by David Downs
Some of the sickest, most twisted, and broken beats in the country emanated from SXSW Wednesday. San Francisco producer Eprom shredded ears inside the subterranean venue Barcelona, using just an Akai MPC and a MacBook. The MPC is a staple instrument in hip-hop and electronic music, a big boxy bank of buttons that producers tap like an oversized keyboard. Each button fires a preset sample when pressed, allowing users to improvise all types of live mixes. Eprom is computer jargon for “erasable programmable read only memory,” putting the young artist clearly inside the experimental electronic camp, manipulating slow beats bleeped and blooped beyond repair, oscillating through cacophony to complex harmony and back. Eprom pulled top billing at the Bay Area-dominated Surefire Records showcase and he clearly earned it, setting up the night for epic performances across town by San Francisco producer Eskmo and evening wunderkind Flying Lotus — the Los Angeles dynamo who'll open for Thom Yorke's Atoms for Peace at the Fox Theater in April. All of these acts demand a serious look.