One of The City’s best music venues, Bottom of the Hill, offers a night of rising experimental electronic-music producers Friday with Chicago’s Mister Lies, supported by the Bay Area's Giraffage and Some Ember.
Suitable for fans of Massive Attack, Aphex Twin, Flying Lotus, Bonobo or Baths, Mister Lies is the pseudonym of 20-year-old dramatic writing undergraduate Nick Zanca, who releases his debut LP “Mowgli” on Lefse Records on Feb. 26.
Zanca is on a small West Coast tour this winter, visiting San Francisco for the second time in his short career. His May visit supporting Tycho was a plum gig for a new kid, Zanca says on the phone, during a break from studying for a genetics final.
“It’s kind of hilarious to think my first gigs were with a name that big and I was playing those kind of rooms,” he said. “It was a really awesome show.”
Born in Washington, D.C., and raised in suburban Connecticut, Zanca is classically trained and can play about nine instruments passably, he says. A fan of Warp records, Aphex Twin and Flying Lotus in high school, he played in a pop-punk band before moving to Illinois for school at Columbia College Chicago.
He started producing in 2010, taking the name Mister Lies from a Tony Kushner play “Angels in America.” So far, the young artist has been crafting late-night, down-tempo, chill-out music.
The Mister Lies track “I Walk” featuring Jessica Blanchet is quite melodic, sensual and chic. Debut 2012 EPs “Hidden Neighbors” and “Collaborative Mass” found fans at The Fader, Pitchfork and XLR8R.
The gifted producer’s life is now speeding up, and so is his music. “Mowgli” was recorded in the Zanca family’s country house in rural Vermont in the summer 2012, often after mornings kayaking.
“Mowgli” is Zanca “film-scoring the environment around me,” he says. “This is probably the most big, gargantuan sound, the most tribal, feral stuff that I’ve done.”
Zanca will be doing an all-original set live on laptop and controller with vocal manipulations Friday. The energy in the “Mowgli” material should suit a live audience, he adds.
“It’s not me singing over tracks, it’s more experimental and atmospheric, a little more Sigur Ros than the average vocalist,” he says. “My hope is to get people to move.”