WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23RD
SOULECTION // Q NIGHTCLUB
Remember back in the cassette tape days, when recording songs off the radio was the only way to compile artists you liked in one format? Last night’s Soulection showcase was a walk down mixtape memory lane, dropping classic crowd pleasers such as Bell Biv DeVoe’s Poison and an unexpected guilty-pleasure: Daniel Bedingfield, “Gotta Get Thru This.” The insane amount of talent it took to integrate heavy heaters and old school jams was driving everyone out of their minds. The party vibes were strong, and the place was full of smiles and shouts, and it was like stepping into a music video.
NICOLAS JAAR // THE SHOWBOX
The musical intelligence of Nicolas Jaar is off the charts. Whether you’re listening with your mind or your hips, it’s obvious that what you are hearing is brilliant. He opened his set with the sounds of an art auctioneer, rattling off prices in the 80 million dollar range, and it was clear that he was making a statement about the value of art and the modern divide between the haves and the have nots. In fact, as a conscious listener you want to know the origins of every sample, even if it is in a different language, because with Nicolas, everything is so purposeful. With his genius understanding of music theory and culture, he is reinventing dance music that is invulnerable to scrutiny.
RAICA + COLDBREW COLLECTIVE // RE-BAR
It’s strange to call technology organic, but Raica and Coldbrew Collective used their analog controller as extensions of their biological forms. The music breathed and the visuals grew. Rather than picturesque landscapes, they showed true nature: evolution, survival, life and death. The beauty of their improvisational performance is that it was very conversational, meaning each artist introduced a subject and the others responded with their own thoughts and theories. Although they were speaking in tongues of beats and pixels, the audience understood what they were saying.
Photography: Kevin Dofredo, Ella Ordona, Stephen Reigns
Writing: Robin Guilfoil, Janice Ibarra
Thursday, September 24
FILASTINE // THE SHOWBOX
Grey Filastine came onto The Showbox stage with a rusty shopping cart full of percussion instruments from around the world. “I probably know a lot of you and I’m so happy to be back in Seattle.” Filastine was a prominent figure in the Seattle WTO protest in 1999 as the founder of the Infernal Noise Brigade, an anarchist drumline with a goal to disrupt the meetings while emboldening the activists. He was accompanied on stage by Javanese rapper/singer Nova (her first time in the United States) and their set was full of eclectic beats with live percussion and complimented b dystopian imagery. He is a veteran revolutionary and his homecoming at The Showbox was full of likeminded friends.
DISCWOMAN // YOUNG EJECTA // NATASHA KMETO // JLIN // RE-BAR
The only man to take the stage on the warm, fall night was there to fix sound equipment. After fiddling with the soundboard, the Discwoman stage was once again a ladies-only territory. By the end of the third set of the evening, Young Ejecta had the growing crowd of chic chicks and big-haired gents grooving to her airy vocals and ‘80s synthesizer meets heavy bass tracks. Those still nodding their heads and drinking beer eventually succumbed to the emergent dance party with Natasha Kmeto’s club bangers with an electronic twist. Psychedelic visuals of scantily clad 1930s music stars pirouetting in tune to the contemporary beat epitomized the feeling of timelessness and mystery as dancers and DJs delved deeper into the night. By the time Jlin took over for the final act, a full-on house party (via Re-Bar) was underway complete with DDR-style battling, booty shaking, and shirts swinging in the air. As the lights flashed on sweaty faces and tired legs eventually gave way, it was evident that there was nothing docile or sweet about these women commanding the collective body to move.
Photography: Kevin Dofredo and Chris Hill
Writing: Robin Guilfoil and Amanya Moloba
Friday, September 25th
MOTOR // THE CROCODILE
A dark cloud of thick eerie frequencies, filled the empty spaces with thumping thunder, swallowing the crowd in its nasty industrial smog. SHIFTED unleashed filthy layers of continuous high-hat cluster bombs and the audience shook from their explosions. The build of isolated instruments got lost in an orgy of electro-tinged madness which had the perfect balance of intensity and dance-ability. Followed by CONTAINER who opened with an ultrasonic siren, calling an assembly line, while simultaneously, a group of avatars appeared behind him. His fusion of noise created feverish excitement, like an ant colony always moving and never breaking out of formation.
BODY LANGUAGE // Q NIGHTCLUB
M.A.N.D.Y relentlessly provided fast-paced chromatic bass licks coated in a healthy bit of funky twists. With a BMP of 128, the same as your heartbeat, the rhythm was naturally hardwired into our bodies. The groove was so contagious if you weren’t dancing you found yourself unconsciously tapping your foot. With the appropriate salt and peppering of vocal samples no one refrained from chanting along. Everyone’s automatic primal response from the sound created a wave of body rolling. We were offering a sacrificial dance, waiting to be chosen by the tech house gods.
LUCID DREAM // NEUMOS
Photography: Kevin Dofredo, Stephen Reigns and Ella Ordona
Writing: Robin Guilfoil and Janice Ibarra
Saturday, September 26th
BEAT ALCHEMY // THE CROCODILE
“DRINK MORE WATER!” This was the call and response chant that Mick Jenkins used to engage his audience. “Water” in this context is truth and as a conscious hip-hop artist in modern times, he is on a mission to answer the overflowing questions that the millennial generation drown in. From resource preservation to the obsession with social media, no topic was too deep or shallow for him to navigate. He performed his mixtape “The Water[s]” which lyrically focuses on such topics and sounds as if the beats are bubbling up from the depth. By delivering profound monologues between songs, he encouraged cool confidence and intelligence to a youthful audience which salivated at every drop of his delivery.
Sunday, September 27th
TEAMSUPREME // CROCODILE
“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Although it was the last day of Decibel Festival, the Team Supreme showcase was probably the most energetic show of the week. Rebellious spirits created havoc on the dancefloor at The Crocodile. Djemba Djemba’s earth shattering tracks and Mr. Carmack’s machinegun high hats compelled the crowd to stomp their feet and head bang as if possessed by the music. Throughout the night, the excessive trap cuts grew harder, faster and heavier, almost to the point of torment. The experience was like a communal exorcism to let out any lasting desires from a long week of great electronic music. We left it all on the dancefloor.
Local artist spotlight
There are two types of artists: those that react to outside influences and those that conceive from within. Neither is a superior way to create, but Shaprece falls firmly into the later category. She is an introvert and her music is her diary. She is meditative and deliberate, hesitating to share her gifts with the world because they are so personal. Years ago, she got her first taste of being a performance artist but she found that she was being portrayed as a funky/soul singer and that definition didn’t seem to fit. So she retreated within, like a hermit, and waited years to refine a sound that was uniquely hers. Those years of introspection have paid off and she has emerged better than ever with a lot of secrets to share. Her 2014 EP, aptly named “Molting,” revealed her sultry voice paired perfectly with strings and electronic harmonies. Her live performances are highly curated and rare so don’t miss the chance to see her Sunday, September 27th at Showbox Sodo with Thievery Corporation.
Local artist spotlight
The beauty of Raica’s music is that every live performance is an experiment that she and the audience witness together. Very little is planned, she breathes life into each track and then nurtures them as they live and die naturally through the twists of her analog controllers. She is an expert improviser; melodies and rhythms weave in and out of focus while multi-dimensional soundscapes unfold and then collapse into themselves. As a listener, it’s not always obvious how to describe what you are hearing, but “pushing people’s boundaries is a good thing,” she says. “It would be a boring world if we didn’t experience other types of art than the type that we are most comfortable with.” By embracing that ethos, she is a constant source of inspiration in Seattle’s electronic music scene for over a decade. Catch her and the visual team, Coldbrew Collective, as they kick off 12th Annual Decibel Festival with their live audio/visual Optical Showcase on Wednesday, September 23rd at Re-Bar.
Local artist spotlight
Hypnosis is a state of human consciousness involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness and an enhanced capacity for response to suggestion. Music can be a method of hypnotism and Josef Gaard is an excellent practitioner of this technique. His music, an ingenious blend of techno beats and ambient atmosphere, relaxes and liberates your conscious mind while awakening your subconscious. “It’s a patient approach,” he says. “I like creating tracks that are puzzle pieces to a greater picture. There are moments when people can pick up little realizations.” His music seems structureless but that is only because he is so good at concealing his craft. Like looking out the window of a train at night, he takes you on a journey across a dynamic landscapes without you ever realizing it. He and his crew, secondnature, have created a unique Pacific Northwest aesthetic and sound. Check out their showcase Wednesday, September 23 at The Crocodile.
Local artist spotlight
IG88 is one of the most versatile artist in this year’s Decibel Festival. He is performing two separate shows, one as a solo performer and one as a collaborator, and this prevalence reflects his tireless attitude towards making music. He is not contained by any genre, producing for hip-hop, soul and electronic musicians worldwide, and he loves to mix different genres to create new context for seemingly contradictory styles (see his Young Thug remix on soundcloud for a perfect example). He is also a master of found sound, like recording his daughter’s hiccups with his iPhone, that he brings back to his studio to add to his arsenal. “Whatever I’m inspired to make at any given time, I just make and find a place for it later,” he says. “I have a large palette to choose from. When it comes to playing live I sort of just pick and choose from everything.” You have 2 chances to experience IG88’s infinite styles, Wednesday, September 23rd opening for Nicolas Jaar at The Showbox and Sunday, September 27th performing with Shaprece at Showbox Sodo.
- Off Season - Designed by Colby Whitlock
- Walker - Designed by Genevieve Walker
- Ecks Design Works - Designed by Daniel King
- Nitta - Designed by Dion Buchanan
- Sho - Designed by Angelina Furusho
- Concept: Moksha
- Writing: Robin Guilfoil
- Direction & Photography: Kevin Dofredo
- Styling: Janice Ibarra & Kevin Dofredo
- Assistance: Jeremy Viray