Emerging from the English cultural revolution of the late 1980’s comes Ott., a multifarious DJ artist, whose organic dub creations are equally balanced takes on the celestial and earthbound His sonic soundscapes are a treasure chest of world rhythms, synthesizers and drum machines. A progressively interconnected combination of instrumentation and bass-heavy beats that takes chill-out to a whole other level.
Regularly performing at some of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, Ott and his band make a West County stop this week to kick back and no doubt make music to some of NorCal’s finest indica. Turn down the lights and position yourself for meditation to this fan-compiled 3-hour collection of Ott albums. It will most likely induce many gloriously reflective hours of universal awareness.
See Ott perform with his live band All-Seeing I at Juke Joint this Thursday night at Hopmonk in Sebastopol. Also featuring DJs Kilowatts & Lenkadu. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Hopmonk Tavern. 9pm. $25. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 707.829.7300
It is a talented artist who can transport listeners from sitting poolside under a warm Barcelona sky to wandering a mystical forest in northern England, all in span of one album. Welcome to the auditory intricacies of Bonobo.
Simon Green, better known as Bonobo, is steadily perfecting his aptitude for transference. Emerging from Britain in the early 2000’s, the trip hop DJ, producer and composer is known as one of UK’s downtempo pioneers, melding ambient electronica with hyper modified instrumentals and beautifully soulful vocalists.
Building on an early digital background, Bonobo has embraced the electronica live-band movement. He is creating a personalized style that is both experimental and selected with care. At times, his band consists of up to 9 members, bringing studio-quality tracks to life on stage. While some of the instrumentation is easily recognizable, other parts are harder to pick out. Harp and bells on “Noctuary” from the album Dial ‘M’ for Monkey build an ambient, almost ethereal soundscape. Though one might be hard-pressed to notice the nylon guitar and ukulele on Black Sands’ “Stay the Same”. Speaking to NPR about his methods, Bonobo says: “I want to try and be as representative of the process as I can. Rather than just playing back samples and sounds from a laptop, I try and break it down to the original parts that went into the process.”
Bonobo’s sophomore record, Dial ‘M’ for Monkey (2003), is a full-bodied journey into electronic soul music. Upbeat tempos keep pace on funky dance tracks like “D-Song”, adding in keys and heavy snare. “Change Down” comes across with a jazzier flavor. All this sauce lasts about a third of the way into the tracks, changing up in linear fashion towards a more liquid flow as the song progresses. “Nothing Owed” is the real gem of the album, a sonic assemblage of Latin beats and graceful horns; it is a mellow serenade with a feel that’s Pink Floyd meets Federico Aubele. If you appreciate complex, overlapping genres spun into “chill out”, you’ll love the entire album.
Bonobo released Black Sands in the spring of 2010. It is a tighter, more break-beat driving project, and heavy on samples from the different world music traditions. Mixing Asian string melodies with synth keys on “Kiara”, he switches up with undeniable American soul on “The Keeper”. Bonobo has a strong talent for blending house beats, complex bass lines, and classic rhythms. His selection of vocalists is equally brilliant, namely Andreya Triana a London-born gospel funktress who adds sexy sophistication to the live band. A favorite is the hip hop remix of “Eyesdown” with Andreya and DELS off 2012’s Black Sands Remixed album. The downbeat, lounge nature of this album is closer to drum and bass, looped and layered, abstract and emotional.
Delve into Bonobo’s visionary soundscapes at Juke Joint, this Thursday, January 10th @ 9pm, $5-$25 at Hopmonk, 230 Petaluma Avenue, Sebastopol, (707) 829-7300
The first time I heard about Digable Planets, it was from someone on LSD. So it’s no surprise that 17 years later the group’s Ishmael Butler, a.k.a. Butterfly, has started an elusive lysergic-leaning project called Shabazz Palaces. (You may have read about it recently at a certain M.I.A.-bashing indie site.) They—he, whatever—play tonight at Hopmonk’s Juke Joint, and for anyone into tripped-out hip-hop in the vein of Anticon, Edan or MF Doom, it’s a rare chance to catch Butler on some out-there levels.
I love this surreal pastiche video for “Belhaven Meridian,” shot in Watts:
And how scattershot are Shabazz Palaces’ song titles? Here’s the tracklist to the first EP:
1. kill white t, parable of the nigga who barrels stay hot, made by firstname.lastname@example.org
2. 4 shadows”noah mission as told by plcr dougie frum up the block from granny’s Subsonic custom crowns
3. 32 leaves dipped in blackness making clouds forming altered carbon
4. blastit at the homie rayzer’s charm lake plateau bbq july at outpalace pk
5. Capital 5, recorded after hrs at the gun ballad resource cntr on s Sweeper st.
6. my mac yawns i go on to make this darksparkles move call it: as the americans say, middle section made by plcr runner reg on his 30′ chromitar
7. a mess, the booth soaks in palacian musk, palaceer in vintage LRG, yes pure NS, uppowndet watermelon lips beat
I am not kidding.
Shabazz Palaces plays tonight, July 15, at the Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 9pm. $15. 21+. 707.829.7300.
It was the fucking awesomest one-song set.
It was 11pm. Three bands had already played. I was planning on taking off to Sebastopol, had already said my goodbyes, and was literally halfway out the front door of the 600 House when Not To Reason Why started playing. Awww, shit. After the first couple notes, I was lured, like a magnet, back into the living room. How could I leave? When it comes to Not To Reason Why, you can’t even pretend like there’s an option. Just give in.
The Carlo Rossi was flowing. Fools were juiced. And if you’ve never heard them, Not To Reason Why are on some heavy-ass, pulsing, move-your-body epic-type tip. The song: “Zeitgeist.” The living room heaved, hands shot into the air, and the band played intensely, furiously, like it was the end of the world. Howls of joy. Heads shook in disbelief. Jessie Mae jumped up on top of an amplifier. For six sweet minutes, miracles came true.
Then the cops came.
People are always talking about how there’s nothing to do around here, but tonight was a pretty good example of why that’s untrue. Here it was, Thursday night of all nights, there’s a killer house party that gets busted by the cops and yet there’s still more to do. Juke Joint with J-Boogie. I headed west.
I pulled up to the Hopmonk Tavern a little before midnight and saw, I kid you not, a guy and a girl, standing and squatting next to each other in the parking lot, both talking to each other and pissing on the asphalt, simultaneously. Love works in incredible ways.
Inside, J-Boogie had just started his set with a megamix of Stevie Wonder songs—it being Stevie’s birthday—and the place was hopping like mad. Bodies on the floor, busting some serious moves. Breakdancers in the corner. Girls dancing on the stage. Again, the magnetic pull erased any choice other than to get down. Even the wallflowers were dancing in their shoes.
Out in the beer garden, I ran into a buddy of mine and asked him how, in his opinion, a small town like Sebastopol was able to so overwhelmingly support a night like Juke Joint. “It’s new,” he said, citing that everything fresh and hip has its initial glory period. Having worked at now-defunct Barcode in Santa Rosa, he could be said to speak from experience. “It’ll die down,” he predicted.
He could be right. But judging from last night’s huge crowd, and judging from the hypnotic spell J-Boogie had over everyone, it was hard to imagine an impending lull on the near horizon.
I’ve dug J-Boogie for almost ten years now, and the bulk of his set—after the Stevie Wonder tracks, and before the Motown / Atlantic megamix at the end—was a slick reminder of why he’s so great. Crazy, rhythmic grooves from all around the world; none of them recognizable, all of them dope. Also, J-Boogie’s one of the few DJs who can drop a long three-minute drum break with intros on the upbeat and full-on long paces of total silence and still keep the crowd not only moving but hollering with excitement. Hell yeah!
More photos after the jump.