Even on relatively light opening nights, Decibel is overwhelming. For example…

Demdike Stare’s re-purposed score for this kitsch softcore-erotica/faux-existential-horror flick outclassed the movie by several orders of magnitude; I’m still trying to figure out by exactly how much. The British duo sat to the left of the screen and unspooled tenebrous drones and cobra-charming beats and eerie airs in conjunction with Rollin’s garish images. Where the director seemingly wanted us to cower in fright, we guffawed. La Vampire Nue was reconfigured into an hour for this performance, but we got the gist fairly quickly. Demdike Stare lent the farcical film an ominous gravitas it didn’t really earn—but I’m grateful that they did.

Kid Smpl
  • Heather Schofner
  • Kid Smpl

Kid Smpl (young Seattle producer Joey Butler) is an earnest disciple at the Church of Bass. His sumptuous, see-through melodies are like an anvil made out of feathers: They exude a diaphanous heaviness that projects deep reserves of emotion in every waft. I glibly created a reductive equation to describe Kid Smpl’s music, but I think it’s valid: Burial x Cocteau Twins + Robitussin + blissful mourning. His version of “night bus” is a new kind of holy minimalism, a sacred form of bass music. It’s almost too beautiful to live.

  • Heather Schofner
  • Cyanwave

The Seattle duo of Justin Byrnes and Keith Kelley were the best I’ve ever seen them, pushing out fathoms-deep dub techno that harked back to the Chain Reaction label’s glory days (Porter Ricks, Fluxion, Monolake, etc.). Cyanwave were giving Neumos’ specially outfitted subs a serious workout, with the kickdrums sounding like submarines thudding against each other. Heady stuff.

  • Heather Schofner
  • bvdub

bvdub (Brock Van Wey) looks like a hardcore tough guy who’d mosh you into oblivion at the drop of a power chord, but the sounds he creates float into the nexus where ambient, dub, and techno gather and engage in a gentle ménage à trois. His set was about pensive propulsion, divine drift, and even pastel pop balladry amid the oceanic eddies of techdubient™.

Monolake (Tarik Barri & Robert Henke)
  • Heather Schofner
  • Monolake (Tarik Barri & Robert Henke)

Monolake (German genius Robert Henke, with visual accompaniment by Tarik Barri) never fails to boggle brains with his 360º cyborgasmic sonorities. No offense to everyone else on the bill (or the planet), but Henke is totally on another level of sound design. When he finally warmed up his machines, he had everything in the room vibrating like mad with the most invasive bass frequencies I’ve ever experienced. For a while, everyone looked like jagged soundwaves. It was kind of cute. Monolake unleashed hyperkinetic, hyper-clinical techno that came from the most advanced lab on Earth, from the mind of someone possessed of a super-accelerated nervous system. I caught about 30 minutes of his algebraic cha-cha before bolting to witness Clark’s set. I'd seen Monolake about five times before, but had never had the privilege of seeing Clark.

I thought I might regret leaving Monolake, but Clark quickly allayed my fears. The UK producer was in flamboyant, post-Dilla future-funk mode, his sonic palette full of chaos, crunch, grit, and myriad extremenesses. His surprising transitions shifted from amazingness to amazingness with chameleonic élan. At one point, Clark executed a snare-rush sneer that evoked a sandblaster set to its highest level, like Squarepusher in a particularly evil mood. For a bonus, he did a little encore that went into an extra weird atmospheric vein in overtime.

Only four more nights of this, immune system...