Lovecraft Technologies' Alchemically Altered Musick
Lovecraft Technologies featuring DJ Prince Charming and BurningHearts Gogo Girls
Rendezvous Jewel Box Theater, Sat July 5, midnight, $4 (free if you attend one of the BurningHearts' earlier shows).
On a dead Sunday night at a tatty Chinese restaurant/bar in the ID, Lovecraft Technologies rappers Prince Charming and Confuz spit inspired freestyles over karaoke versions of Young MC's "Bust a Move" and Sir Mix-A-Lot's "Baby Got Back" to a single-digit crowd as if it were a Key Arena concert audience. The doomed lobsters in the restaurant's fish tank leap out of their prison and scatter throughout the joint in appreciation.
The scene typifies Lovecraft Technologies' "anywhere, anytime" urge to entertain unsuspecting crowds with lyrics that ricochet between high- and lowbrow, surreal and scientific, sexual and downright psychotic. Too weird and amorphous to fit snugly into any music-scene niche, Lovecraft thrive when they crash house parties, karaoke bars, and random events around town, harvesting sonic confusion and verbal absurdity wherever they bring their boombox and go-go dancers. That they're all way more sexy and intelligent than most Seattle musicians makes their obscurity and inability to land choice gigs even more baffling.
To begin to understand Lovecraft Technologies' myriad perverse facets and outsized personalities, check out their stunning website, www.lovecraft-technologies.com, as some of the site's outlandish content may even be true. Ultimately, it doesn't matter. Through rococo flights of imaginative fancy, Lovecraft have forged a mystique just as fascinating as the Wu-Tang Clan's. Charming says that like the legendary Staten Island posse, "everybody [in Lovecraft] is a star or should be a star on their own. We're all frontpeople. But we feel by working together we can make better music." Because Charming says this wearing a red turban and Warhol-white hair, he is believable.
Lovecraft's core consists of three multi-instrumentalists: Charming (Joshua Darlington, also a talented filmmaker), Confuz (weird-bearded, eyepatch-wearing goth MC Curtis Shocker), and Philosophy Major (the son of an ex-priest and an ex-nun). Other members include Kalena First-Rider (MC Fetish, the black female Eminem), Jeremy Moss (MC Ninth Circle of Hell, owner of the Zero BPM record label), and exotic dancer Bianca Bandicoot (AKA Bianca Mendoza). "We're trying to get the most talented people we know to build on the strengths of everybody and create some next-level shit," Charming states. "We call Philosophy Major 'the Professor' because he goes out of his way to study the most out-there literature. Confuz has sick MC skills. He can rap in Spanish and plays amazing drums and guitar."
"He plays the drums with his teeth," Philosophy Major notes, "which is rare."
Lovecraft's roots go back to mid-'80s Detroit, where Charming and Major tore through music genres like whirling dervishes. Their paths eventually diverged; Charming globetrotted with a vengeance, picking up skills from master musicians in India, Morocco, Tanzania, and L.A. and attending NYU's Tisch film school, while Major studied improv with jazz sax/flute legend Yusef Lateef. The duo reunited for 1998's Fantastic Voyage (on the much-respected Wordsound label); the disc's an unsettlingly trippy ionization of dub, ambience, and acid-fueled ramblings. Besides working on Lovecraft's severely twisted gothic hiphop/illbient/exotica, Philosophy Major will drop an album of potent postmodern dub via Wordsound this fall, titled Hypnerotomachia.
"My shit ultimately is about alchemy," Major declares. "I'm turning lead into gold. I try to take people to a different planet with my music."
Many auxiliary Lovecraft members seem to dwell on this different planet. The ensemble has welcomed many bizarre characters into its fold--some, like Confuz, become key players; others end up stalking the crew and sleeping on their porches, raving out of their schizophrenic minds.
"The real criterion for getting into Lovecraft is creativity," Major says. "Unfor- tunately, that often blends into madness. So we find ourselves in mixed company. It's sort of worth it in the end, but there are some frightening moments. We're into people exploring all aspects of themselves, but some people are skipping out of orbit."
What makes Lovecraft unique, believes Charming, is that they "have all these out-there influences, but we really do try for pop."
"Fun is walking on the edge of what is acceptable and what is not," Major theorizes. "We're going to take the world by storm--no, by tropical sunbeam." I believe him because he's drunk on Steel Reserve malt liquor as he says this.