The efforts of Bay Area artist, musician, healer, promoter and educator Sharmi Basu are seemingly endless and so far reaching that before one has the opportunity to grasp and contextualize one action in the greater realm of experimental music, they are onto the next.
Between constantly touring, and releasing last years “Taste Of India” cassette (Ratskin), a new Tour EP for her recently completed European tour, running The Mara Performance Collective, which self describes as “a performance and improvisation group that is centered on shared politics and identity. The MPC is focused on radical people of color, that is non-white folks, and is emphasizing those who identify as queer, trans, and/or womyn of color.”, and it’s offshoot, Brown Noise , have become staples for many new and experienced artists to gain and refine their “chops” so to speak outside of the white male patriarchy which has historically taken up so much space in noise and underground communities. Most recently, Basu was a part of The Universe Is Lit: the bay area’s first ever Black and Brown Punk Festival with fellow curators Shawna Shawnte, Jade Ariana and Titania Kumeh, and recently opening for electronic music’s den mother Suzanne Ciani at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Through all of this, Basu has both ears, a dog and a mic to the ground in the forefront of experimental music, politics, and community building. She even contributed a track to the recently released “Rogue Pulse / Gravity Collapse” compilation (Ratskin) which spawns twelve hours of music in direct support of Black Lives Matter, St James Infirmary, and The Oakland Immediate Relief Fund, which consisted of Basu and several other femme organizers who took and distributed donations after last year’s Ghostship tragedy which claimed the lives of thirty six souls of the Oakland and bay area
creative community, many of whom were close to Basu. Despite all of this loss, chaos, and uncertainty with these violent, chaotic, shaking and bleeding times, Basu marches forward and continues to help pave the way for the decolonization of experimental, underground, music and art. A necessary, radical action, like many aspects of confronting white supremacy, which is long overdue.
Today, Basu releases a video for “Pluto” which is from the B side of the “Taste of India” cassette, released in an edition of 100 cassettes on Ratskin in fall of last year, which can be viewed above. The video blends analog and video synthesis, feedback, found footage and digital video processing. Make sure to click the HD option in the youtube window for maximum definition, as the video is visually dense. Please make sure to Follow her Bandcamp, or Soundcloud orrrrrrr main website for more information and current shows. She also has a Patreon which has some amazing incentives!
CBN IS THE MASTER OF OPPRESSIVE AS FUCK, DARK, BROODING AND DANK POWER
ELECTRONICS. MENACING DRONES & UNCOMFORTABLY BURIED VOCALS INTO NASTY SYNTH PROGRESSIONS. A MASTER OF BUILDING A
HEAVY EMOTIONAL SETTING. CBN CONTINUES THIS TREND BUT WITH MUCH MORE DYNAMICS AND A SLIGHTLY MORE INDUSTRIAL
SOUNDS THAN BEFORE. IF POSSIBLE ITS EVEN HEAVIER AND MORE FOREBODING THAN EVER. TWO LONG TRACKS MAKE UP THIS TWISTED AND CRUSHING RECORD.
TRACK 1. I JUST WANNA WATCH PIGS DROWN – PURE HATE AND DISGUST FOR THE SCUM OF THE EARTH WE CALL PIGS. TREATED CB RADIO COLLAGE FADES INTO A RHYTHMIC METALLIC POUNDING.A TRANCE INDUCING DIRGE THAT GROWS WITH EACH MINUTE. BRUTAL AND HARSH AS HELL YET HYPNOTIC. BEAUTIFUL, DISGUSTING AND UNRELENTING ARE WAVES OF NOXIOUS SYNTH
PROGRESSIONS AND THUNDEROUS PULSES WITH MASSIVE, OOZING BASS TONES THAT HIT YOU OVER AND OVER. NO REMORSE, CRUSHING. AGONIZING & RAW BELTS OF VOCALS OVERLAY
THIS THICK AND MELTING SLAB OF SOUND. HUGE AND THICK AS IT CRUMBLES, SHARP AND PIERCING AS IT MELTS INTO A POOL OF SHIMMERING SLIME. ONLY SMOKE AND REVENGE
REMAIN IN THE AIR AS ALL ELSE DISSIPATES.
TRACK 2 PERISH AWAY – NAUSEATING SYNTH LEADS CUT DEEP AS YOUR SIMULTANEOUSLY CRUSHED EVER SO SLOWLY BY WAVES OF PUTRID BASS AND UNCOMFORTABLE SQUEALS & SCREAMS.
A NIGHTMARISH HELL IS CONJURED. EERIE FREQUENCIES SLOWLY GRINDING ON YOUR BONES TILL THEY TURN TO DUST. A MASSIVE PRESENCE WITHERING YOU AWAY TO NOTHING.
SLOWLY GATHERING UP A RHYTHM FOR YOU TO GRASP. MIGHT BE THE ONLY THING LEFT TO HANG ON TO BEFORE YOU PERISH.”
Check out Miguel Rocha’s CBN project in an article from the DENVER WESTWORD HERE !
VOLTAGE DROP RETURNS TONIGHT IN OAKLAND WITH STACKED LINEUP
As Voltage Drop returns for its first outing in 2017, it brings together a fully stacked lineup of some of the best the bay has to offer in esoteric, intentioned, radical electronic music and sound. In just one year VOLTAGE DROP has presented almost a dozen events, all help exclusively at The Legionnaire Saloon, climb about twenty steps, drop a crumpled up five dollar bill (or more, since its also a benefit for the Oakland Immediate Fire Relief Fund ), on the table and you are quickly transported into the sights and sounds of VOLTAGE DROP. Aside from the regular residents, VOLTAGE DROP is excited to have two really special guests for this offering which include bay area gabber/hardcore/hip hop/noise/bicycle/MPC/Body Count head and label owner of the MSET imprint , VICTOR VANKMEN, and back for the second time, of of the best kept secrets in the BAY AREA dance music scene, SHIZATIN!. SHIZATIN has been supporting VOLTAGE DROP from day one and we are beyond honored to welcome her into the crew. You’d never know she wasn’t a ten year veteran in this game by listening to these masterfully crafted and necessary femme fronted trap / dance / hip hop mixes. With the impending doom of the new president and the worsening conditions all around SHIZATIN comes as a wave of fresh air condensed into a hurricane of healing and pro Blackness into the scene! – be on the lookout for mixtapes from both SHIZATIN and VICTOR VANKMEN in the coming weeks from the VD imprint.
Stylistically VOLTAGE DROP began as an opportunity to focus on DJ sets from it’s residents and founders, BONUS BEAST (who has a pretty fantastic archive of mixes online HERE which you should check out asap) , KOZI, FLOWER PATTERN, DEMONSLEEPER, AND MALO (Malocclusion), but soon DEMONSLEEPER aka Sandy Sleeper aka FUNKY V, moved to Puerto Rico to help run family restaurant, and now noise venue La Boveda!, and they were left with four, and slowly but steadily shifted the lens to more live acts with DJ”s interspersed. . If you come out , you’ll see realtime live camera analog visuals being mixed and synthesized with ease, care, and great articulation from VD resident, and analog video synth maestro FLOWER PATTERN (aka Adrian Saenz). Tonight will open up with introduction sets from KOZI (Malditos/International Freak Out A Go Go / Where It’s At /) and MALO (Ratskin Records) at 9pm sharp playing tribute sets to some friends we lost in the Oakland Ghostship tragedy,
Opening the show will be first time VOLTAGE DROP performer , but NO newcomer to the scene,SPELLLING . I first saw this project perform at Oakland Secret, and if tonight’s set is anything like that you can expect a dark, hauntingly esoteric, lush set of musical offerings, effortlessly, simultaneously speaking to the past and future. SPELLLING blends synths, keys, voice and occasional beats to create a lush, textured, esoteric blend of electronic sounds. Check the cuts below off their soundcloud.
Slotted to perform second is, MAYA SONGBIRD. Maya, who was born and raised in the infamous Castro District of san Francisco lives and produces in Oakland, and is fresh off a new cassette/CD release on RATSKIN RECORDS, called “Welcome To The Darkside”, her follow up to 2015’s EP
on the same la
bel titled “Queen of Darkness” Songbird offers fun, energetic, and empowering performances for herself and her audience but don’t let her positive, empowering presence fool you, she is watching you and taking notes and ready to destroy the patriarchy and white supremacist tendencies of the music and art industry through song, performance, and recordings. Check her soundcloud for an endlessly deep well of musical offerings in everything from disco, EDM, rock and experimental.
First up, bay area modular wizard, activist, and artist RUSSELL E.L. BUTLER offers their unique, honed in style of body music, which inherently fights against the whitewashing and male dominated dance and beat scenes.
BUTLER seems to perform, DJ, and record and a seemingly maddening pace over the last year and has gained notable recognition, and rightfully so from all of the hottest blogs and magazines from THE FADER for their new track “Without Fear”, an empowering anthem for all marginalized communities, FACT MAG, in which they talk about their newest batch of recordings, “Dropping Out Of Life” and many more , and recently has opened for the TEXAS synth pioneers SURVIVE as well as SOFT METALS. Butler continues to craft beautiful, necessary works for a myriad of labels including OPAL TAPES, JACKTONE RECORDS, and many more. Check a track or two off your to do list here where VICE talks about the new EP dedicated to the Ghostship Tragedy.
Closing our the night will be GROUP RHODA offers up a sound thats hard to define but references early CHRIS and COSEY, C.T.I. , TARA CROSS , MENTAL CODE, and many of the greats from the early 80’s synth / ebm / body music scene , while offering her own quirky, warm, contemporary, beautiful versions of esoteric dance numbers. Self described as “Oakland. tropical darkwave, light industrial, dust…..analog synth medium super live style, negating the sound of conformity, control, and wastefulness through imagination development techniques and well considered destructiveness”
Lush synths skate on top of masterfully and articulately programmed drum machines and synthesizers, and her voice tells tales of psychedelic and psychic spaces, journeys, political unrest and personality. GR has produced records for the NOT NOT FUN and NIGHT SCHOOL labels. but check their soundcloud for newer recordings.
This event is a new model for shows where 50% of the money raised after the door cut goes to the artists and 50% goes to a specific cause. In this case, VOLTAGE DROP will be donating to the Oakland Immediate Fire Relief fund which has been assisting blood and chosen family and close friends, roommates, etc from those directly affected by the Ghostship Tragedy in Oakland on Dec 2, 2016. If you can’t make the show tonight, please consider donating to the Immediate Fire Relief Fund here!
FOR MORE INFO ON UPCOMING VOLTAGE DROP HAPPENINGS FOLLOW THE HERE AND HERE and check some DJ MIXES HERE
Hello, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the few loyal followers of Decaycast over the years, we have been sporadicly posting over the last few years, and this year its time to finally take it to the next level. We announce with heavy hearts that the original founder of DECAYCAST, Jsun Adrian McCarty is no longer with us as they have passed in the Oakland Ghostship tragedy, as well as many other close family and friends. It is with a heavy heart and watery eyes that we announce this to the Decaycast community, and a re-shaping of Decaycast with more inclusion, more community centered, less standard review topics and a myriad of other things is going to be the next step. Before Jsun passed we were talking of finally getting this thing off the ground again, with a possible hardcopy zine as well which we are looking into as well for the future. One thing we have learned from the tragic Oakland fire was that we need to control the discourse around our own work as artists, musicians, historians and the like, and Decaycast will attempt to serve just as this. The mainstream media, just like the city, stare, and federal apparatus is not here for artists, its not here for the disenfranchised, it’s only there for itself and to uphold the racist, sexist, and xenophobic belief systems which reinforce and stem from, capitalism. I want to make Decaycast an open platform for bay area disenfranchised artists and musicians to help control the discourse around their own work, and do it right, With this in mind, if you’d like to contribute (reviews, interviews, brief writeup’s etc)- please email decaycast(at)gmail.com and lets talk some ideas. We leave you with this image commemorating all of the brave and powerful souls we lost in the Oakland fire as well as a link for the Immediate Fire Relief Fund which has been providing funds and access to chosen family of those we lost on the tragic day of December 2, 2016.
Thank you for reading and we hope you will join us on the next stages of this literary journey…
BOTCHED FACELIFT “s/t”c30 (Obfuscated Records , 2015)
BOTCHED FACELIFT may be some of the most demented, damaged, abrasive, and guttural noise / power electronics that has come into the DECAYCAST review bin in quite some time. Botched Facelift is the solo brain child of may area multi instrumentalist Dario Puga who can be seen playing anything from a sitar, to piles of home-brewed electronic synths and oscillators, contact microphones, synthesizers, and everything in between. Puga is a longtime player in the game and projects have always been top notch, yet remained in the esoteric circles of dedicated lifers, this new release sounds and looks beautiful, as all of the releases from Adrian Dimond’s Obfuscated Records do!
BOTCHED FACELIFT crafts harsh, industrial noise, blending layers of warm, screeching synths, distorted screamed vocals, and homemade noise devices into cut up layers of destructive systems of harsh noise, bloated, pounding, industrialized rhythms; buzzing oscillators, robotic like abrasion, spastic, jittery styled cut up pillars of hell,. The first side is a tour de force of a complex, dense, dank landscape, articulated with peaks and troughs of analog fuzzing insanity, This tape just kept bleeding out of the sound system, banging my head against the speaker with its vile, magnetic hands, a caucaphanous, nauseating, distorted, jarring experience of movement and sound, all the while losing orientation and caught in a loop of confusion and fear, my favorite place!.
This cassette work is a dizzying, wild, dark, rollercoaster ride though a hailstorm of analog machine, pulsing, pushing, marching in circles avoiding their own aural deaths whilst occasionally and impactfully colliding with and amplifying all of the subtle layers of evil and confusion constructed within the soundscapes articulated by Botched Facelift. There’s melody, there’s rhythms, occasional beats even, but the listener is never placed in a familiar zone for too long as the sonic landscape is forever in earthquake brain mod status and Puga never lingers in any one aspect of the structure nor the instrumentation for very long, as we rip, curl, and dredge through the swampy trenches of aural discomfort and negativity. The standout track “Eye of the Jackyl” is dark, brooding, fast paced tour through a sonic hell of despair, anger, and even articulation. Lyrics are somewhat unintelligible but I won’t attempt transcription here, but let the listener construct their own thoughts! BOTCHED FACELIFT offers u a stellar thirty minute presentation of some of the darker and more insane sounding noise/industrial we’ve heard in a minute, 10/10 would torture myself again!
“Else” was recorded by HEY EXIT, in Brooklyn NY in 2015, but you’d never really be able to tell as it comes off as this sort of timeless drone recording. “Else” starts with a low, slow, cloudy drone and slowly builds and destroys subtlety across the entire album. The first sounds that emerge are delicate. spacious, tone poems of humming synths? guitars? who knows? but the source isn’t really that important and the sounds create a sonic space that exists somewhat outside of codified instrumentation, structure, rhythm. The sonic palette of HEY EXIT is largely of a similar toolset, at least on Else, and the cassette is broken up into five tracks, however they all function as one breadth, decaying and gently bleeding into each other. “What Role, If Any” is probably the track that feels most complete on its own in terms of a moving composition within itself and offers arguably the most sonic density and variety on this EP.
The sounds themselves are a plush mesh of drones, blissed out and stretched out orchestral swells, slow attack guitar swells, strategically placed crunches of rumbling distortion, and wind. The tempo of Else is made up of slow, delicately offered pulses, as if someone was breathing out the notes, blowing ou
t the tempo on a single flickering candle, but not through a wind instrument, the attack is gone, the breath has transformed into a slow, churning, crawling, beautiful sound. The slow, crawling , glossy pillars of sounds , at times almost seemed to sync up with my breath as i was sitting in the dark listen
ing to the cassette on repeat. This is excellent “meditation” music, or at least music that begs of slow action, slow thought, slow body movements, and slow listening. There are moments that get “noisy” in the traditional sense, but they never obliterate or destroy the more quiet, subtle tones that dance and breathe as he main life source of the piece. “Else” is a delicately crafted ambient drone offering for fans of slow, delicate, breathing music to listen to on a foggy, crawling confusing day. Highly enjoyable.
You can check this release and more from HEY EXIT, here
VOLTAGE DROP is a new collective of Oakland based artists, DJ’s, musicians, promoters, and music collectors with a deep seated interest in preserving the rich legacy of experimental, beat oriented electronics and industrial music in the Bay Area and beyond. Voltage Drop specifically focuses on the crossroads between early hip hop/electro/beat driven electronics, and industrial/body music. VD boasts influences as vast as Throbbing Gristle / Industrial Records, Cybotron/Juan Atkins, SPK, J Dilla, Coil, Tesco UK, Pierre Henry, DJ Rashad, and a myraid of local and international contemporary, yet esoteric artists, labels, and parties, in which the bay area has such a rich history in. Voltage Drop aims to throw events merging local and international performers, artists, DJs, and VJ’s , and also has a vested interest in attempting to synthesize often fragmented sub scene clicks within the oh so spoiled bay area. The bay area has a rich, bright, and complicated tradition of experimental electronics and industrial music, Voltage Drop is here to cast their own unique archival lens on the history, present, and future of the arc of influence and collective consciousness of sound.
One part of that history is KID606 and Tigerbeat6 Records, run by Miguel Del Pedro of Perpetual Dawn LA, a monthly Berlin inspired, rave/nightclub.
KID606 has been hosting, booking, performing , and archiving and releasing his damaged and unique styles of techno, body music, ambient, remixes, breakbeat and just about every other style of beat driven electronics all throughout the world over the last two decades and Voltage Drop is some proof that there’s still room in the bay to present this always captivating and engaging artist in a somewhat fresh platform! Voltage Drop brings KID606 and their complex, classy, eclectic electronic stylings to the fourth installment of Voltage Drop tomorrow in Oakland with an exclusive live set, at the Legionnaire Saloon, the new monthly home of the Voltage Drop party. The nights opener, Russell E.L. Butler (formerly of Black jeans) , who is no newbie in the scene either opens the gig with a live hardware set, boasting a new cassette release on SF/Berlin based, Jacktone Records. You can stream Russell’s new tape, titled “Visions of The Future” here
“KID606 (Tigerbeat6 / Perpetual Dawn / L.A.) A native of Venezuela, the Kid (aka Miguel Trost De Pedro) moved to San Diego early in life. After becoming interested in samplers, he began recording and released some material with Spacewurm, Ariel, and Disc (a collaboration with Lesser and Matmos), three acts associated with the Southern California label Vinyl Communications. Kid606 debuted on his own with a full-length for VC, 1998’s Don’t Sweat the Technics. A split CD with Lesser gained release later that year, as well as the VC EPs Unamerican Activity and Dubplatestyle. De Pedro kicked off his Tigerbeat6 label in 2000 with the release of Kid606 and Friends, Vol. 1, an album of remixes and collaborations.”
“RUSSELL E.L. BUTLER (Opal Tapes / Jacktone Records / Oakland) Russell has been making waves in the Bay Area music scene for years. His project Black Jeans evoked the emotional and physical qualities of minimal synth and electronic body music to transport listeners to hidden and forgotten sonic landscapes. For the past few years he has been making a brand of stripped down machine techno that has evolved rapidly with each successive release. It is fitting that transplantation and adoption are themes in Russell’s music, as he based his 2015 album, “God is Change” on Octavia Butler’s Parable series of novels, in which these are central tenets of the philosophy that the books explore. Since its release “God is Change” has received major acclaim, with NPR naming it one of their top 10 favorite electronic albums of 2015.”
VOLTAGE DROP – INDUSTRIAL / ELECTRONIC DANCE CLUB PRESENTS
LIVE SETS BY: KID 606 (TIGERBEAT6, PERPETUAL DAWN / LOS ANGELES) RUSSELL E.L. BUTLER (OPAL TAPES / JACKTONE RECORDS / OAKLAND)
VISUALS BY FLOWER PATTERN
SECOND ACT. 1727 HAIGHT STREET, SF, CA 7:45-10PM SHARP
“Four twenny in the Haight Ashbury? Yup. If smoke makes the best sunsets, the banks of Golden Gate Park will be blowin’ up as Neha Spellfish, Malocculsion, play the final show with Demonsleeper and Thoabath before they hang ten off a dank ring blowing out toward San Juan, Puerto Rico where they’ll opena new venue for experimental live sound. Come see them off with…
NEHA SPELLFISH (Oakland/Madrid)
With low frequency waves washing up on a beach of dark noise ambience, Spellfish delves into the shared space of interspecies communication and paramnesia, invoking the spectral measure of waking consciousness and noospheric cognition. Neha invokes themes of macro psychology, xeno feminism, dynamically modeled weather enclosures, and instinctual variance, employing audio programming platforms and algorithmic granular synthesis. https://soundcloud.com/spellfish
Deathrattle lullabys and inescapable lucid dreamscapes wrought by somnambulist maestra, Alexandra Bushman. In 1999, she formed the electro-acoustic group, Synethesia, tegether with Angélica Negrón. After scaring the daylights out of everyone at the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico, she matriculated to Mills College before committing to advanced studies with ancient dark forces whose names must never be spoken. https://soundcloud.com/demonsleeper
There’s a perceptible gravity to Andy Way that somehow vanishes once you draw near, the material world floats adrift. His solo project, Thoabath, might just be that massless Euclidean point where noise, dub, power electronics, horror, and ambient all emanate, an entelechy without clear precedent, of no laws. Prepare your ear, first study his collaborations with luminaries like Bruce Anderson (MX-80) & Petit Mal in the project, French Radio, sink yourself in the occult cacophony of Sutekh Hexen, and then, approach Thoabath, inescapable dark quasar. https://soundcloud.com/acway/
Watch concrete turn to quicksand and glass return to sand as this sonic juggernaut storms the Haight Ashbury. His inaugural solo album released last year, “Psychosis Industrial Complex”, melds blown out distorted beats, arpeggiated synths, tape manipulation, voice, field recordings and homemade oscillators to belt forth a dark, unique offering of post industrial, prison music. https://ratskinrecords.bandcamp.com/album/malocculsion-psychosis-industrial-complex