In his short story, “The Destructors”, Graham Greene writes, “They worked with the seriousness of creators, and destruction, after all, is a form of creation.” I’d be hard pressed to find a better example of Alex Ridha’s philosophy when it comes to dance music. So much of the meaning in his production is located in the chaos of sound. This philosophy was in full effect Saturday night when Alex Ridha, the Berlin based techno technician better know as Boys Noize, provided those in attendance at the sold-out Palladium in Hollywood a glimpse into what the future of dance music looks like. He conducted this business in the cockpit of a giant silver skull with massive LED’s shooting beams of high intensity light from the eye sockets. The skull design was a collaborative effort between him and Siriusmo, the famous graffiti artist. “We sat down a long time ago and created a lot of visuals that I control from my end,” Ridha told Mixmag in November of this year. “It’s inspired by the way that Kraftwerk use visuals so it’s more minimal and really reacts to the music I play.” To some, it may have been a show gimmick, but to me it added credibility. If anyone was going to warp me into the world of techno transcendence, it ought to be Boys Noize. And it ought to be done while standing in the brain case of a giant metallic skull.
Within the first few moments of the set, a discernable energy shot through the crowd. Ridha is one of the few producers who can safely take most of the year off from touring to work in his studio. Conventional wisdom holds that every moment a DJ isn’t visible, they’re losing would-be fans. Ridha’s mythology only builds in absentia. When people talk about Boys Noize, they regard him as a standard bearer whose every move is the result of unseen but unimaginably powerful forces grinding against each other. On Saturday night, Ridha’s hype count was through the roof, and as we waited on the dance floor between UZ’s mind blowing Trap set and Boys Noize to start, everyone seemed as giddy as schoolgirls at a pep rally.
There was something else, too. This tour was billed as a live show. He made sense of this seemingly obvious phenomenon to Spin Magazine recently, saying that unlike most DJ sets, he will be playing all his own music. “At festivals, I do play my own stuff, and I have multiple CDJs to be able to play stems of my tracks, so my DJ sets do have a live element as well,” he explains. “But this time it’s really a full show with just my own music plans.” Each show, then, has the potential to be entirely unique and different from any other on the tour.
Adding to the hype is Boys Noize recently released Album Out Of The Black. This collection of gems includes “What You Want”, “XTC”, “Missle”, “Reality”, and “Stop”, all of which he played by stripping them down to the stems and piecing them back together like a complicated set of legos. The crowd all but melted into puddles on the floor, and those that didn’t reached for the stage, hoping to physically capture with their hands the otherworldly sounds pumping from the Palladium’s superior sound system. And about those sounds: “I get bored really easily with sounds,” Ridha writes on his Boys Noize Records website. “The exciting part for me is trying to come up with new sounds, putting new sounds in a new dress. I’m sound obsessed. I buy a lot of machines and synths, and I’m always looking for a way to destroy sounds in an unconventional way.” Maybe it’s in the destruction that we find so much joy, because we know that once something is destroyed it can be rebuilt into something better. At the Palladium on Saturday night, Boys Noize brought the bricks and the crowd brought the mortar.