Posted by Billyjam, August 23, 2009 11:17am | Post a Comment

Photosynthesis Festival 2.0. @ Trout Lake, WA (August 2009)

I always jump at any opportunity to travel and explore new places, and to check out innovative new ideas, especially when music and good friends are involved. So when my crewmates in OkiZoo -- the hip-hop band that I was a member of when living in Japan up til about four years ago and am still a member of even though we are now scattered all over -- invited me to meet them two weekends ago in Seattle, Washington with the purpose of joining them in a performance at the still burgeoning Photosynthesis Festival 2.0. festival at Trout Lake, August 7 - 10, I was on the first plane out west from Maryland.

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.

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DJ Quest & DJ Project's students rock Amoeba SF!

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, August 22, 2009 02:44pm | Post a Comment
by Tarin

amoeba dj quest

dj quest @ amoeba

Last night at Amoeba San Francisco, Amoeba's DJ series Mandala & DJ Quest presented a very special Mandala with a DJ Project set!

dj quest @ amoeba

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!

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M/R/X Tonite!!!

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, August 22, 2009 01:15pm | Post a Comment

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 valets!
No bluetoothed security forces!
No Melrose Place bit players!

This IS Los Angeles!

Saturday August 22nd
Club M/R/X
@ Roberto's 686 N. Spring St. (at Ord)
2nd Floor

Cass McCombs Chats

Posted by Miss Ess, August 21, 2009 07:29pm | Post a Comment
Currently on tour and one busy guy, Cass McCombs is out there supporting his recently released, gorgeous and critically acclaimed record Catacombs, on Domino Records. You can hear a few tracks from the album on his myspace page. Here, he chats with me about, among other things, that new album and its creation, the rigors of touring and his dream show billing.

cass mccombs

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 catacombs cass mccombsthe 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?

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Posted by Billyjam, August 21, 2009 06:26pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Six: 08:21:09 (c/o Luis)
Gas Mask Colony
1) Gas Mask Colony Genuine Masters of Ceremony (Gurp City)

2) The Boy Boy Young Mess Prices On My Head Vol. 2 (Click Clack Records)

3) J-Billion The Beautiful Loser (Risky Bizness Productions)

4) Kaz-Well FIsh Outta Water (Tape Vault Records)

5) Heliocentrics Fallen Angels (Now Again)

6) Slaughterhouse self-titled (E1 Entertainment)

As my man Luis @ Amoeba Music San Francisco points out in his quick run-down of the new hip-hop top six CDs of the week, two thirds are Bay Area homegrown releases, proving the Bay (and SF in particular these days) is in a most healthy and prolific state of rap creativity. In the number one chart position is Gurp City's own Gas Mask Colony with the brand new full-length Genuine Masters of Ceremony. Also repping the Bay is Messy Marv under his alias The Boy Boy Young Mess and his second installment in the mixtape series Prices On My Head (The Money On Yo Family) Vol 2 with an impressive lineup that includes guests Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy & Lil Webbie. Meantime, SF rap artist Kaz-Well -- self described “hip-hop geek" -- has a nice retro hip-hop feel to his brand new CD Fish Outta Water which, note, is titled exactly the same as the new release from SoCal hip-hopper Chali 2na. Great minds think alike, I guess.

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