Ryan Hemsworth to kick off ASUC SUPERB’s spring concert series


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Ryan Hemsworth is kicking off ASUC SUPERB’s spring 2016 lineup with a surprise show at Pauley Ballroom on Saturday.

For those unfamiliar with the Halifax-based producer and small-scale Internet icon, Hemsworth is, if nothing else, omnivorous — the musical equivalent of that one friend who “listens to all kinds of music” with the utmost sincerity.

Hemsworth’s brand of electronic music is inventive, emotive and oftentimes trailblazing. Through collaborations with artists ranging from hotly buzzed R&B princess Tinashe to beloved lo-fi songsmith Alex G to infamous diva Lana Del Rey, Hemsworth’s range is as on trend as often as it is trendsetting.

He hopscotches across genre boundaries, melding punk-pop guitars with trap hi-hats with animated eight-bit sounds — what’s remarkable is that it all seamlessly works. His productions are eclectic, certainly, yet he undeniably leaves his sonic fingerprint on any track he devises.

His latest release, 2015’s Taking Flight with the Seattle-based beatsmith Lucas, is reminiscent of old-fashioned ambient tracks, all calm and spaced-out noise. Yet he never wavers from his distinctive sound — flourishing drops and guitar licks shine through the droney soundscape he creates.

But his live sets are alchemic, deconstructing and shifting party bangers and low-key tunes in ways that are unexpected and stunningly joyous. His performances are subtle affairs, transcending the blaring and sometimes exhaustive bombast of the current EDM scene into a nuanced, emotionally resonant atmosphere.

Thus, he transforms any musical space he DJs into that is as welcoming as it is a blast. His vast array of mixes will have something for everyone — current Top 40 bangers mixed with indie-dance tunes and his own songs for fans. Rave kids, hip scenesters and folks just looking for a fun night out can all split the difference and, well, dance.

Ryan Hemsworth will be playing at Pauley Ballroom on Saturday. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. The show is for UC Berkeley students only. Cal IDs will be checked upon entry. No bags allowed.

Joshua Bote is the assistant arts & entertainment editor. Contact him at [email protected]. Tweet him at @joshuaboat.