KEXP's Audioasis has been championing local music for over 15 years--local rock music. Now it's opening up the airwaves to Seattle's electronic-music scene, which has been gaining national recognition since the most recent turn of the century through outstanding work by Orac Records, Electric Birds, Scientific American, Bobby Karate, Jacob London, and others.

"The underground electronic scene in the U.S. is growing," Audioasis host Michele Myers says, when asked about this special edition's impetus. "Seattle is soon to be one of electronic music's hottest new spots. As a DJ, I've been spinning electronic music for years on KCMU and KEXP and am an active part of the local scene. So I approached Audioasis producer John Richards with the idea for an all-electronic local show, and he loved it."

Popular bands USE and Mercir will play live on the show, and Myers will interview FCS North, DJ/producer/Decibel fest member Paul Edwards, and reps from new Northwest-based electronic-music community site looproom.net. She will also delve into the city's e-music history, including Steve Fisk, IQU, and Pigeonhed. "I wanted to pay tribute to the wealth of talent in the local electro DJ and laptop scenes," she says.

In July, I wrote a piece that criticized KEXP's dearth of electronic-music programming and ignorance of Seattle's electronic community. Myers' political response is, "I think any press electro music gets in Seattle right now is helpful. The bulk of people seem unaware that there are artists and clubs in their own neighborhoods that are busting out with a whole new scene."

Maybe the "bulk of people" would be more aware if KEXP gave Seattle-centric electronic music more exposure--besides from 1 am-6 am--(though it's nice Fourthcity's comp is charting). But aside from DJ Riz and Saturday night's Sonarchy show (midnight-1 am), KEXP avoids techno and the more adventurous strains of electronic music as if they were dead air. If you're a producer whose tracks lack vocals, you can pretty much forget about getting love. Trouble is, most of the best electronic music is instrumental (e.g., local world-renowned Decibel participants like Lusine, Bruno Pronsato, and Jeff Samuel).

Nevertheless, as Edwards notes, "I think things are changing at KEXP, albeit rather slowly. The Audioasis show… is a large indicator that they are taking notice, but it isn't the only one. Jerry Abstract was recently asked to be part of a live broadcast on a Saturday night. [Greg Jaspan] has been a big supporter of us and plays electronic music on his variety show in the early mornings. I think these are good signs, even if the daytime shows haven't altered their programming."

This Audioasis show is a good first step toward acknowledging Seattle's rich talent pool, but we need great leaps forward. DAVE SEGAL

Audioasis, Sat Jan 8, 6 pm-9 pm, 90.3 FM, www.kexp.org.

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