pitches approximately below 60 Hz and extending downward to include the lowest frequency humans can hear, assumed at about 20 Hz. In this range, human hearing is not very sensitive, so sounds in this range tend to be felt more than heard.” Therefore, her music is very much FELT. This also explains the movement of the phone, as it’s unable to hold still from the heavy sub-bass.
After the evil edit of Shelter, you can hear her going into probably her 2nd most popular song off Mass Manipulation, DRUGS! She obviously played most songs from the album since that’s what the tour was about!
One of my favorite drops was when she played Rage Against the Machine – Killing In The Name (Just A Tune Flip), bringing that heavy metal/ punk rock feel to a modern day electronic setting. Bringing back those old-school rock style vibes into a bass music setting is a fantastic way to change it up during sets. The nostalgia factor kicks in, where everyone in the audience remembers that old song, and goes crazy to its modern day spin. I loved this song, so I posted the Soundcloud embed below.
— rBeatzRadio (@rBeatzRadio) December 19, 2017
From time to times, Rezz would slow it down and play some noticeable vocals. At one point, playing her song with Laura Brehm, Melancholy from her Billboard chart topping Something Wrong Here EP. Rezz’ melodies are quite noticeable, creating a sense of uncertainty and anxiety. A lot of her songs don’t have lyrics; however, the storytelling in her songa speak to a contrast between confusion and power.
This drop also had my head spinning. Since Rezz has such a sinister vibe to her show, I decided to put this old-timey black and white filter over the video. I’m not sure what the song is and have been trying to find it ever since! Someone help ID!
Towards the end of her set, she played her new single with Isqa, Psycho.
Overall, Rezz has been my favorite artist to go see in 2017. She’s not only my current favorite up-and-coming artist. She is my #1 favorite artists at the moment for everything I described above. There are still tour dates for Rezz’ Mass Manipulation World Tour, so if you’re feeling the vibe and notice she’s playing in a city near you…
Photos from Rezz @ Playstation Theater