Someone who wanted to remix my music sent me their remix of a song by the band Trifonic, which caused me to investigate. It turns out Trifonic is an electronic music duo comprised of brothers, based out of SF. The music hovers somewhere between IDM, downtempo, and pure genius. It pretty much blew my mind, and its the clear candidate for electronic music album of the year. One of the brothers is BT’s guitar player, and there’s a clear musical connection between BT’s This Binary Universe (the most important electronic music album of the decade IMO) and Trifonic’s Emergence. The best part – it’s free. They’re pulling the ole pay what you want model. Its kind hard to find the free download link though (its under “FREE VERSION”). Definitely worth a listen or ten.
Anyhow, they played an early show last friday @ 330 Ritch, so I went down to check ’em out. The place was chock full of SOMA hipsters, and I certainly was the only dude wearing a white teeshirt. Everyone was beautiful or trying to be beautiful, and I was greatly amused by the whole scene. Drama was everywhere. It one of the first times I’ve been at a show and not talked to anyone. I went to the bar, and the bartender informed me that the eight taps were off – all they had were bottles (bud, corona, etc). So F it – I’m not paying six bucks for shitty beer. I was early enough that there was no cover, so the whole thing was totally free. Bonus.
The set was pretty stellar musically – they were playing remixes of the tunes that I was pretty familiar with. They fall into the same trap that almost all electronic music bands do – most of their set they are staring at their laptops, twiddling knobs. The guitar guy was playing guitar and bass much of the time, but not shredding or anything – more rhythmic soundscapy type playing. Sonically it drew me in, visually a little less.
I met up with peeps at Gestalt after the set to celebrate Angel’s birthday. The mission peeps were full of tatoo’s and piercings, and all 15 beers on tap were $4. It felt a little better then usual to be there.
Yuri’s Night, or “nerd day as NASA”, was one of the most fabulous events I have ever attended. It was the cumulation of extreme geekiness, burning man, circus, and music – both of the jamband and electronic varieties. Much like Burning Man, there were two totally different, yet equally important, parts of the event: daytime and nighttime. There was far too much to learn – so I opted out of most of it. I did see some amazing music projects, discovered that bio-feedback is the coolest thing ever, and learned that exponential population growth is going to destroy us. I’ve started using this last phrase to finish many sentences: “We better get dinner started before the population explosion kills us all.” Its kinda fun, slightly alarming, and certainly annoying, which in turn makes it more fun (for me).
There was lots of great talks, which I missed most of. There was tons of interactive technology and art which I played all day with. There were a couple downtempo artists whom I adore that played in a giant hanger- Zoe Keating, Tycho, and Digitonal. Later this space turned into a full on Rave, featuring acts like Tipper and Amon Tobin. It was looney tunes, I tell you. They even created an amazing chillout space under a giant airplane wing. The whole event exceeded my high expectations. We (Stiners, Tony, and I) arrived when the gates opened at 2pm, and left after midnight (it went till past 2am, and Stina was dancing to Particle most of the way to the car). Elissa did a far more thorough job that I’m going to describing all the things she did. I’m just happy to say that it was AMAZING, and I encourage everyone I know to go next year. The only disappointing thing was when Telestar (a band consisting of Phil Lesh, John Molo, Steve Molitz, and a trumpet duder) did a free-jazz style set that lacked any sort of cohesion. Probably the only time in my life I can walk away from those musicians to go take in a trapeze act.
Here’s a bunch of fantastic photos that Tony took:
The amazing Zoe Keating:
My favorite shot:
That’s right. I saw Ulrich Schnauss. I know. Please put your underwear back on and scrape your drooling jaw back back off the floor. Unless you have no idea who that is, which is most likely the case.
Ulrich Schnauss produces some amazingly beautiful downtempo electronic music. His second album, “A Strangely Isolated Place”, pretty much blew my mind. So I was most shocked to discover that he was coming to SF, what with him being German and all. I’d assume he touring to support his latest disc “Goodbye”, which I honestly haven’t heard. Its gotten mixed reviews.
I caught a little bit of the opener opener, “Manual”, which seemed pretty much in the same genre. While I certainly enjoyed the fleeting glimpse into their world of psychedelic soundscapes, it was a stark reenforcement that I really have no interest in pursing a more active live performance route for my music. Watching them sit in front of their computers and keyboards, tweaking everything with that blank look on their face just doesn’t do it for me as an audience member. I would prefer to simply listen to it at home, where the beer and the sound is better.
I ran into Art from Submodern, who is deep in the final stages of producing their new cd. I’ll be psyched to check it out when its done. The second opener, fleeting joys!, went on at 10:45, and I really did not enjoy them. Thus I stepped outside for a time killing slice of pizza, which is just as tasty as a “I’m about to pass the fuck out slice” of pizza.
I was pretty beat by the time Ulrich finally took the stage at midnight. Its Wednesday and I’m old. So WTF. Being the headliner and all, he had some sweet projected visuals. Beyond that, he was blankly staring at his giant mixer, computer, and electronic gadgetry, twiddling it all around. It would have been perfect had I been able to lie on a couch and take it in, but alas, that was not the case. It sounded sweet, but I would have just preferred to buy a mix of the set and listen to it at home.
So I bailed at 12:30.
I ran across a really cool IDM (Intelligent Dance Music) album on the internet. This dude, Resynthesize, released his debut album “Heart and Soul Direct” for free on the internet. Its a bit of departure from the melodic downtempo music that I write – its very beat focused and uptempo. I think it kicks ass.
I learned about a new weekly electronic music event in SF called backlit lounge. Its basically a chance for geeks like me to whip out their various electronic music gear and perform for a crowd of mostly like minded people. On Wednesday, I went downtown to go check it out. I was there on the early side, 9ish, and there were few people present. One dude was doing his thing with a laptop and drum machine, and it was sorta interesting, but didn’t hold my attention. I liked the socializing tho – I know so many musicians, but I know literally no one who’s into the computer music.
The next performer, jaswho?, rolled in with a bunch of different gear I’ve never seen before, and oddly no computer to link it all together. And holy shit did he rock the joint. Too bad the joint consisted mostly of me. Noneless, I got the fuck down. It was awesome. He seamlessly connected his songs together like a DJ, only using a bunch of cool looking electronic music gear. He won at least one new fan. I’ll try to grab some video from a dude who was taping to illustrate his awesomeness.