Music quality at EMPAC notable

I had never experienced the Goodman Studio in the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center until I went to the Actress + Toxe electronic music show on Friday.

The studio itself was easily one of the highlights of the night—the sheer quality of the sound is enough to make pretty much anything hosted there worthwhile. To add to my list of firsts, I went in knowing practically nothing about either Tove Agélii or Darren Cunningham, known as Toxe and Actress, respectively. I had only read the EMPAC event description, and an interview with Toxe—who was 18 years old at the time—that was published in Fader in 2016. The interview can be read at http://poly.rpi.edu/s/whxo9.

Toxe opened, and I was instantly surprised by the extent to which I could feel everything. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In combination with the pyramid of moving light focused around her head, the atmosphere was the perfect compliment to her music. Her movements were methodical and focused. It took her 45 minutes to slip a smile and let herself dance a little, which I didn’t find to be a common theme among her other sets.

After an hour, Toxe finished, and the stage was set up for Actress. A silver mannequin wearing a jacket was placed behind a keyboard, with two large screens on either side. Actress was behind this display, barely visible to most of the audience.

While Actress’ repetitive style is not my favorite, his sets are usually high-energy enough to make up for it. This one, or at least the first half, felt kind of slow. It definitely picked up though, and this was reflected in the liveliness of the audience. His music is the kind that I would put on in the background while I do other things, but I wouldn’t feel compelled to listen to it live again.

I would highly recommend keeping an eye out for shows held in the Goodman Studio; it is definitely worth experiencing during your time at RPI.