Tag Archives: Live Music

Full Tones @ BAMPFA: Gabie Strong and Robert Lowe

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I found myself at The Berkeley Museum once again, where I had recently experienced another experimental electronic woman artist Suzanne Ciani. My wife and I attended this most recent performance with anticipation and a sense of pride, as my wife has been friends with Gabie since high school, and here she is performing at BAMPFA! If that isn’t enough to get excited about, also on the bill was Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.

Full Tones was part of a series of concerts held on the Full Moon curated by Land and Sea who operate out of Oakland Ca.

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Gabie has been deeply involved in the experimental music underground for many years. She has been operating the radio show Crystalline Morphologies on KCHUNG 1630 AM radio out of Chinatown in LA. There are show archives that go back to 2011.

She has performed in and curated many events over the years, often developing site specific experiments.

She has also recently added an independent record label (also called Crystalline Morphologies) to her list of accomplishments and her 2 solo releases on vinyl and cassette are excellent slabs of experimental drone/noise and field recording.

Her set was a wonderful wash of guitar drone with a bit of contact mic experimentation deeper into the set that really brought an interesting performance element into the experience.


We had been planning on going to this event for a few weeks before I looked it up online and saw that Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe was also performing! I’d been following him for some time and have enormous respect for him being one of the few people of color operating at that level in electronic music. With cutting edge modular technology and an intellectual as well as soulful approach to the medium, he brings a much needed flavor to that scene. He incorporates his voice in wonderful ways as well as other acoustic elements fed into the modular for an otherworldly effect almost church-like. While I’m at it, I really recommend the stuff he did with experimental electronic legend Ariel Kalma. It was an honor to meet Robert and I do hope our paths cross again!

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PJ Harvey At The Masonic SF

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Just the other day I was talking with my wife about certain aspects of the old music scene we experienced in our youth (circa late 80’s-early 90’s) she on the West Coast (LA area) and me in Buffalo in the heart of the East Coast Hardcore scene. Growing up in LA she got to experience some of the best years of the LA punk scene as it was then and I also got to catch some of the tail end of the early HC scene on the East Coast just as it was becoming overrun with jocks and squares curious about all the energy and noise and tattoos and the punks with the funny colored hair etc. I came across this cd at work the other day and it just illustrates the time perfectly (1993) 2 years after The Year that Punk Broke 

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This was from a Biohazard cd and it was one of the bands we had just been talking about. I remember when every show I went to after a certain period was dominated by these line-ups of aggro, testosterone driven muscle guys with guitars. I was 18-19 at the time and it was glaringly obvious that there was very little room for girls in this scene and that was a drag. The Riot Girl movement was underway by then but that was also an aggro and exclusive sort of subscene that didn’t fully encompass or embrace all women in indy/punk or the Hardcore movement unless they were openly a part of it. Spitboy  were a perfect example of this.

Anyway, I remember being pretty disillusioned around this time about all of it, by 1993 I had pretty much stopped going to shows for fear of being beat up by Nazi’s who by then had infltrated much of the scene and mostly went to shows to start shit. A while before this time I started sneaking into the 21 and over ‘New Wave and Goth-Industrial’ club and experiencing different more interesting music and a much more gender balanced world where I could meet and socialize with girls for once! This was also a more mature scene without all of the BS of the all ages shows. The shock value of the punk stuff by then had worn out and the homogenization of alternative ‘culture’ had begun, so to get into bands with names like Christian Death and Alien Sex Fiend was quite appealing as it put off even the most outwardly ‘alternative’ people around at the time…

I remember one day driving around with a good friend when he popped in a mixtape, one of the things we loved most was driving around listening to cleverly curated tapes made from our recent record purchases. At some point he goes ‘check this out’ and 50 Ft Queenie comes on the car stereo and in my mind put a stake in the heart of the male dominated alternative music world as it was in 93′. It was fast and aggressive and lo-fi but still somehow feminine and sexy and if it wasn’t on Island would have been an indie staple. Either way, for a track like that to make it above ground added much needed color to the sterile post-Nirvanabe era of music saturating the college radio stations at the time. It was, for me, a much needed salve for the previous few years of my disappointment in the scene. PJ was weird and interesting and wrote short catchy songs with odd arrangements that stuck in your head, she was embraced by a wide array of people, even if it took some time.

24 years after initially hearing that song I finally got to see her live with my wife. Her set was mostly new material which I haven’t fully explored yet, so it was pleasant but unfamiliar. She had a very full band including Mick Harvey (The Bad Seeds) 2 drummers and there was quite a bit of instrument switching as everyone up there was a multi-instrumentalist of some sort. The sound at The newly remodeled Masonic in SF was excellent and we were in the balcony as opposed to the floor which was where we saw Diamanda Galas from a few weeks prior (she also sounded great!). We enjoyed the new stuff but she really made it worth it by playing ’50 Ft. Queenie’ ‘To Bring You My Love’ and my wife’s fave “Down By the Water”.

Enjoy!


Alphastare (Luggage Store Update)

In my post covering this recent set of mine, the video I shot is missing the last 7-8  minutes. Matt who puts on the event had a camera set up as well and he captured the set in it’s entirety. The footage is of a much better quality as well, enjoy!


 

Alphastare @ Luggage Store SF

 

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I believe this was the 4th time I’ve performed at The Luggage Store Gallery at the 3rd different space they have operated out of in the last few years. The current space is in the same building as the old but one immediate positive is that there are a few less stairs to climb as it’s located on the floor beneath the old one. By far my favorite location was the street level space they had across Market St. where the Financial District dovetails with The Tenderloin, there is footage from that in an older post . That space was on a corner and had huge windows, so as you were performing there was still that sense of the hustle of city life going on all around you, cars, busses, vintage SF cable cars…briefcases and pantsuits, street people peering into the windows, a real sense of being submerged in a major city…

This space seemed a bit smaller than the one upstairs but had a nice layout and plenty of local art hanging, creating a vibrant atmosphere.

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Tonight I had Rose Cherami with me operating visuals. This added immensely to the set and I look forward to working with this artist more in the future.  Rose also hosts a night at The Honey Hive Gallery where I recently performed also with his contribution on visuals.

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Alphastare @ The Honey Hive SF

Luggage Store Pics 

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For my first number I had to perform surgery on my SQ-1 which decided to die about 30 seconds into my set as I forgot to put in fresh batteries. The SQ was syncing all of my other gear aside from my ipad which had a drone texture playing from the Animoog synth. I had not brought extra batteries but realised I had borrowed a tape player from a friend (event host Matt Davignon). I flipped over the SQ-1 and realized the battery compartment cover is secured with phillips head screws! Hahaha! luckily I had my trusty knife on me and whipped that out like a back alley hood and went to work swapping out the batteries. If it weren’t for the Animoog Drone and the fact that I randomly borrowed that tape player and had something to remove the plate with, the beginning of my set would have been really rough. I took it as it came and soldiered on and had a great set.

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The first half consisted of some work on The Mother 32 synced up with 2 Volcas (Sample and Bass) as well as the aforementioned Animoog for drones and texture.  Then I switched the focus to a 4 track cassette I had prepared with 4 tracks of loops, which I live mixed and layered other various samples over from another source.

I had to watch it back to appreciate the visual element and I knew it would add a lot to the experience, Rose did a great job and I hope to keep this as a regular element in my sets anytime possible!

Kataryna Kopelevich also performed, you can find her work HERE


Slide show pics by Monica Berini