Mix maestro Cyril Hahn is far from a one-trick-pony producer. Climbing to fame with his hypnotic rework of Destiny’s Child’s Say My Name, the Bern-born DJ has garnered millions of plays on YouTube and half a mill SoundCloud devotees — and with good reason.
Signed to renowned dance label PMR records, Hahn incredibly harnesses the integrity of pop songs, yet injects each track with an undercurrent of infectious deep house. Interview Magazine hailed his music as “something new and undeniably sexy” — which it is — but unfortunately, his near sold out gig at Sydney’s Max Watts was underwhelming to say the least.
With three EPs to pull from and an endless list of bangin’ remixes, Hahn surprisingly kicked his set off with one of his most regonisable (and fucking amazing) mixes, Say My Name. Casually clad in light denim jeans and a black tee, Hahn nailed the remix and pumped the crowd up without actually doing much at all. His popular remix of Solange’s Losing You swiftly followed, building momentum for what seemed like a promising night, but it all went down hill from there.
For practically an hour following his opening track, Hahn tediously mixed somber songs while the munted crowd swayed in unison, eyes wide shut. There were no lights, no strobes, no audiovisuals, no nothing. Similarly to Jamie xx, Hahn’s live set unmatched his recorded creative genius.
In an interview with Attack Magazine a few years ago, Hahn credited Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (aka Will Oldham) as one of his biggest influences, saying that Oldham made him realise that “95 per cent of what makes a song is the emotion you put into it”. That’s great and all, but that ’emotion’ needs to translate to his live set; emotion was one of the biggest things lacking in his Sydney show. Compared to his PMR counterpart Disclosure or local legend Flume, Hahn’s live set fell incredibly short of a memorable night out.
Toward the end of his hour-and-a-half set, Hahn played a couple of tracks from his latest EP, Begin, and the crowd ate it up. Last featuring Joel Ford was a Balearic eargasm forcing punters to dance with ballistic abandonment. It seemed as though the crowd was hungry for Hahn’s original tracks, but they were few and far between. For someone who’s extremely talented and universally recognised, his gig was repetitive, unimaginative and tiresome.
Wrapping things up well past Sydney’s curfew, I sadly left uninspired and disappointed, reminiscing about how awesome American support act Chrome Sparks was. Hahn will of course remain on my playlist for years to come, but for someone who produces euphoric ambient electronica, his live set left some fans less euphoric and a little more deflated. Sorry Cyril.
Cyril Hahn performs in Melbourne and Perth in March.