On Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Los Angeles was given a special presentation of some of the best modern electronic and hip hop music at the always packed Low End Theory. Including Baths, Dauwd, Ta-Ku, Dark Time Sunshine, special guest Busdriver and all of the Low End residents (Nocando, GLK, D-Styles, Daddy Kev and DJ Nobody), the evening was filled with an entirely different atmosphere than usual. The connectivity power was activated right from the beginning and a deep sense of passion swept through the Low End audience with superb sets from everyone on the bill. As the official return of Baths to the Low End Theory, this Anticon artist has been canvasing the world with his musical craft and Low End Theory was a must stop event for this visionary. Everyone on the bill that night was in full stride with various projects, highlighting one very small pocket of the collective artistic momentum that is existing in the 2010′s.
Baths has been promoting material off his upcoming album scheduled to release with Anticon in May of this year and anticipation has been raised with the type of set he gave to the city of LA for Low End. London’s Dauwd is also in promotion of new material with the February release of a bass heavy and experimentally electro EP by the name of Heat Division (Pictures Music Records). The vibe of the room changed entirely for his set, defining why he has been creating the type of buzz there is around him. Ta-Ku is one of the hardest working individuals in modern producer culture, claiming a large body of networks that include Project: Mooncircle, Soulection, HW&W, Sunday Records, Mushroom Music and much more. Low End Theory is an evolving platform for many different producer types and Ta-Ku brought his unique presence to the night without flaw. He has the kind of presence and sonic type that fit seamlessly with the past foundations of some of the best sets at Low End. The moment he got on the Low End stage, you could just feel what was about to happen.
Dark Time Sunshine is on the last leg of their US tour with Void Pedal and Moodie Black and stopped by Low End Theory for this one off date. Members Onry Ozzborn and Zavala create a very progressive and unique type of hip hop that is mind blowing in lyrical form. The beats are full of color and life, with deviations to the norm that are starting to become the norm in hip hop. Experimentally driven, the music is large and taps into a completely new type of atmosphere for the genre. There set was yet another completely unique experience that was highlighted by the contagious good vibes that were in the crowd. Busdriver was a special guest for the evening and displayed his technical and creative prowess on the mic for LA.
Low End Theory became a very different experience on March 20th, 2013 then ever before and was a night we feel honored to have captured with the photo collection that is below. The residents of Low End Theory have constantly been sharpening their skills over the life span of Low Ends existence and it’s astonishing to see it all continue to elevate on the level it did this last week.
Baths, Ta-Ku, Dauwd & Dark Time Sunshine + All Residents
March 20, 2013 @ Low End Theory Los Angeles, CA
All photography by Oliver Walker
Brooklyn’s ShadowBox (Bonnie Baxter) has been on one interesting path since her break away from the live band scene and into the shoes of a full fledged experimental producer and sound visionary. With a configuration of techniques and tools that stretch into the future and well into the past, the electronic and analog worlds collide in wondrous and dreamlike procession, leaving the trails of something that feels as romantic as it does abrasive. ShadowBox’s vocal work is the most stunning characteristic in her works, becoming as beautiful as any large landscape you could ever imagine. With dreamy sounds that feel like they are coming from another decade, production work that is unrestrained in emotional climax yet so pastoral and picturesque, there is no denying the feeling of what a collaboration between Lapalux and Flying Lotus would sound like. I can’t help but think of 90′s R&B music when her vocal work slithers its way into my headphones, allowing for time travel inside of your mind on every track. There’s no way to ground yourself into one movement or era of sound with ShadowBox. The electronic additives and percussion ground the work from shooting directly into the cosmos, especially with the tracks that glisten with small undertones of double vocal layers and a psychedelia in the overall melodic direction of the piece. There is a metallic state present as well, giving it that sleek and mind blowing aura that Missy Elliott and Timbaland innovated over a decade ago.
ShadowBox has been preparing the release of an EP with the UK imprint Pictures Music for some time now and next month will see the release of this highly anticipated EP Haunted By Colors. Co-produced by long time collaborator of ShadowBox Icky Doome, the two have created a spell binding ride into modern electronica and have given further proof into how collected this current stream of creation has become that is known as experimental beat music.
Haunted By Colors starts off with the driving and highly colorful piece “AM”. Towering synth, seductive vocals and a vestige of compartments of sound that exist on so many levels, the track becomes a highly evolved escape into so many sonic ideas that it becomes a new every few intervals. The composition is given a cosmic feel with the added nuances that surface here and there. The songs rhythmic foundation is menacing and becomes increasingly heightened in one of the instrumental sections of the albums. The way this first song is put together blows my mind and really speaks volumes on the vision and attention to dynamics that I love about modern electronic music. The song constructs and deconstructs within minutes of one another, creating a true emotion canvas of sound.
“D 60″ is the next track on the EP and sends the musical essence of the albums flow into an even higher state of mystery. When the bass kicks in from the elongated intro and first verse, the vocal musings become mystic and are otherworldly in so many ways. Synth moves around the mix like nothing is able to hold it back and the beat shines non stop. It’s one of those tracks that feels just as dark as it does light. This entire album contains that relentless balance of fulfilling lifes potential, not just a scene or one corridor of thought. The pieces that really pushed this album over the edge for me was “Loveless Child” and “Running Like A Ghost”. To explain these songs would be impossible from how timeless they truly feel. It’s some of the most incredible production and vocalization I have heard all year and is something you will love if you are enjoying the current state of electronica.
What is so moving about Haunted By Colors to me is the way the small nuances and sounds are achieved with such power and poise. Small shifting tones create the slightest wavering and dream filled tones, allowing the power of the vocals to get sucked inside of these small pockets. When the slightest synth runs across the mix and made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, I knew I was inside of something that I didn’t want to leave from. Translucent melodies are constant and the juxtapozed state of harsh tones comes in the rhythmic side of things, giving it that gusto that you can expect in a world where hip hop and electronica production are blurred into nothingness.
Haunted By Colors finds voyage in six breathtaking pieces and becomes another guide book into the compositional state of modern electronica and its true evolution. This is one of the most sophisticated electronic albums of the year and easily stands up against the best out there. If you are into Lapalux, RYAT or Bjork, you will love what ShadowBox has offered up in the stunning vehicle of sound known as Haunted By Colours.
“The title Haunted by Colors was inspired by the vivid dreams I was having at the time where no dialogue was present, just these reoccurring images that would naggingly imprint themselves into my head. Also, the anxieties and fears of waking life.” – ShadowBox
We received this surprisingly breath-taking but very short album today from Pictures Music, a UK based record label who has released some really good sounds that we are finally catching up to. ShadowBox is the self-reliant musical pathways of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Bonnie Baxter. Prophetic, complex yet catchy electronic music is becoming the norm in these days, with artists like Bjork and other vocalist, producers and instrumentalists paving the way to a new ideology in the creation of music. ShadowBox’s musical atmosphere reminds me of artists like Bjork, Tokimonsta, Lapalux, Portishead and Emika. A 12″ vinyl is in the works that will include these two tracks.
Brooklyn’s Bonnie Baxter emerges bellowing from a dark sea of sizzling electronics. Kicks and degraded snares fight cascades of bleeps falling delicately over harsh electronics. ShadowBox is powerful, poised… her live act shows a wild and uncontrollable force who at times lets the listener into a delicate and reflective world just for a moment. It’s just ShadowBox and her machinery joined by Icky Doome live. – Pictures Music
Shane McAdams “Pen Blow 70″
Ball point pen and resin on canvas over panel 24 x 24 inches
courtesy of the artist www.shanemcadams.com
All tracks written and performed by Bonnie Baxter
P & C 2012 Pictures Music LTD