By Cory Kibler
There are many sides to Darren Keen. Those who are unfamiliar with his live act are often alarmed, yet fascinated. Those who have followed his musical trajectory have witnessed his undying dedication to a unique aesthetic. Keen's aesthetic is not a narrow one, however; listening to one of Keen's musical monikers means letting go of any expectations.
The Show is the Rainbow, Keen's most popular project, is a frenzied in-your-face rap/dance/electronic act that is best experienced live. He shows his gentler, creepier side with Darren Keen, which is his solo guitar-based music. He's also created electronic dance music under the name Bad Speler. Bad Speler, which isn't anything like popular electronic acts like Deadmau5 or Pretty Lights, can be called schizophrenic, restless, startling, etc. Just as a hurried groove becomes thematic, Darren's on to the next self-produced beat, already bored with anything that's too straightforward.
Touch People, the newest of Keen's acts, is already starting a ruckus. His debut LP, Show Me Your Dimensions, was officially released on October 25th on the Illegal Art imprint (most notably the home of Girl Talk). Like all of his musical ventures, it is anything but predictable. Unlike most of his acts, it's what some might call "down-tempo." Whereas The Show is the Rainbow and Bad Speler feel like unnerving and exhilarating carnival rides, Touch People takes its time.
That might be a little misleading; Show Me Your Dimensions is sometimes jittery and always unconventional. But throughout the record, Keen allows his beats to build and grow, taking on layers as they culminate. There are also discernible themes that go on for some time, allowing for a more-standard "hook." But it's Keen's MO to never let anything get too standard.
To celebrate the release of Show Me Your Dimensions (as well as a companion EP, Sound Expression), Keen is throwing a Halloween party on Monday, October 31st at the Bourbon Theatre (1415 O Street). Performing alongside Touch People will be local favorites UUVVWWZ, Machete Archive, Bassthoven, and The Outerspacemen. The front room will also feature DJ sets curated by DJ Blac.
If you want to get freaked out by a large shirtless red-haired man in a packed room full of costumed weirdos this Halloween, the Bourbon Theatre is the place to be Halloween Eve.