Chicago-based Louis The Child performed on the Arts Quad on August 26, delivering a killer set that was meant to be enjoyed by all, from the frequent festival-goers to the unsung indie-listeners. The EDM duo, comprised of Freddy Kennett and Robby Hauldren, stand out from the slew of emerging EDM artists with their unique blend of tropical house instrumentals and futuristic bass synths. I first heard Louis the Child perform at a basement dance club in D.C. known for its patronage of obscure, underground DJs and indie bands. They had opened for Shawn Wasabi — another notable EDM button-masher — and blew me away with their remix of “Roses” by The Chainsmokers. At the time, I knew Louis the Child was a group to keep an eye on; their approach to EDM was so fresh and diverse that of course EDM-lovers all over America would realize their genius in the upcoming months. And I was right — I saw them in August 2015, when they were only 20 percent as popular as they are today (according to Google Trends), and since then they’ve performed at music festivals as large as Coachella and Governor’s Ball.
I can see why Cornell Concert Commission booked Louis the Child. Their use of synths and tropical backing beats comes together in a unified, laidback vibe — the perfect choice for a start-of-semester concert. Besides the oldies that they sampled — such as “Lip Gloss” by Lil’ Mama, “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” by LCD Soundsystem and “Good Morning” by Kanye West — I also recognized some of the newer tracks they remixed, including Zella Day’s “Compass,” “Genghis Khan” by Miike Snow, Kiesza’s “Hideaway,” the Branchez remix of “High You Are” and “Pillowtalk” by ZAYN, just to name a few. Their transitions are also worthy of note. Some of them were natural gradations of tempo, such as the segue from Rihanna’s “Work” to Beyoncé, while others were a little unnatural but provided a necessary and dynamic change of pace in the mix. I particularly appreciated Louis the Child’s pitch bending, voice fragmentation and horn distortion techniques. As an Ableton-user, I know just how hard it is to get the sound you want. Sometimes mangling a single sample to the point of originality can take days, and Louis the Child used a myriad of original instruments and sounds. Their metallic hi-hats and reed-flute-like tunes also added a homemade feel to their music: perhaps they record their own samples to get the authenticity that artificial samples sometimes lack. And of course they ended with their sensational original song, “It’s Strange,” a single that truly demonstrates their compositional creed and ability to create.
Amy Lin is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at [email protected].