By Maura Johnston. Mr. Carmack heats up a winter night at the Sinclair. CAMBRIDGE — The career trajectory of the producer and DJ Aaron Carmack is the stuff that musicians’ dreams are made of. As Mr. Carmack, he self-released a series of EPs, filled with songs that borrow from hip-hop, reggae, trance, noise, and a slew of other genres, via the DIY music-distribution site Bandcamp. Their popularity led to his being booked at the many festivals that have sprung up across the American musical landscape since the turn of the century, including the desert bacchanal Coachella.
His blending of genres and keen knowledge of how to work a crowd led to his career growing on his own terms. Carmack’s potent set at the Sinclair on Wednesday night put his singular knack for mixing styles and ideas and his live potency on full display — and also revealed how he could calmly, keenly react to any problems with his one-man setup. After a handoff from his opening act Sam Gellaitry — who, along with fellow opener Teeko, Carmack hailed for his writing and producing proficiency.
The headliner launched into a track dominated by a flute line soaring over whirring beats, which led into a bass-heavy, crowd-hyping rework of Drake and Future’s boastful “Jumpman.” Eventually, some segment of Carmack’s setup was overwhelmed by the massive amount of noise. It mattered little: After manipulating glitches as best as he could, he swapped out some gear and carried on with a set that blurred together heavy beats and bright lights, coaxing the crowd’s movements like an orchestra’s conductor.
The evening’s most sublimely tense moments came when Carmack split the difference between the sensual and the abrasive, with late-night jams and scraping-metal sounds colliding. His remixes of other artists’ tracks brought in additional voices without overwhelming his style; blush-inducing come-ons by the polymorphic Los Angeles singer Miguel and the London producer Raf Riley intermingled with synth arpeggios and oscillating drones, while Rick James’s “Superfreak” was flipped just enough to make its singeing riff sound as beamed in from the future as it did 35 years ago. By the time Mr. Carmack’s set ended, the audience was spent. But as revelers spilled out into the cold January night, a decidedly summery glow hung over them.