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LA’s Pharoahs are one of the best live acts I’ve seen in the city in a hot minute. Boasting a handful of extremely talented local dudes, Pharoahs create trance inducing swirling synth, epic tribal house jams…with an emphasis on jam.

Comprised of wunderkind producer Suzanne Kraft, Ale Cohen (of dublab,) synth-surfer Sam Cooper, Andres on live percussion, and this super awesome big dude on baritone sax, Pharoahs sound spectacular on vinyl.

Their latest EP, Island Time, is out now on ESP Institute. But where they really shine is the live setting. Playing electronic music live is a real art, as synchronizing preset loops and triggers can be either pitch perfect or a perfect endless train-wreck. Keeping everything in time is essential, and these dudes have it down to such a science that at points you see them pushing the edges and jamming live at points. When they start jamming, (I’m talking like “jam band” vibes here) things get really interesting, because it’s a remarkably risky tightrope act that threatens the integrity of the entire show.

It’s this live aspect that gives them an organic, analog feel that’s rare in dance music. Most electronic shows are so pre-programmed and pre-produced that the visuals synch up with the performance perfectly. Sure, it’s a spectacle, but frankly I generally find that lack of risk in electronic shows rather uninteresting. Thankfully, Pharoahs are shaking things up and actually “playing” live.

In the way that local artists Poolside refigured disco for the afternoon patio setting, Pharoahs are refiguring the beachy drum circle as a warehouse party. Island Time is seriously ravey, apocalyptic fun and if the opportunity to see them perform it live arises, do.

(Editor’s Note: the band is headed to NYC for a couple dates but keep an eye out here for further show announcements!)

[ESP014] PHARAOHS – Island Time (snippets) by ESP Institute

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