Giraffage reaching new heights 

click to enlarge Giraffage
  • With Friday’s show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco-based Giraffage is playing his biggest non-festival venue yet.
San Francisco’s breaking electronic music artist Giraffage is on a 45-stop tour supporting a new release on Fool’s Gold. And the thing the dude is most stoked about this time out?

A new fan.

“Usually I get pretty sweaty onstage,” says Charlie Yin, 25, on the phone from San Francisco International Airport. “This will definitely save my life in those hot venue situations.”

Sure, Yin has recorded with super-producer The Dream, and has a deal with A-Trak’s label, but he keeps things low-budget on tour, performing on laptop, Akai MPD32 and Launchpad. At home, he drives a hatchback that’s “in really bad shape” and lives in Lake Merced with his girlfriend, plus a cat and dog.

His other big splurge on this tour (opening for Porter Robinson and also featuring Lemaitre), which pulls into Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Friday, is a Nintendo Wii. He wants the new “Super Smash Bros.” the night it’s released. Maybe a die-hard fan will chuck a copy up on stage, we tell him (Hint, hint, America).

“That would be amazing,” he says. “That would be my new visuals. Me playing ‘Super Smash Bros.’ while simultaneously playing a set.”

Thing is — this could work.

His debut 2011 LP “Comfort” and 2013 mixtape “Needs” showcase a cerebral, bedroom side of Giraffage. On the new “No Reason,” the pulse of touring is paramount. The five-song EP could be licensed to Nintendo, or Apple. It’s Giraffage at his most original: bright and youthful, with synthetically pitch-shifted vocal cut-ups, and little stabs of iPhone alerts and synth melody.

Giraffage eschewed outside sampling to make an 100 percent original work for Fool’s Gold.

“Be With You” could soundtrack the jet ski race of anime school girls rolling on Ectasy. “Anxiety” conjures Flying Lotus with skitter-step 808s and sheets of neon synth. It’s glib and effervescent, yet displays mighty chops. Giraffage’s other big 2014 release — a remix of The Dream’s “Falsetto” — also is scary good.

A graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in political economics, Yin is self-taught on drums and guitar. As a high school junior in San Jose, he backed into sequencing through a program called TabIt. Though he’s on a Nov. 1 bill with Diplo, Yin says he’s still just “figuring things out.”

For example, the biggest piece of life-changing gear he used for “No Reason”?

“I got a microphone,” he says, glibly. “That was pretty integral.”



opening for Porter Robinson

Where: Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $39.50

Contact: (415) 624-8900,

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David Downs

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