DECAYCAST Interviews: Anna Cuevas of Dès Vu “This Will Become A Memory”

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Dès Vu. photo:  Liesa Cole

Even before i met Anna Cuevas, her project Dès Vu was  enshrined with a sort of mythical presence. My partner first turned me onto her work when we were sourcing bands and projects for a benefit show to combat the  racist and xenophobic US border crisis, which has denied safe entry for thousands of asylum seekers to the US, we reached out to several acts and the first one to respond with a resounding yes, almost instantly,  was Dès Vu.  Benefit shows can be tough, as underground music shows usually have a razor thin margin financially for paying artists/performers as it is,  without even taking into consideration money for the space/promoters, never mind extra money to donate to a cause. The financial logistics of running a small to mid sized DIY show and coming out in the black are often next to impossible without a big crowd, sponsors, and a hefty amount of press backing the event.

“Dès Vu means the the awareness that this will become a memory,”

For many micro scenes benefit shows often require the artists and space to donate their time, money and resources to be able to raise enough money to make a big enough financial  impact, with the artists donating their time, talent, and resources for free. Putting together (last minute) or any benefit shows often cuts down the choices of  performers, as many simply cannot donate their labor for free or  discounted artist fees, so the fact that Dès Vu not  only agreed to  play our show, and immediately stated that she didn’t need payment, and we’re excited to participate was just the boost we needed to get the benefit show rolling, only later, and still at the time of this interview am I figuring out that activism is a big part of the work of Des Vu, so it was no surprise that she were our first ally in bringing together a solid lineup. We sat down and spoke with  Anna about her creative process, education, and future creative endeavors.

Welcome to Decaycast Interviews, please  talk a little bit about the origin of your current recording and performance project Dés Vu?

Dès Vu (day voo) quickly manifested early 2018 in Birmingham, AL, my hometown. After a long writer’s block, one day I played one of the synths of my now-producer, and what became the EP’s “cycling affect” flowed out. That breakthrough compelled me to transform sketches I’d been writing on my synth into full songs. Dès Vu means “the awareness that this will become a memory,” and that all feels like a dream now that my musical path pulled me to the Bay.

How is the Bay Area different from Birmingham based on your experience within music artists and activist circles?

I’m really grateful for my Birmingham roots helping me bloom into who I’m becoming, but I see and hear myself far more in the Bay Area creative communities. Here there’s a lot more music in the spirit of what I make, and I don’t get questioned about being racially ambiguous, which has been really refreshing. In many ways I feel more comfortable performing here despite not knowing nearly as many people as where I grew up. Birmingham has a strong DIY community and network of grassroots movements, but those circles were pretty separate. Here there’s much more overlap which really resonates with my music. There’s also more people and resources for more radical organizing and direct actions, but the movement in Birmingham works as hard, just in a different way. They are such different places and I’m still adjusting to what initially felt like culture shock but in a good way for me. One’s preference just depends on what one is seeking and wanting.

Can you talk a little bit more about radical Organizing and the connection to your work if any?

Though not an inherently political project, my music instinctively weaves some radical anthems among more prominent ballads centering mental health. I consider those themes deeply connected; one way being how racism and capitalism shape the climate of modern society.

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photo :  Jaysen Michael

In Alabama I did a lot of grassroots work with workers’ rights, immigrant justice, prison abolition, reproductive and gender equity, and police brutality. Despite no longer having the stamina to continue frontline organizing, solidarity will always be a part of my work as I feel compelled to embrace the movement In my platform. However, while the EP’s “decolonize” and the single “for Rojava” highlight anti-imperialism and anti-fascism, my music primarily strives to create a world beyond this one.

 

So more of a vision of a different future than responding to the current one?

I like how you put that – it does respond to the current one but is also pushing for something more in a healing way.

Also knowing you’re a teacher In Oakland, had this affected your work at all in any way ? Have you ever we shown your students your music?

Actually yes, I recently had a music idea come to me about when public schools close for good and all the dynamics that entails.  It’s not something those outside of education probably hear much about and discuss even less but through music,  I can highlight that disparity that branches beyond schools and seeps into our communities, and yes I have shown my students my music.

 

Do you think social distancing has had an impact on your practice so far? Have you been in the mood to make music / art or not so much?]

Social distancing has had a big impact on my practice so far the first nearly three weeks (at the time of this interview) of quarantine, I really struggled with maintaining a creative focus. At first,  I started feeling imposter syndrome, like why was I not using this extra time to churn out new material. . Then I realized that the change to working remotely in education was not only not allowing as much free time as many who sadly lost their jobs, but was also taking an extra emotional toll with the urgency to prioritize mutual aid for our school’s families. Parent conferences by phone prefaced academic updates with asking what basic needs, if any, the families lacked.  Some weren’t sure how they were even going to get more diapers diving in to a bit of mutual aid outside of my job, looking to social media more to stay connected, and feeling the need to stay updated with news deeply affected my headspace for a while before I noticed how much it had negatively impacted my basic self-care. I felt kind of selfish for wanting to work on my music more than usual during these times, but now i’m reminded how crucial our own healthy wellbeing is before helping others so much embracing that notion now, i’ve started naturally practicing, writing, and recording fluidly again. As a solo artist with a bedroom recording setup.  my imposter syndrome was exaggerated  since i wasn’t even having to adjust to virtual group practices like many I know. Creating feels more like medicine than it ever has as it’s helping me process our new collective reality. My practice feels even more purposed now; though still very much digging inward, i’m projecting outward a lot more, like sending energy instead of staying in my own head so much. This will likely be a permanent shift as it will be impossible to ever completely forget these times we’re currently navigating.

Any future projects you’d like to discuss or general things to let our readers know about anything?

My producer is nearly done mastering the re-release of my EP, though unsure when I’ll be able to tour on it. My music video locations are also currently on pause, but I’ve been working on new songs for about a year and am learning to produce it myself
I do have another music project I’ve started but haven’t announced more details of yet and am not rushing it.
Generally, I encourage those who are financially able to donate to Bay Area mutual aid efforts: some that come to mind are houseless aid through :

East Oakland Collective

The Village,

West Oakland Punks With Lunch;

Bay Area Workers Support (sex workers),

Oakland Food Workers’ Fund, and We Are The Ones Mutual Care Fund — * for the unhoused, East Oakland Collective is taking donations for hand-washing stations ($162 / month) and portable toilets ($142 / month) PayPal:  kandace.e@gmail.com

Follow Des Vu on Instagram : @mind__mirage

DECAYCAST #030 : Diego Aguilar-Canabal Presents Farm To Tape 8

Back at it again, we’re hosting the “Farm To Tape” Series from friend and Decaycast writer Diego Aguilar-Canabal. Newest episode is a freaky, sonic aquarium of discovered and undiscovered audio species perfect for the quarantine days ahead.

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1. Enigmatic Ocean, Part III – Jean-Luc Ponty
2. What It Is – Derek Bailey / Jamaaladeen Tacuma / Calvin Weston
3. Get Down With Your Get Down – Trouble Funk
4. Telillite – Les Filles de Illighadad
5. Derbabe – Gzate Guelay
6. [untitled 05] – Keiji Haino & KK Null
7. Bừng Sáng (Dawn) – Thai Thanh
8. Shapeshifter -VITAMINS
9. Vulgar Yesness – Siobhan
10. Callous Hysteria– Caboladies
11. Circles On Circles – Bitchin Bajas
12. To (a) Certain Extent (β) – Keith Fullerton Whitman
13. hb2 – Koobaatoo Asparagus
14. winds – multa nox
15. Evening Has Arrived – Cheewei
16. I Told Him No – Madeline Darby
17. Dancing in the Dark – Diamanda Galás

Enjoy!

DECAYCAST Reviews : Bran (…) Pos “Cosmic Mushmouth”  CS (Planetary Magnetics, 2020)

DECAYCAST Reviews : Bran (…) Pos “Cosmic Mushmouth”  CS (Planetary Magnetics, 2020)

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Bran(…)Pos‘ new album “Cosmic Mushmouth” may be the most complete overview of Jake Rodriguez’s multi-faceted soundscape composition to date. With his signature vocal-triggered electronics buried under layers of modular and effects, “Space Gelt” seems closest to a lot of the recent live performances I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Jake do. I first saw Bran(…)Pos in the late 1990s in SF and seeing how different each
performance could be and the many concepts that Jake has tried over the years has made him a favorite of mine and many in the Bay Area. It’s great to see him team up with Tyler Harwood (who produced this for his label (Planetary Magnetics) and did the artwork) who you may have seen perform as Anti-Ear or together with Rodriguez as ‘Beandip Troubadours,’ fully engaging both of their hilarious stage performance skills.

The crowning tracks here are the 20+ minute composition “RxR (rocket crossing)” which slowly builds into a stuttering modular synth rhythm with some of Bran’s trademark acoustic tympani playing. The final track “Martian Brine Pool” features an amplified cello;  another instrument that Bran has used off and on and in many configurations over the years.

Rodriguez is now heavily entrenched in the Bay Area theater scene, doing sound and composition. It will be exciting to see what lies ahead for this polymath and true SF original. Albums and acts like this that make me excited to be living and working still in SF. Come aboard!     – Derek Gedalecia

DECAYCAST Premieres: Bay Area Funk Wizard CHAKI Releases New Video “The Water”

DECAYCAST Premieres: Bay Area Funk Wizard CHAKI Releases New Video “Water” – WATCH NOW! 

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If you’re in the Bay Area and you don’t know the work of CHAKI The Funk Wizard than you must hate fun, funk, horror movies, and capes, in which case, why are you even reading our blog? On his newest song and video, “Water”, CHAKI offers a masterfully crafted, yet slightly dystopian blend of self reflective cosmic brain altering funk! Blending astute musicianship, top notch arranging and production,  and a dark sense of humor, like a soldier of Funk,  Chaki covers all of the bases himself, performing nearly all the instrumentation solo with wonderfully nuanced results. Warm organ, marching bass lines, swirling screaming synths, hard hitting, tightly would drums, and the voice of an angelic maniac to create a funkily unique and dirty swim through the history of Funk music. “Water” gushes into your face and soaks you head to toe with cosmic funk liquid from the place of Chaki’s origin, a true assault to those refusing to feel the  rhythm, or maybe a hymn for those who feel the late night wrath of a post dance party Taco Bell excursion, whatever it is, we’re here for it. With it’s acid peaking level energy,  driving in the pocket beats,  “Water” is no doubt channeling the bombastic low end of genre-pioneering giants, Cameo, the glossy, psychedelic, and often flawless production of Prince with a dash of Blowfly-esque absurdist humor and what do you have? “Water”, which is to be released as a black vinyl 7” by Who Can You Trust? Records.

It’s a silly video for probably the most personal song I ever made. I was trying to channel my heroes like Cameo and Prince while in the studio.” – Chaki

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“The concept came to Chaki in a reoccurring dream and scribbled onto a bar napkin. The vision was brought to life by the local Oakland filmmaker team Han Hale (director) and Dean Snodgrass (director of photography).

CHAKI has brought his dynamic stage show to festivals such as Noise Pop and The Offbeat Fest. This funky alien has gained a cult-like following over the past few years, playing shows with like-minded weirdos Shannon and the ClamsEl VezPeelander ZBob Log IIICaptured By RobotsThe Space Lady, and Flipper.

You can Buy CHAKI “The Water” 7″ EP here: https://whocanyoutrustrec.bigcartel.com/product/chaki-the-water-7-vinyl

CHAKI performs 12/31 at FCOTB w/ Burmese, NDW, Jeweled Snakes and more. 9pm.

 

 

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: Bonnie Baxter “AXIS” (Hausu Mountain, 2019)

Ok so once in a while something so twisted, mutated, alien and sinister lands in the inbox and what a rare joy this situation is, and that’s exactly how we would describe the new album “AXIS” from Brooklyn based producer Bonnie Baxter, which, by the way is out NOW on the esteemed and never disappointing Hausu Mountain imprint, and you should go buy it right now! On “AXIS”, Baxter blends chaotic electronic blasts of sputtering, broken IDM rhythms with chopped and mutated alien vocal transmissions. The pacing and intensity are both set on high as Baxter belts forth a scattering array of tempo, time, and timbre changes seemingly on the neckline of a dime, all while creating a dark, unsettling yet unifying and coherent collection of tracks. This is maximalist music for an alien invasion where the beings slice open the ear, amplify it and reconfigure the soud intake structure; it is now inverted and begins omitting violent, brooding, and cynical laugh tracks for the apocalypse. Some tracks such as, “Spirit Enema” focus on more minimalist, albeit twisted takes on IDM/House music percussion with ominous shifting tones backing childlike vocal tone poems. Despite the often whimsical yet twisted vocal presentation, the electronics hold their own and never stalemate, every sound within every track is a now sonic discovery that adds depth and complexity to the album overall and the track within itself.

Other tracks like the later “Celestite” offer lush undulating muffled brass like textures which give breadth to complex yet minimal percussion tom lines as well as wells of elegantly placed reverb and delays, all sitting beautifully and elegantly in the mix. The sheer range of sonic explorations sound wise, percussion and vocal wise is impressive in itself , but the fact that composition wise, this album flows so well, despite it’s wide chaotic reach and conceptual points of entry, drops it in the highly recommended category for us, don’t sleep on this, A+ twisted electronic jams!

DECAYCAST #031: GUEST MIX – HEADBOGGLE “Spill and Spell 1”

DECAYCAST #031: GUEST MIX – HEADBOGGLE “Spill and Spell 1”

Fresh off the heels of his recently released synth exploration album on “Polyphonic Demo” Headboggle’s Derek Gedalecia crafts up a sonically diverse mix of archaic and contemporary experimental sounds for DECAYCAST Guest Mix series, enjoy!

Gedalecia: “I started open format college radio DJ-ing in the early 1990s and took a break when I moved to the west coast in 1997. From 2011 to 2013, I had a weekly show on Radio Valencia called “Greek Mind” where I would play the rare records from Blu Ray soundtrack transfers to flexidisc dubs while also featuring live remotes and on-air appearances by experimental noise artists. Spill and Spell starts a new era for my open format selections by way of a modern mix. These hourly episodes will be airing soon via New New World Radio in Moscow as well as select blogs and websites.”

00:00 The Shaggs – Sweet Maria (unrel reissue 7”, 2016, Light In the Attic)

02:20 The Outlaws – Crazy Drums (Valley of the Sioux 7”, HMV, 1961)

05:08 F.C. Judd – Children Playing (Background Sound Effects 7”, Castle)

06:33 John Davis – Idly Sit The Sun excerpt (Bimodal Press LP, 2018)

07:32 Pierre Henry – Difus (L’Occident Est Bleu reissue LP, Aurora Rising, 2016)

12:57 Moebius – Rattenwiesel (Tonspuren LP, Sky, 1983)

15:59 Gilles Racot – Subgestuel excerpt (Archives GRM CD box, 1991)

20:07 unknown jukebox song (TúLan Vietnamese Cuisine, S.F.)

23:06 GIlles Tremblay – Fleuves excerpt (Tremblay LP box, Radio Canada International, 1983)

23:57 Brian Wilson – Shortnin’ Bread (Adult Child unreleased LP)

26:27 Flanger Magazine – Untitled (Breslin LP, Sophomore Lounge, 2018)

27:48 Imaginary Softwoods – The Rocky River excerpt (The Suncoast Digest LP, Mineral Disk, 2017)

28:48 Earle Brown – Hodograph I (Feldman / Brown reissue LP, Doxy, 2013)

32:15 Anti-Ear – Sulphur (Robutts CS, self-released, 2018)

34:20 Ryan King – b-side excerpt (How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Bomb CS, self-released 2019)

35:20 LSD Underground 12 – b-side excerpt (s/t reissue LP, Lysergia, 2014)

36:15 Krzysztof Komeda – Main Title (Fearless Vampire Killers reissue OST, Polonia, 2000)

38:25 Attilio Novellino & Collin McKelvey ‎– b-side excerpt (Metaphysiques Cannibales LP, Weird Ear, 2018)

39:25 Bruce Haack and Miss Nelson – Little Brown Jugs (Funky Doodle LP, Dimension 5, 1976)

42:38 Un-Kommuniti – Winterkill Organa (Black Dwarf Wreckordings ’83-’85 reissue LP box, Vinyl-On-Demand)

48:33 Raymond Scott – Cindy Alternate (Pop_Rock) (Three Willow Park reissue)

49:58 Steve Roden ‎– a-side excerpt (Lines & Sp Aces LP, self-released, 2006)

50:58 Peter Hansen – If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep (Trajectories CD, Slask, 1996)

56:35 Adrian Rew ‎– b1 (Slot Machine Music LP, Hanson, 2014)

57:35 Sebastian ‎– b-side excerpt 45rpm (Sebastian Speaks! Your Watchdog On A Disc LP, Grr-r-ecords, 1980)

DECAYCAST #032: GUEST MIX: Victor Vankmen “Wild Workout at Noon Thirty Vol. 1”

DECAYCAST #032: Wild Workout at Noon Thirty Vol. 1

Mixed by Victor Vankmen

Freestyle Vinyl Dub Edits and 12” Mixes

Featuring tracks by legendary tape editors and producers:

Aldo Marin

Andy “Panda” Tripoli

Boy Wonder

Bruce Forrest

Carlos “After Dark” Berrios

Charlie “Rock” Jimenez

Chris Barbosa

David Cole

J.A.G

L.A. Martineé

Little Louie Vega

Oh, Oh, Omar Santana

Robert Clivillés

Roger “OSN” Pauletta

Stevie B

The Latin Rascals

Tolga

Winston Negron

Mixed, recorded, edited by Victor Vankmen

Radio skit produced by Victor Vankmen, Ivan, Eli 

Track during radio skit: Victor Vankmen and B.I.N.T. – 17 TH ST (Diamond Center Dub)

Shout out: MD, Ratskin Records, Eli, Ivan, B.I.N.T.,  VAMP, Champion Sound, Jose Melendez

DECAYCAST Track Reviews: GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT “Human Animal Chimera”

GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT “Human Animal Chimera”

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With “Human Animal Chimera” GOLDEN CHAMPAGNE FLAVORED SWEATSHIRT offers a blistering, slow-building rhythmic forward synth and drum track with various unheard and unique textures churning heavily in the background to create a thick, warm, but  slightly unsettling blanket to cloak your ears in as the track progresses into a darker, more sinister climax.  The drums are sharp and steady, militant, and pummeling, sitting perfectly in the mix to create a high tension blend of industrial, dubbed-out industrial forward banger. The bombastic drums create a stabbing and calculated backbone for the synth and other sonic parts to rattle this heavy and brooding sonic machine just as it’s ready to attack. Pummeling bass drums and toms   hammer away as a symphony of buzzing synthesizers creating a refreshing concoction of dissonant, yet unified and very well gelled sound. The sound of GCFS is both dark, and complex, while retaining a unique cinematic edge, which is often missing in more traditional forms of dance and industrial music. Sputtering and groaning synthesizers,  chirping sharp noise blasts and mangled voice samples create the sounds of animals and humans being glued and stapled together in a twisted, primitive lab, which sounds morbid, and yet, I can’t turn it off, I just want to hear more, and this is the fifth go around for this track for me in writing the review. This sounds great in headphones, but I can only yearn for this  track to be blaring in a club akin to the blood rave scene from Blade. I wasn’t able to find much on this project but follow their bandcamp and pick up the tracks that are there, you WILL NOT be disappointed. Heavy electronic music tracks are a dime a dozen, these days, but  Golden Champagne Flavored Sweatshirt bring hope for those of us who want our dance music, dark, heavy and uniquely heavy. A really refreshing listen, will be back for everything this project releases.

-Monier Watson For DECAYCAST

 

 

DECAYCAST Premieres: Post-Industrial Darkwave duo V.E.X. Shares New Video “Dancing At The End Of Time”

DECAYCAST Premieres: Post-Industrial Darkwave duo V.E.X. Shares New Video “Dancing At The End Of Time”
0006663860_10Bay area artists Roxy and LuLu, as V.E.X., (and a myrid of other projects) have been playing music and creating art together for years on end in the bay area and beyond, yet somehow always bring something refreshingly new and politically necessary to the table, and their latest single, supported with a brand new video here “Dancing At The End Of Time” is certainly no exception.
From the artists;  “Dancing At The End Of Time” is a low-fi synth ballad of remembrance and resistance in a dying world, the true story of two femme freaks gentrified out of the city but not out of their souls, holding onto their love in spite of all the hate, dedicated to crafting underground subculture music for outcasts, the forgotten, and those fighting back in this genocidal abusive white supremacist capitalism patriarchy death spiral.
“Dancing At The End Of Time” offers a celebratory, yet real and  visceral look at two femmes resisting the violent forces of oppression and gentrification through the streets of a forgotten and endlessly morphed San Francisco.  “Dancing…” gels haunted vocals and murky, analog synth arpreggiations, creating both a serene and haunting vibe which encapsulates the listener into a tale from the past.  Watch the  video below and read some words on the track and video from V.E.X. below. The track is from an upcoming split with Moira Scar.

“Roxy and LuLu have been playing music together since 2001, as The Floating Corpses, Angel On The Nod And The Phantasy Defylement, Terrran Traumantics, Moira Scar, and V.E.X. being the most recent incarnation. V.E.X. (Vortex Empath Xen, formerly Voltage Empath Xanaxax, Ventriloquest Ectoplasmold Xanaxax) is Lu Lu “Lucifer” Gamma Ray and Roxzan “Roxy Monoxide” Zatan as industrial-dark-wave synth-punk surreal-doom noise-romance duo. V.E.X. creates, V.E.X. records, V.E.X. plays shows.”

Check their bandcamp below and make sure to check for select tour dates and an upcoming split with Moira Scar.
https://xanaxax.bandcamp.com

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: Sabriel’s Orb / John Atkinson “Split” Cassette (Whited Sepulchre Records)

DECAYCAST Reviews: Sabriel’s Orb / John Atkinson “Split” Cassette (Whited Sepulchre Records)

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Sabriel’s Orb,’s side on this tonally deep and sonically diverse split brought to us by Whited Sepulchre Records’s split series begins with powerful, cinematic synth breaths of arpeggiations harkening back to early Susanne Ciani and Phedora-era Tangerine  Dream, but her deep exploration into meditative synthesis doesn’t stop there, Willow Skye-Biggs who has been making experimental music for over a decade pushes the  sounds and phrases past the confines of their own limit into a beautiful, tone poem of meditation and ritual. Distant pulses, blend with warm lush synthetic  adventures through the air, into the ear, through the brain, into the heart and out through the feet like a nostalgic chill that is  gone before we can even pinpoint it’s origin. Willow Skye-Biggs music has always seemed  fixated on ritual, and the tones of her side of the  split act like a guiding light through a cinematic, landscape unknown to previous inhabitants.

From the label: “For the fourth in WSR’s split cassette series, John Atkinson is paired with SLC-based artist Sabriel’s orb. Willow Skye-Biggs has spent the last decade exploring the intersections of identity and ritual through her ambient, experimental and techno projects. Most notably, she created soaring, beat-oriented experimental-pop under the name Stag Hare and bedroom techhouse under the moniker ariel. “

For his side, experimentalist John Atkinson offers two ambient meditations which compliment the other side beautifully and offer a similar but unique on minimal ambient / dronescape music. Atkinson slowly and meticulously crafts slow moving pulses like the  first rays of  sun  coming over the  walls of  fog on an early morning barren landscape, unwitnessed and un-manipulated by humanity. Atkinson, through his various soundtrack work and  work with NY group  Aa  (Big A Little A) has clearly come rather close to enacting complete control over what are ultimately  natural and organic sounding drones.  We never hear the human hand, and it’s quite beautiful.  On the second track, “First Rain of the New Year ” Atkinsons’ cresendo peaks with a noisy, fuzzed out climax which is the perfect ending to this minimal yet powerful release.