Lake Tahoe-based musician Charles Elias Ingalls, performing as CharlestheFirst, draws inspiration from what might seem like a contradictory place for an electronic musician: the natural world.
CharlestheFirst’s latest, a six-song EP called No Dimmer, metabolizes the beauty of the western U.S. into electronic music, mixing field recordings with bass, hip hop, dubstep and experimental electronic dance music, or EDM.
There’s an introspective quality to the sound, especially when compared to other music in the EDM style — a comedown, or perhaps the difference between forcing your place in the world and taking the time to examine your role within it.
A love for hip hop is what initially brought CharlestheFirst to music. He wanted to be a rapper, writing poetry from a very young age, and storytelling is still a priority for him.
His music is mostly instrumental, though, and when it does feature vocals, they’re processed nearly beyond recognition.
The bones of hip hop still prop up the music, such as on the song “No Dimmer (ft. Chynna).” Elsewhere, “Room to Breathe” is dark and minimal, prowling around the sinister edge of the blues.
In the song, catch the ghost of a Hammond B3 as it emerges before quickly submerging again in synthetic tones and a kind of ripped-up, collaged sense of tempo. It’s engaging, while also keeping its distance, a car cruising slowly up an avenue at night, telling a story through what it withholds as much through what it illuminates.
CharlestheFirst plays with Tsuruda and VCTRE 9 pm Thursday, Dec. 5, at WOW Hall; $22 advance, $27 door, all-ages.