All photography by Ashley Strong | www.ashleystrongphotography.com
When we heard word of a costume only Low End Theory Halloween event, we couldn’t resist but request access for photo coverage as we knew this would be a very special Low End Theory that landed directly on this special night. With the headlining of Stones Throw multi-instrumentalist, DJ and producer Karriem Riggins and west coast producer NastyNasty of the Rwina, Frite-Nite, Planet Mu, Robox and Neo-Tech imprints, all of the Low End residents and a last addition of Dot set the anticipation high for what to expect. The announcement of a surprise guest at Low End means you are in for a treat, a big treat and the Halloween Special Edition of this special weekly event proved to be no less rewarding than any of the past illustrious special guests.. We couldn’t have been more shocked and pleased with the guest announcement in legendary musician DJ Shadow. The entire evening was filled with the most exotic types of sounds from every resident and headliner, with each performer putting that personal stamp of theirs into their sets.
DJ Shadow (Josh Davis) is widely credited as a key figure in developing the experimental instrumental hip-hop style associated with the London-based Mo’ Wax label. Inspired by hip-hop’s early years, he then grew to absorb the heyday of crews like Eric B. & Rakim, Ultramagnetic MCs, and Public Enemy; groups which prominently featured DJ’s in their ranks. His true talents and love for hip-hop shined as the “special guest” for Low End Theory’s Halloween night as he took to the tables and worked his magic. If it wasn’t amazing enough, he then added in the drum pad to intensify the night and even more so blow the minds of those groovin’ in the crowd.
At one point, DJ Shadow took a step back from the tables simply to observe the crowd and take in all the energy around him. What an honor it was to witness him fully appreciating and respecting his audience. DJ Shadow goes the extra mile for his performances and the same was true on Wednesday night.
Ashley Strong of Sound Colour Vibration was on site for several resident DJ’s and the special guest DJ Shadow and captured the following photo set for inclusion into our archives. Below is a batch of photos to scroll through in our recent event coverage gallery. Enjoy!
Native to the most southern region of California, San Diego and now a resident of the fast paced everything goes territory of Los Angeles, The Gaslamp Killer has traveled across many regions of the world in the last decade or so through his music spreading a wealth of energy to the masses. He is a man of the people and his music stands for something very pure in the modern analog and digital age. I feel he represents one of the highest states of electric power through sound, a wave like strength that has been evident from his beginnings when he would knock needles off the turntables from rocking so hard and catch the needle and put it right back on the groove as if nothing had happened. If you have seen this turntablist, producer and musician live, you know how crazy and euphoric things can get and that energy has come full circle with his debut full length on Brainfeeder called Breakthrough. 17 tracks that run a little under 50 minutes, this is an album full of so many ideas, tones and colors that it becomes endless in representation. It shows a unique direction with experimentalism that can justly be describe as GLK’s sound. The inclusion of many producers and artists on the project gives the album the type of varied result that speaks of a language that goes far beyond just one individual.
As one of the most anticipated electronic and hip hop producer albums to come out this year, The Gaslamp Killer went the extra mile to create a body of work that we feel is a timeless piece of art, not just a beat album. I think of the Twilight Zone when I hear Breakthrough. The interludes, the style of drum breaks, the open ended spiritual states, psychotic flows of energy; there is a subtle relationship that exists between the acoustic and electronic domain all over the album that is superb. When most modern producers are cycling through a reminiscing sound from track to track, The Gaslamp Killer puts together a collage of songs, creating a fascinating sonic experience. I am reminded in many ways of how diverse an album like Electric Ladyland from Hendrix is, especially with a psychedelic backdrop, a matrix of exotic layers and a level of sophistication that brings it all together flawlessly.
Breakthrough has that gritty San Diego sound musicians like Tenshun, Gonjasufi and Psychopop have brought to the world for years. Everything is rooted in heavy states of contact with this album, especially when you hear the power of the bass, drums and melodic ideas through a hi def sound system. I have also listened to this album on multiple occasions with headphones and the stereo field created is incredible, showing how much detail was given to the position of each instrument inside of the mix. Sounds are constantly moving and panning in all directions while the heart of the drum, bass and other grounded elements stay centered and moving forward. It’s grafted in corridors of 3D movement and feels a Mati Klarwein piece. I recall the band The Mars Volta a great deal in terms of how alive the mix is.
Constructed over a large period of time and around touring in many places over the world, his residency at the ever expanding Low End Theory and his involvement with the Brainfeeder and Alpha Pup labels, Breakthrough begins with a psychedelia laced intro with no percussion that recalls the voice of the 70′s when experimentation was reaching new grounds with new technology and machinery. Sounds are colliding into one another from every directions in a processed field of ricochet vocal samples and sounds of every kind. Ending with a beautiful sample of a vocal group harmonizing over a band, the stage has been set for the first feature track of the record with Gonjasufi called “Veins”. The music is still devoid of percussion at this point, showing a beautiful layering of violin, synth and guitar with the unforgettable and unique vocal style of Gonjasufi. He has one of my favorite voices in the modern age and it’s with perfect affect that his appearance early in the album sets off things into a very deep spiritual state for the album. “Veins” has a very elegant feeling to it, setting the albums momentum up for one of the biggest and heaviest drum tracks I have heard in “Holy Mt Washington”. Featuring Computer Jay, the slow burning essence of the whistle and synth layering bleeds into the speakers with a dark beauty that molds itself over the monstrous drum and bass work. “Holy Mt Washington” hits into the speakers in an almost violent and assaulting manner with how big the bottom end sounds. “Father” is the first of a few interludes that break up the album into sections. Also centered around a collage esk psychedelia field of processed sounds, it’s another excursion into an altered world where sound takes on very different forms.
“Critic” has the traces of a shadow in its remnants, wobbling in and out with one of the oddest combinations of tones. It’s the kind of sound where the Middle East meets the illustrious Los Angeles beat scene. The other man on this track is Mophono, another artist who stretches limitations in the beat world. One of my favorite collaborations comes in the next track “Dead Vets”. Featuring San Diego native and drum extraordinaire MRR and multi-instrumentalist and composer Adrian Younge, the three create a song that rides out deep with some really beautiful layers that are tightly woven around the transfixing drum work. Lush organ statements and spaghetti western guitar fills dominate the melodic phrasing of the song. It’s a raw yet elegant song, something GLK captures so well with the perfect balance. The highly accomplished violinist and composer Miguel Atwood-Ferguson has been all over the modern electronic scene doing session work for the best and GLK included him into his vision for Breakthrough like many of his colleagues have. Included on the single for the album “Flang Face”, the two come together for a menacing and dark approach to experimental beat music and sophisticated experimentation’s into the classical domain. Miguel Atwood Ferguson layers down prophetic lines on his violin while GLK layers massive drum breaks and synth lines that shape into every position possible.
The next interlude of Breakthrough comes in the track “Fuck”. This is a song that you have to hear to believe. It speaks of the humor and light hearted yet clever and intelligent nature of The Gaslamp Killer. Gonjasufi makes his second appearance on the record with the next track “Apparitions”. Using a large portion of a song from the late and great Ethiopian composer Mulatu Astatke sourced somewhere between the 60′s/70′s, the vintage and analog aura of the album comes to an apex in this song. GLK flips the track in the most subtle way with effects laced into the original Mulatu piece while Gonjasufi’s vocals sounds like a beacon of light that only prophets can put into a collected representation through sound. This track reminds me of the Sufi and a Killer album Gonjasufi and GLK worked on together and it’s a stand out track in GLK’s career. The album takes on a flight into an 8-bit space world with “Impulse” where Daedelus utilizes his sequencers over GLK’s psychotic production work. The music is cut up with a ton of transitions over the psychedelic chamber music the two seasoned producers created. The climax of energy at the end is incredible and is reminiscent to how GLK can flip the room inside and out during his live performances.
The music takes on a heavy experimental excursion of insanity in the piece “Peasants, Cripples and Retards”. Included is Brainfeeder artist SAMIYAM and the track sounds like synthesizers are being ripped a part before your ears. With a heavy dose of rhythm present, it has a crazy vibe that further cements the albums exotic and varied flow from track to track. “Meat Guilt” with RSI brings that heaviness on the drums and showers in a drifting canvas of synth and an overall muscular feel that pays homage to the hip hop foundations that birthed the producers roll in the art form. As the last interlude of the album,”Mother” is the most intriguing of the set. The musical backdrop is set in a 70′s French fusion state with the sample of a mother speaking about her child. The origin of this recording is for all I know unknown and is an incredible breathing point for the album. With the amount of heavy drum work presented, these resting points give the album an energy recharge.
“Nissim” is the song on the album that leaves me in awe on every listen. Named after his grandfather , this is one of the most sublime states of composition GLK has ever reached. There is a transferring of energy between the modern drum and production work of the LA beat scene and the mystic nature of the yiali tambur that is the main melody of the song. I picture looking at 50+ foot waves when I hear a song like this as it puts me into a deep meditative and reflective mood. It’s a relaxing and soothing piece and is the song I feel makes the record one of the most forward thinking electronic albums of the year. “Keep It Simple Stupid” with Shigeto has a omni presence in the bottom end, shooting out waves of sonic bliss on the top register that speaks of the Middle East again. The drum work is incredible, towering in 32nd notes with precision and fire that all break down at the drop of a dime with quick rolls. It’s an incredible feet accomplished with live electronic drum pads.
Dimlite, one of my favorite producers out right now, takes partnership with GLK in the piece “Seven Years of Bad Luck for Fun”. Another dark window of sound becomes evident in this track, with interlocking samples and synths that move in cycles. The mix is really alive on the song with the amount of panning that occurs. The break down and build up in the middle section of the song is one of my favorite moments on the album. This is modern sci-fi horror music that relies on tones of a sub world, the heart of the drum and thundering bass fills. The ending section is surprisingly beautiful and serene though. There is a lot more space used in this ending section than most of the song calls upon. The end of the album is near and the remaining six minutes are given to the GLK solo track “In The Dark…”. This is the song on the album that reminds of the voice of The Mars Volta. Highly metallic and psychedelic, this is a great ending to an album that stops at nothing to present a world of sounds unlike anything else. Gonjasufi makes a small vocal appearance and the rest of the music is given to the layering symphonic essence of the modern experimental electronica world GLK is helping to pave into genre form. Cello, deep swells of texturized synth, tightly woven drum work and dynamics for miles, this the type of ending I crave for albums to contain and leave the last note on. It had been awhile since I encountered an album where a nice portion of dead space leads the dedicated listener into a bonus section of music. That situation holds true with Breakthrough as the ending section reprises with a very special closing statement that is minimal, subdued and elegant in design but is emotionally as powerful as anything you can experience live from the man.
I really feel Breakthrough is a masterpiece. It took me many encounters to come to understand the record but it hit me like a ton of bricks the deeper I became familiar with the subtle intricacies of how this album is put together. The Gaslamp Killer has been in the game for a long time and now he has come full circle with his first debut full length on Brainfeeder, Breakthrough.
All photography by Oliver Walker
Last month, the mood was ecstatic at the weekly Low End Theory beat night in a way unlike many other nights held at the prestigious event. 5 years after the birth of not only a club event but a distinct movement in current music, Low End Theory was celebrating its birthday under the falling sky of Southern California in a beautiful time of year to be here. All the residents were in house: Gaslamp Killer, Daddy Kev, Nocando, Nobody and D-Styles. The evenings smooth transitions of residents and guests were a strong indication of the bond the Low End family has created over the last 5 years of constantly holding it down in the LA area. Within these five years, residencies have expanded into Japan, New York and now San Francisco.
Low End Theory’s 5th year of existence was a landmark statement to the community of LA and experimental electronic music at large. Nocando, D-Styles, and Daddy Kev got things started with Nocando reminding the audience that Low End was one of the very few all-ages venues, which the crowd cheered by raising either hands holding cans of pabst or empty ones emblazoned with X’s. Nosaj Thing took to the stage with a rare turntable performance playing a sort of tribute mix to Low End residents and frequent performers, ending with Birthday Music by Gaslamp Killer.
The climax of the evening was with no doubt the surprise guest appearance of Mix Master Mike (fucking unreal) gracing the Low End stage. The level of energy was high upon Mike’s visual contact with the audience. At various parts of the night the age of the building was shown by the feeling of the floor shaking to the beat. Though Mike’s computer was still present, it was awesome to see the level of turntabalism that Mike aka The Serial Wax Killer continues. Mix Master Mike is and will always be one of the king’s of the decks. Experience a really raw audience capture of what Mix Master Mike brought that evening here. DJ Nobody got onto the stage to take over shortly after Mike’s set, after which Daddy Kev, D-Styles and Nocando took turns to close out the night. 5 years in the making and Japan, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco are deeply embedded with the presence of Low End Theory and the circles of those who create with them. What’s next?
- Oliver Walker and Erik Otis
dub verb \ˈdəb\ – 1: to alter the soundtrack of (an old recording, film, etc)
2: a. music a style of record production associated with reggae, involving the removal or exaggeration of instrumental parts, extensive use of echo, etc b. (as modifier): a dub mix
3: : to trim or remove the comb and wattles of
4: the new sounds added to a film or tape.
lab noun \ˈlab\ – a place equipped for experimental study in a science or for testing and analysis; broadly: a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation, or practice in a field of study.
dub·lab – a non profit public music internet radio station and live collective of electronic and analog oratory and ocular artists.
12-year – The ripe age for a great fermentation of qualities and flavors.
Dublab 12-year – A celebration of artists, their live experimental history, and their nonprofit outlet to their fan base. A Culmination of modern history in experimentalism and multidisciplinary arts with emphasis in electronics.
The Dublab 12-year anniversary went down this year and was held at ATX: Atwater Crossing Arts & Innovation Complex. The event was spread out between three stages in the complex. After entering the venue, you are greeted by really nice people who are trying to give you free things: stickers, cds, and other jazz. I queried whether or not that table of iphone4 cases is up for grabs and to my surprise they were. Naturally one case per person; after receiving a classy free iphone 4 case from one of the sponsors I was into the thick of one of Dublab’s most impressive events.
Feeling slightly flattered and slightly more elated, became saturated immeidately into the world of the 12yr-anniversary for the prestigious Dublab organization. The first stage, the courtyard, is your introduction to whatever absurdities the night may hold. There is an inexorable rotation of DJ’s throughout the entire night, you can always count on this area to have sounds constantly cycling, waiting to reach those passing or stopping by. The schedule is hard to follow because artists off the formal schedule keep chiming in for a bit and spinning records for what seems to be random amounts of time. This stage seems to be the feel-good stage where artists can step out of their immediate styles and play whatever they damn-well please. As a member of the amoebic like audience, you have the same liberty of staying, going or just passing through on your way to another area offered for this event.
Waltzing through the corridors takes you to the next stage, the AT1. This serves as the main event stage and was site for some of the best sets I have seen in a long time. The room was enormous as was the size of the stage set up. In the far back were tables, chairs and, naturally, a bar. An adjoining wall was adorned with couches for the less vivacious and the more exhausted patrons present that evening. With the amount of stimulation occurring, exhaustion was inevitable by ends night.
Jaunting further down the rabbit hole brought me outdoors where, initially, I was greeted by the Hit+Run t-shirt screen-printing station (for those less familiar with the scene you can choose your logos and print your own shirt.) Jumping off the low ledge upon which Hit+Run was perched brings you to LA’s infamous taco trucks. Five to be general, and no tacos to be precise; these trucks wafted your parched mind and stomach with delicious aromas that either made you full and happy, desirous and empty, or damning yourself for eating before you came.
Again you traverse the electronic circus grounds and jump over an even smaller wall, skip through the parking lot, enter the glass door -making sure to keep quiet, in accordance with the sign, as not to disrupt the angry seeming Shakespearean actors troop- and flow effortlessly into the final effort of the Dublab spectacle. This is where you find yourself in perpetual motion falling down the rabbit hole. This is…The Goldilocks room. There are no words that can do such a place justice, especially with a bias to one trivial opinion or another. The room is a gritty warehouse with large opaque-glass windows –which were hit with pretty and vibrant orange spills of light from outside with visuals encompassing all interior walls. This is of course the visual installment/experiment and a staple of the modern electronic beat scene. The 60′s psychedelic scene isn’t so far away from what was going down here and the visual presentation had a lot to do with this connection. There were projectors on numerous walls, a dj in the front, and a man generating analog visual occurrences on a large projector in the front of the room.
The performers, dj’s and producers of the evening served the night well, placing an emphasis on the constantly shifting pulse of modern electronic music and particularly th0se who have been associated with Dublab’s rich legacy for these past 12 frutful years of their existence. Teebs, The Gaslamp Killer, Daedelus and Take aka Sweatson Klank brought the crowd to a very comfortable and relaxed mood by the end of the night. All of the main performers blended a very unique type of energy in their sets that was unlike any others from their colleagues. Collectively speaking, the selection of these artists really made this a special evening to be a part of and the presentation of it left many of the people with us speechless at the end. It was easily one of the most cohesive branching of bills I have experienced in the many shows I have seen for the artists who frequent Dublab and Low End Theory.
This evening was all about the state of modern west coast electronics from the last 10 years and everyone displayed this rich culture the entire evening. Teebs has a very relaxed, spiritual and glossy feel to his creations, you become transfixed and hooked to his collage work and sheets of sound. His movements on stage seem so flawless and in control while on the other side of the coin Gaslamp Killer really shows you what it is like to go nuts and love every moment of it. This type of duality occurred in many instances and for all sets. The photography captured from the Sound Colour Vibration at this years 12 year anniversary Dublab event depicts the rich color and vibrancy that this night blossomed into and the overall aesthetic Dublab has been giving the world for 12 years.
- Erick R. Wilczynksi and Erik Otis
Check out our favorite pictures from the hundreds taken by the following members of the California chapter for SCV’s photography team: Oliver Walker, Erick R. Wilczynski and David Acampora.
All photography by Oliver Walker
Arrived in time to catch Boombaptist. The name makes some sense of this gruesome duo, one half plays the hype-man while another lays down the bass. They come from texas and are prepared to take the left coast by sword.
Natasha Kmeto is a beat-maker and vocalist heralding from Portland, Oregon, her sound produced from a bewitching brew of computer clicks and tribal influences. When she sings (and boy can she) the personal and enchanting addition of live vocals lathers up her wet and crunchy sound with a coat pure flavor, tasting great until it is drowned out by a symphony of tribal drum clicks. Some well timed head-banging got the crowd involved with some of the bigger sounding beats of the evening.
FREE THE ROBOTS is the stage name of Chris Alfaro. This incendary fellow took to the stage, releasing chunky lethargy with a baptismal of bass on top. Harmonies of psych jazz blend with the digital and analog to create flowing electronic jazz compositions. Running bass, breakbeats, and free-form piano titillate the ear before the crunchy electronics really hit. Oliver Walker
FREE THE ROBOTS
FREE THE ROBOTS, GASLAMP KILLER, and NOCANDO
DADDY KEV and NOCANDO
SCV visits the infamous Low End Theory
Mux Mool, Mike Eagle, dirtRAID + All Residents
(DJ Nobody, Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles, Nocando and Daddy Kev)
Visuals by Major Gape
August 3, 2011
All photos by Oliver Walker
Check out the full set at our FB page HERE
DJ Nobody and Gaslamp Killer got the speakers buzzing Wednesday night. Gaslamp Killer’s taste in music is definitely free-range. A strange mix of Beatles and spaghetti western bass, 808 thump and B-movies, Ozzie classics and xXx. Not to mention world music from Istanbul and ‘No Quarter’ from Tool and a little brand new Hudson Mohawke. “This is Low End Theory,” he announces to a screaming house.
Daddy Kev then rocked out some new Jonwayne before D-Styles took to the stage. D-Styles is incredible and smooth with quick mixes. I do believe I heard a little ‘Trouble On My Mind’ and some Bassnectar.
dirtRAID came on and got real raw. Straight from the monitor, crunchy filth personified. It must take some talent to make such objects sound so good.
DJ Nobody’s set was preceded by an announcement from Nocando that someone was about to get pregnant. The cuts were slick, the breaks were head-bangable. I heard a little Weeknd and a little Drake so the pregnancy rumors were perhaps true; that’s real baby-making music right there.
Mike Eagle definitely makes you think with his lyrics (“I bend the same laws that put a monkey on the moon”) but he also has some treats for the common man striving for success (“High IQ but no credit score”). The ‘Party People Get a Chorus’ and ‘Pop Culture’ is represented with an Aqua-Teen Hunger Force reference. I like his music because I have to listen to it again and again, it’s crafted that well to demand it.
Then Daddy Kev came at us again, select cuts and precise slices dazzling the ear. I think he got the biggest rise of the night from the crowd with his signature slinging of digital aggregate. Summoning sounds out of an iPad, he rocked back and forth like I imagine Hendrix would with a guitar. He even brought a little classic rock sound to the party when he cut into The Entrance Bands ‘Grim Reaper Blues‘ for a little bit, which was a personal highlight for me. The Entrance Band + Daddy Kev = Madness.
Mux Mool should make movie soundtracks as his pacing is incredible. His set was a performance as opposed to fitting as many fist raising anthems into his time slot as possible. But when he is ready for it to hit, he lets it hit hard.
After that, Gaslamp Killer came back with more of his eclectic selections, but we shouldn’t have been surprised because he warned us via twitter earlier in the day. Gaslamp Killer was still up there destroying it with NoCanDo when I had to jet out. Select clips from Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ”Holy Mountain” played on the projector screen as as my sweat solidified in the cool Los Angeles air. – Oliver Walker
Check out the full set at our official FB page HERE
NOCANDO and GASLAMP KILLER
DJ NOBODY and NOCANDO
MIKE EAGLE + FRIENDS