Music

You Like What You Like, But You May Also Like This

A Stereotypical Guide to Decibel Festival

You Like What You Like, 
But You May Also Like This

AMON TOBIN A soundtrack for the next century’s most potent drug experiences.

Now in its eighth year, Decibel Festival is among the premier electronic-music/digital-arts events in the world. Director Sean Horton and company have booked 144 artists over 31 showcases—five days and nights full of stellar bills showcasing a diverse array of styles. It's kind of overwhelming. We're here to help. With things of this magnitude, it's best to keep an open mind and be adventurous—and hydrate. But for your comfort-zone-loving ass, we're going to match Decibel's potential audience with the performers they'd most want to see. Because we love you.

People Who Are ON LSD OR Want To Feel Like They Are: Amon Tobin's ISAM audiovisual sets have been earning universal reports of awe. YouTube videos hint at the other­worldly ocular bedazzlement that it delivers, but you need to witness this in person to get the full sensory orgasm. Sonically, ISAM is a hella strange journey into psychotropic abstractions, at times coming off like the infernally whimsical Residents on rhythm steroids. One can imagine it as a soundtrack for the next century's most potent drug experiences. In short, ISAM looks like it will be Decibel's ultimate eye/ear bomb. (Thurs, 10:45 pm, Red Bull Music Academy Presents, Paramount, all ages)

Lovers of Beachy Pop Heard Through Seashells in Quicksand: The moniker oOoOO is also a common reaction this SF-based producer's tracks elicit. oOoOO (aka Chris Dexter) writes honey-glazed pop songs submerged in gauze and goo, generating an ectoplasmic ecstasy-in-slow-motion effect. If you try to dance to this stuff, you'll likely end up looking like those plants at ocean's bottom, swaying in dignified, graceful ways. Seattle duo Beat Connection also work in that sigh-intensive realm of dulcet songcraft. (Fri; Beat Connection at 10:30 pm, oOoOO at 12:30 am; Warm Oscillations; Crocodile; 21+)

Dilettantes: Moby, DJing at Decibel? Kind of shocking! But Mr. Horton assures us that Moby can still move large crowds with classic techno and house tracks. As long as he doesn't play anything from his latest dud, Destroyed, I'm willing to give Moby the benefit of the doubt. Er, "Go!" (Fri, midnight, No Sleep Till Brooklyn, Showbox Sodo, all ages)

People Who Are Stoned Or Want To Feel Like They Are: Mad Professor—one of the most enduring and challenging dub producers in the genre's history—made his name in America with No Protection, a phenomenal reimagining of Massive Attack's Protection, which he blew out into a psychedelic hall of mirrors. The Prof has gone on to keep dub weird and inventive throughout the '90s and '00s. Canadian/Dutch producer Twilight Circus Dub Sound System (aka ex–Legendary Pink Dots bassist Ryan Moore) has similarly nudged dub tropes into the 21st century with one of the most out-there arsenals of sounds in the game. (Sun; Twilight Circus at 11:15 pm, Mad Prof at 12:15 am; dB in Dub Finale, Neumos; 21+)

Fans of Broken Fax-Machine Sounds and Refrigerator Hums: These sorts of showcases display Decibel at its most intellectually rarefied, and they're usually fest highlights. This year's agenda is looking very promising, too. Most notable for aficionados, German glitchwerks king Oval makes a rare appearance. His newest releases, O and Oh, find Oval reinventing his sound with a more organic—yet somehow still alien—sound palette, but somehow retaining his trademark beautifully fragmented track structures. Instead of vandalizing CDs to make them skip with seemingly random eruptions of static, Oval now splinters what sound like guitars and keyboards over sinuous drones and possibly "real" drums. "Genuine" or "simulated," though, the instrumentation's characteristically skewed and the effect disorienting. By contrast, New York duo Mountains opt for placid, pastoral states through guitar and synth drones. Their music sounds like Fennesz remixing Eno's ambient recordings in an Appalachian cabin. (Oval on Sat, 8:30 pm, Optical 2: Grains of Sound, Benaroya Hall, all ages; Mountains on Fri, 6:30 pm, Optical 1: Sine Your Name Across My Heart, Benaroya Hall, all ages)

People Who Like to Get Shit-Bassed: Roughly speaking, dubstep has split into "brostep"—LCD, ballistic woob-woobage—and that brainy, hydra-headed beast that some call "post-dubstep." Much of the best output from the latter amorphous movement comes from Britain's Night Slugs label. Decibel wisely booked Girl Unit, Bok Bok, and Kingdom, all of whom are molding dubstep's atoms into alluring, peculiar shapes. Fellow Brit Zomby has moved from rehabilitating rave and hardcore-jungle machinations (with Where Were U in '92?) to recording vividly emotive compositions on his 4AD debut, Dedication, which sounds like James Blake's freakier cousin. Classy... and bassy. (Girl Unit, Bok Bok, and Kingdom on Thurs, 9 pm, Night Slugs Showcase, Baltic Room, 21+; Zomby on Wed, 12:30 am, Decibel Opening Party, Re-bar, 21+)

Those Who Can't Get Enough OONTS/OONTS, Etc.: As usual, Decibel spoils y'all. Charismatic house legend Green Velvet is a must-attend no-brainer. Detroit's Kyle Hall is a rising house-music convention-buster who killed at dB two years ago. German vet Atom™ has about 30 pseudonyms and even more ways to twist techno and other genres into interesting convolutions. The Miracles Club bring drama, Honey Owens's dreamy vox, and psychedelic sensibilities to house. (Green Velvet on Sat, 10:30 pm, DecaDance, Showbox at the Market, all ages; Kyle Hall on Fri, 12:30 am, TRUST Showcase, Baltic Room, 21+; Atom™ on Wed, 11:30 pm, Decibel Opening Party, Re-bar, 21+; The Miracles Club on Fri, 10:30 pm, Loft Revival, the Woods, 21+)

Instrumental-Hiphop Heads: Japan's DJ Krush has been a sorcerer of cinematic, sampladelic hiphop for 20 years. His exotic tracks rarely fail to intrigue. LA-based Brainfeeder artist TOKiMONSTA crafts enchanting melodies amid pastoral-urban beatscapes for a lushly gritty listening experience. (DJ Krush on Wed, midnight, Beat Prodigies, Neumos, 21+; TOKiMONSTA on Thurs, 8:30 pm, Red Bull Music Academy Presents, Paramount, all ages) recommended

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Nordic 1
Excellent preview Dave!
Posted by Nordic http://www.myspace.com/nordicsoul on September 28, 2011 at 2:29 PM · Report this
slade 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDmbKzaCk…

I like it. good groves at any tempo
Posted by slade http://www.youtube.com/user/guppygator on September 29, 2011 at 12:26 PM · Report this

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