Live: Astrea Corporation at Green Room, September 8

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Astrea Corporation
The Green Room, Fort Lauderdale
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Better than: Climbing the corporate ladder.

Science fiction guru Isaac Asimov once said: "If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster." Lake Worth electronic music duo Astrea Corporation would probably spend that last six minutes at the consoles perfecting another beat. During the group's intergalactic planetary set at Green Room's Digital Love party Thursday

evening, a wellspring of fear and enchantment directed at the future

came out of the speakers.

Dread-locked beatsmith Mike Astrea held down the center of a table lined with various tools aimed at synthesizing the sounds of the great beyond. About half a pack of cigarettes passed in and out of his lips during the 30-or-so minutes he spent on stage commanding a mixture of hip-hop, trip-hop, dubstep, and 50 steps in a language mere mortals can't understand. Furiously working MPC drum pads at his right was Sandor Davidson, a percussive dynamo known from his days with Miami soul outfit Ketchy Shuby. And to his right, a well-coiffed, high-as-hell heeled Carly Astrea worked a tiny section of stage with the emotion-laden poise of a jazz singer.

This three-person production team spent almost zero time doing anything other than driving the twitching, thudding beats into the hearts of an audience filled with fellow musicians and supporters that overlap with a mysterious local collective called the Black Locust Society. One such cohort, a Michael Jordan jersey-wearing Protoman, hopped onstage to join them for "Sign Your Life," an industrial-tinged song with a hint of future-shock Dr. Octagon's madness thrown in.

By "Third String Asimov," Carly Astrea was completely locked into an emotional warfare with the air around her, and eventually she'll need to break away from the table to let all of it out onstage. With aching Badu-isms in her delivery, she provided a wellspring of raw humanity to balance out the roars and bleeps of the electronics beside her. Later, "Wrong Foot" had her vamping into a Shirley Bassey mood to a sharp backing track fit for a apocolyptic James Bond flick. Davidson took this opportunity to double, and then triple his speed on the drum pads with blinding results.

Science fiction as music has been going on as long as there have been

synthesizer keyboards, and possibly longer. By the instrumental conclusion of

Astrea Corporation's set, those in attendance could carry out a tiny piece of what could eventually grow into a whole universe of dark majesty for this burgeoning group. 

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Bring back late-'90s trip-hop! Nicki Minaj having a song called "Massive Attack" is not enough.

The crowd: There were a lot of Black Locust Society tattoos in the building.

Set List
Buck Phaser
Sign Your Life (with Protoman)
Range Scope
Third String Asimov
Wrong Foot

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