Photosynthesis Festival 2.0. @ Trout Lake, WA (August 2009)
To be honest, I knew little about this festival, which began last year but my crewmates had told me that the lineup included the headliners Amon Tobin, Daedelus, and Kid Koala and that the festival was pretty unique in a summer filled with music themed festivals all around the US. The organizers behind the event are coming from a strictly DIY philosophy and say that the festival's goal is to "take your dreams, ideas and skills and weave them into nature, music, art, and education. The goal is a sustainable community where everyone is simultaneously the student and teacher." The hope for this second year of the North West fest was to "focus on sustainability through permaculture, renewable energy, water conservation, holistic healing, waste reduction, and wild crafting," and it seemed like they accomplished this, pretty much, although the turnout of about 2000 for such a really wonderful event was less than I thought it deserved.
Last night at Amoeba San Francisco, Amoeba's DJ series Mandala & DJ Quest presented a very special Mandala with a DJ Project set!
The DJ Project featured youth DJs from Horizons Unlimited and the Quest School of DJ Arts. The DJ Project is run out of Horizons, and is a safe place for at-risk youth to gain arts education as well as the empoyment and entrepreneurial skills they need to jump start music-related careers. Among other things, they learn about small business management, event production, audio production, DJing, breakdancing and community service.
With a set up of 6 turntables, countless mixers and laptops, the eight youth DJs tore up the stage with their 15-20 minute sets. The DJs played a good mix of Hip-Hop, Top 40, Classic Rock, and R&B, but there was also dancing, live Hip-Hop, and there were two MCs that kept the energy alive in between sets, and gave shout outs to all the performers.
This event was presented more as a showcase then a typical DJ set or in-store performance. These kids have been working so hard throughout the last few months honing their skills, and this was their opportunity to shine and show off their mad talent on the wheels of steel! It was a pleasure to work with this organization and see that our future generations still/will have an appreciation for tangible music, and that spinning vinyl is still an art form. Music education is the key to keeping arts alive for everyone and these students are well on their way to bright futures!
Another nite of Minimal Mahem @ M/R/X! L.A.'s Testicular Manslaughter has developed into a very interesting minimalist outfit-- check out their video below. Houston based Twisted Wires are on the TMU imprint Italians Do It Better, home of Glass Candy. Their tracks definitely have a darkened dance vibe, but there's plenty of oddities weaved in to enrich their sound. An above average bill for sure, and you get to smell all that is Chinatown on your way to and from your dark and dank parking spot.
No bluetoothed security forces!
No Melrose Place bit players!
This IS Los Angeles!
Saturday August 22nd
@ Roberto's 686 N. Spring St. (at Ord)
Miss Ess: You have a lovely new album -- where was it recorded?
Cass McCombs: Ariel (the producer) subletted an old house in Hollywood he found on craigslist and we recorded in the living room, in addition to various other spots around town.
ME: How did you decide what production moves to make and how to shape its sound? Love the bit of country twang added by the pedal steel sounds.
CM: I don't know much about production, that's not my line. I'm just trying to make it as simple as possible, as delicate as possible, so the personality and emotion of the performance is a straight-shot to and from the heart, direct. Several of the songs on this record were recorded one hundred percent live, including the vocal -- now that's a real test of will power. That was the hardest thing I ever had to do in a recording situation; it takes true endurance. It's no problem for Barbra Streisand, but it's hard work for me.
ME: Where did you write most of the tracks for the album? Did you have anything in particular in mind as you wrote?