Arts, Music

Stwo Sends Audience Out of this World at House of Blues

The Space Between Tour made its way to Boston this week as Stwo and Majid Jordan put on stellar performances for a packed House of Blues crowd. Stwo is a 25-year-old Parisian producer who recently worked with Drake on his album Views, specifically the track “Weston Road Flows.” His opening set warmed the audience up for Majid Jordan, the Canadian R&B duo who are most famous for their collaboration with Drake on his 2013 hit “Hold on We’re Going Home.”

Positioned above the audience with a simple setup, Stwo created a relaxing musical environment that the crowd appreciated. The music wasn’t mosh-inducing like Fetty Wap the night before—rather, Stwo’s airy sound allowed the listener to enjoy the music without feeling overwhelmed. It was the type of music that seemed fit for a laidback club or lounge, where one could maintain a conversation while Stwo maintained the music in the background.

Listening to the music, the connection that permeated Stwo’s set was striking. It felt like a dream, with one song flowing into the next, linked with an airy, spacy sound underlying the unique beats. Throughout his set, Stwo made use of a thumping bass, a musical feature that was especially noticeable the closer one got to the heavy-duty speakers positioned on stage. A fitting name of Stwo’s signature style of music would be space trap: During the performance, he treated the audience to short bursts of trap-like beats with space-y undertones. Eventually, some 20 or 30 seconds later, the beat would dissolve and return to airiness and ambient sounds. It was incredible to hear how Stwo allowed his songs to breathe. In doing so, he demonstrated a masterful ability to respect the spatial boundaries of the song, resisting the urge to clutter the beat with too much sound. This practice allowed the music to exist naturally.

Stwo opened his set with “Haunted,” a song with eerie vocals from Sevdaliza, an Iranian-Dutch singer, songwriter, and producer. The bass in the song is extremely powerful, perhaps accentuated by the fact that the song is comprised of a few recurring sounds that mostly sit behind the beat and vocals. When the bass came in, audience members were blown away as the sound materialized from nowhere. A nearby fan was so moved as to comment that the bass was so powerful it felt like he was losing brain cells.

One of the songs that stood out most in his set was “Neither Do I,” which featured vocals from Jeremih, an American singer, songwriter, and record-producer. Jeremih asks “Do you know what it feels like to fall in love?” and promptly responds to himself: “Neither do I, I say we find out.” As the producer, Stwo whipped up a killer trap beat, chock full of artfully-placed hi-hats for the chorus. True to his style, as the beat approaches a faster pace, it dissolves and gives Jeremih space to tell his R&B love story in the verses. It ends with the bell-sounding chord progression that links the song, bouncing between trap and space. With its catchy chorus highlighted by Jeremih’s vocals and Stwo’s complementary and subtle beat, this song is a hit.

The show at the House of Blues was a great start to the tour. Majid Jordan brought a ton of energy to their set, and the crowd had a great time. As Stwo continues to tour with Majid Jordan and gets more exposure, the artist can only become more recognized for his talent. This tour provides Stwo with a great opportunity to build his fanbase in America from the audience members who see him open for Majid Jordan. His relaxed musical style and the ability and restraint he possesses that allows his music to breathe are impressive characteristics of the artist—characteristics that separate him from other producers. The seamless transitions between his songs and their lack of discernible beginnings or ends make Stwo stand out to audiences.

The crowd only applauded Stwo once. Normally, this would be the mark of a poor performance, but in this case it is to Stwo’s credit. Only at the end of the set did the crowd applaud—not for an individual song, but for the collective musical journey that Stwo guided the audience through.

Featured Image by Tiger Tao / Heights Staff

January 22, 2018

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