Time, time, time—Extracting musicality from the moment through new releases by Colin Dyer, Only Now aka Kush Arora, and DJ FLOW
An exclusive new interview with Dena Beard, Executive Director of The Lab SF + more new releases from Strawberry Hat, Non Plus Temps, Mars Kasei, and Kelly McFarling
A woman arrives from Sweden to perform an hour of minimal drone on the organ at Grace Cathedral. From Japan, a man arranges 100 toy keyboards in a dozen concentric circles, meticulously setting toothpicks in each one to sound out a continuous maximalist drone. From Philadelphia, two philosopher-founders of Black Quantum Futurism present three days of divine jazz, poetry, art. A man from the South sings of how he snuck off the slave ship. A Pentecostal tent revival. And on and on.
Imagine that one organization is primarily responsible for making sure these mind-bending events happen in San Francisco, transcending all traditional expectations of live music and art. The name of this organization? The Lab.
Originally founded in 1984 by five art students from San Francisco State University, The Lab is a Bay Area institution that has been devoted to the avant-garde for decades, though its survival has never been guaranteed. But thanks to people in the Bay that care about pushing art to the limits and supporting artists that explore those liminal spaces, The Lab lives on today in possibly its most potent form ever.
Read our interview with Dena Beard, Executive Director of The Lab. And check out our wildly eclectic playlist of artists that have performed at the Lab in 2022.
REVELRY OF BLEEPS AND BLOOPS
Lovers of bleeps and bloops, gather round for an ear-devouring time of experimental noise revelry. Enter Vector Caliente, the new album by Colin Dyer on Miami label Schematic Music Company. The opening track “Nightmare Symmetry” lends a taste into the beautiful but strange mechanics of the album. Experience forbidden geometries that construct and deconstruct themselves in real time. Pleasant squelches and wobbles abound, apparently soundtracking the otherwise indescribable state of inter-dimensionality (or some other liminal space). Malleability is the name of the game here, as Colin Dyer plays with time like a particularly gummy play-dough, and asks: what could transpire when language and the fabric of time and space are pulled apart? A thrilling descent into noisy “IDM.”
— Elise Mills
NOISE IN TIME
As someone who already cannot disconnect spirituality from music, I find so much to meditate on when listening to Timeslave II, a new work by Only Now aka Kush Arora. After all, music is like life—it is only possible in time. And unlike a picture, you can’t pause music and still see the frame—it literally exists only moment to moment. On this new album, Kush continues breathing energy into the themes he originally explored on the first volume of Timeslave (released by Mexico City label Infinite Machine in 2017), stretching across the canvas a wide array of twittering percussion, deep bass, whipping synths, and occasionally even gentle melodies. The highlight may be the least “musical” track here—“Shiv (Vengeance 2)”—which wraps vocal samples and synths in an all-encompassing wash of noise, disturbing yet awakening.
Also worth checking out: Under his own name, Kush Arora recently released industrial dancehall double single “Spies on Me” b/w “Eyes on Me” in collaboration with Jamaican artist I Jahbar on the mic.
— Ronny Kerr
TUPAC SHAKUR HYPNOSIS
I’ll admit it: The first volume had me a bit skeptical. But Loops You Can Listen to Over and Over Vol 2 won me over. Exactly as advertised, Oakland producer DJ FLOW presents a second set of 10-minute-plus tracks, each one a short sample looped over and over and over again. This one’s a special one for fans of 2Pac, as it features loops of classic funk and R&B samples by Bill Withers, Zapp, Kool & the Gang, and others, which the rapper and his crew later flipped for some of his most memorable songs.
— Ronny Kerr
“Bop-A-While” by Funkwrench Blues ft. Joe Louis Walker
blues, rock, San Francisco
Bed of a River by Kelly McFarling
americana, folk, soul, Bay Area
Unexpected by Mars Kasei
drum and bass, electronic, Bay Area
Desire Choir by Non Plus Temps
punk, rock, Oakland
House Shoes by Strawberry Hat
lofi, pop, psychedelic, Oakland
Our top show recommendations for the coming week:
[rock] Slangiversary: 6 Year Slang Church Anniversary ft. Kevin Nichols, Hooplah, Big Dumb — Nov 11-13 at Bandcamp Oakland, Stay Gold Deli, and 924 Gilman
[punk] Non Plus Temps (record release), Body Double, Carl With People, Murder Murder — Nov 11 at Thee Stork Club
[indie] Healing Potpourri, Luke Sweeney, The Tim Cohen — Nov 11 at Amado’s
[experimental] Stephanie Hewett: (E)cho (Q)ueue — Nov 11 at the Lab
[club] Alan Braxe, DJ Falcon, Mishka, 3kelves, DJ Cira — Nov 11 at 1015 Folsom
[punk] Neutrals, Collate, Street Eaters — Nov 12 at Thee Stork Club
[hip hop] Jada Imani, Marjé, Dani Offline, 4dhila — Nov 12 at the Chapel
[club] Amor Digital 4 Year Anniversary ft. Juanny Depp, 99%, Yuca Frita, Bonita Baby — Nov 12 at El Afters
[classical] Contemplation: Works by Bach, Vasks, and two Bay Area composers (Mary Watkins and William Susman) ft. the San Jose Chamber Orchestra conducted by Barbara Day Turner — Nov 13 at the St. Francis Episcopal Church
[rock] Mushroom, Patrick Winningham — Nov 13 at the Makeout Room
[ambient] Ana Roxanne, Rachika Nayar — Nov 16 at Cafe du Nord
[rock] Thunder Boys, Fuckwolf (album release), Brigid Dawson & the Mother’s Network — Nov 17 at the Knockout
[indie] Torrey, Artsick, Smile Too Much, Michael Mouse — Nov 17 at Thee Stork Club
[rock] Inaugural Benefit Gala Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sweetwater Music Hall Featuring Bobby Weir & Friends — Nov 17 at Sweetwater Music Hall