Friday, June 25, 2010

TONIGHT! Shameless Social #2! Lusine! Solvent! Pleasure Boat! Party!


June 25th from 9pm- LATE late!!
ETG members only.

Bonkers/Pleasure Boat Showcase!!

This month we're focusing our attention towards the wonderfully quirky world of live electronics. Come early to catch Menami and Naturebot tag on the decks to warm up the floor. From there, live sets ALL night long with artists from the Ghostly International and Pleasure Boat Record labels. Check them out below...


(Ghostly Int'l- Toronto) - Live

Solvent is Jason Amm, a robot music composer, analog synthesizer fetishist, and co-founder of the renowned Suction Records label. Born in Zimbabwe in 1972, Solvent currently resides in a room full of machines in Toronto, Canada. He is touring in support of his new album "Subject To Shift" out May 25th on Ghostly.

Solvent has been releasing his unique brand of synthesizer-pop music since 1997, and is best known for his releases on Morr Music (2001's "Solvent City") and Ghostly International (2004's "Apples & Synthesizers", 2005's "Elevators & Oscillators"). Solvent has created his own unique version of electro-pop: too elegent and sincere for the electroclash set, too complex and contemporary to sound like it was recorded in 1981, and too seeped in the time-honoured traditions of melody, songwriting and hands-on synthesis to be lost in the overcrowded world of IDM. Along with some notable remixes including Soft Cell, Alter Ego, and Adult., Solvent has also contributed standout tracks to several influential electronica compilations in recent years, including "Putting The Morr Back In Morrissey" (Morr Music), "Disco Nouveau" (Ghostly International), and "Misery Loves Company" (Ersatz Audio). His songs have also been licensed to several high-profiles DJ mix CDs, including Sven Vath's "Sound of the 5th Season" (Cocoon), Dr. Lektroluv's "Lektroluv 5" (541), and Death in Vegas' "Fabric Live 23" (Fabric London). Today, Solvent is widely regarded in the underground electronica community as being the forefront of electro-pop's return to form.

UK magazine The Wire recently described Solvent as part of a new generation of composers "gleefully blurring the lines" between modern techno and vintage techno-pop. Solvent currently records exclusively for Ghostly International, and has been touring extensively since 2004, having shared the stage with Adult., Legowelt, Bola, Junior Boys, Matthew Dear, Lusine, Lowfish, and more.

Lusine (Ghostly Int'l- Seattle) - Live

Jeff McIlwain has been producing his visceral, melodic strain of abstract electronic music as Lusine for 10 years now. Originally a Texas native, Jeff attended CalArts in 1998, studying 20th-century electronic music and sound design for music and film. Soon after, he met Shad Scott and put out his self-titled debut as Lusine for Isophlux. Since then, McIlwain relocated to Seattle and began steadily releasing his music on Ghostly International. As Lusine, Jeff is one of Seattle's most revered and internationally respected producers.
McIlwain has performed throughout the US and abroad, including a set at London’s esteemed Fabric nightclub, and an ambient multimedia performance at Seattle’s Triple Door in which he collaborated with video artist Scott Sunn. McIlwain has recently been involved in two film projects, co-scoring David Gordon Green’s 2008 film Snow Angels (with Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell), and scoring Kevin Bray’s 2009 film Linewatch (with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Omari Hardwick).

McIlwain’s 2009 release, A Certain Distance, has gone on to become his best reviewed and best selling album to date. In addition, 2009 has brought Lusine several high profile festival performances, including DEMF, MUTEK, Sonar and the Decibel Festival.

Relcad (Album release party; Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

Relcad is a world-class and heavily-trained experimental house/techno musician that conjures up wild soundscapes and stunning atmospheres that combine the pulse of house music, the detail-centered tweaks of micro-dub, and the relentless energy of techno. Last year he released a track on Peloton Musique alongside a smattering of internationally-respected artists, of which Dave Segal of The Stranger stated the his "piece damn near stole the show, even from esteemed figures like Markus Nikolai, Jeff Samuel, Lusine, and Twerk."
Live PAs in the past have seen Relcad building unrelenting and momentous energy over a heavy bedrock of unclassifiable sounds and heavy bass. A Seattle artist who plays out infrequently, Relcad is one of the most remarkable and hidden gems in a city full of them. Relcad will be celebrating the release of his phenomenal new full-length Capital Island on Pleasure Boat Records, which will be available at the show and released nationwide the following month.

Potatofinger (Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

World-class sound mangler and beat mathematician Eli Hetrick, aka PotatoFinger, is an amazingly deft musician that has such a singular, unique, and developed sound that you'll swear you've never heard him before. Thick grimey bass, breakbeats cut to shreds, and details that take months to lay down.
Self-described as "polymorphic beat structures juggling/phasing/interspersing with atmospheric melodic concoctions", Potatofinger has been blazing around the music charts of KEXP for the last year and has been receiving nationwide airplay as of recent. Expect to hear much more in the future from him.

Ya No Mas (Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

"Hello ETG / ALC members allow me to introduce myself- My daylight persona's name is Aurelio but within the midst of the subversive twilight hours I am become YaNoMAs; I believe that YNM is the living metaphor of a restless angst that compliments to a breaking-out of a missunderstood culture based psyche. What I envision for my ETG set is of a sound that is temporal, brooding, bubbling and deeply intertwined with continuous complexities and variations of rapid fired low-subcycles; perfect enough to loosen the plexus and revert us back to the primordial state of future contentiousness's. My influences are my labelmates on Pleasure Boat Records and other committed Seattle artisan staples looking to create their own niche within the fabric of sound."

The Algebra of Need (Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

Lydia, aka The Algebra of Need, is an eccentric genius in her craft- the manipulation of live tonal clusters and tension used to build fugues of the future and meditations on hidden corners of the world. Some of the most haunting and brazenly bizarre music happening in Seattle, The Algebra of Need's music is still kept in balance by the alternating beauty and extreme sound manipulation present in her work. David Segal of The Stranger stated "the Algebra of Need is a maverick on the level of Aphex Twin and Raymond Scott." With almost no internet presence or scene involvement there's nothing that can be expected of her next performance.

Heads will be turned (360 degrees).

Mr. Zillion (Eccentric Bliss/Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

A concert violist and professional sound designer turned dance maverick, Mr. Zillion is a masterful producer (you may also know him by his breakbeat/ravecore persona Rave On It). His braindance and tech-house concoctions recall the slickness of Detroit techno and extend melodic funk energy to the horizons.

Menami (Shameless) vs Naturebot (Pleasure Boat Records) - DJ set

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Exclusive Shameless interview with James Holden

On July 3rd, Shameless and Neumo’s proudly present the Seattle installment of James Holden’s highly anticipated “DJ Kicks” world tour, with Eva, Levi Clark and myself (Adlib) opening. Holden has always been a huge influence on my DJ career, so I was honored when he interrupted his busy tour schedule last week for a brief interview. He squeezed me in at 9:00 am my time, just before departing the UK to play back-to-back bookings at the world-famous Sonar festival in Barcelona and the next night with Michael Mayer at Mondo in Madrid. We had a sprawling conversation about his DJ Kicks mix, the direction of dance music over recent years and his feelings on heading an independent dance music label. I’ve included the most important highlights below.


It's been 5 years since you last visited Seattle. In your view, what have been some of the biggest changes in your music and dance music in general during that time, particularly related to how you approach mixing and making it?


“A lot has changed in the last five years and during that time I unfortunately haven’t been in the US very much. It’s getting much harder to get a Visa to come over, so it’s been a bit weird for people (who expect a certain kind of music out of me). Everything around me has changed in the time since they (Americans) have last seen me, and I of course have changed in reaction to what’s happening around me. Any musician is like that... If you don’t get to see me very often then it’s quite a jump.

But at the same time there are always these constant threads that run through music, which is what the mix CD is all about. There’s some really old music on there and there’s music that doesn’t seem related, but it’s all the same basic idea carrying on through time. What I’m into now is what I’ve always been into -the melodic and hypnotic kind of feeling. It doesn’t matter that the sounds and the influence have changed so much because we’re all dancing to the same thing in the end.

I remember the arcs of scenes from when I was younger. You saw progressive get really big, then sort of die or go very small again. The same thing has (recently) happened with minimal techno and electro, following this similar curve of everything becoming a cliché’ and the whole thing collapsing in on itself. You start to wonder if it’s always going to be the same thing. You know, these cyclical arcs carrying on…

But dance music’s been around about thirty years now. It’s as old and trad(itional) as rock and roll was when we were really young kids.… the kids coming through now, the youngest producers, they’ve grown up with Warp Records being stuff they just know. Like Guns-N-Roses was to me, Aphex Twin can be to someone else. So they have a completely new picture of electronic music in the end. There are some really innovative people who aren’t making (any specific genre) but get lumped into that category, like Zomby with dubstep for example. They’re making rich and diverse music that can survive outside of these stupid (genre) circles that have seen clichés.”


You “discovered” several now prominent experimental and ambient techno producers like Nathan Fake, Extrawelt and Fairmont and later signed them to your label. What guides you when seeking out new music and what is a deciding factor when you decide to forge a long-term relationship with someone by bringing them into border community or collaborating with them on production?


“Well I can’t quite take credit for discovering Fairmont. He had his first release on Sender. I remember buying it on vinyl and thinking it was the most amazing thing ever. Otherwise, we just listen to the demo box and make our way through methodically and slowly. We’re a million miles behind. It’s always been that if we like the music, we’d want to work with someone. But it’s been quite nice in that everyone whose music we’ve liked has turned out to be a pretty cool person. And they all get along with each other. Everyone in the label is friends with each other, rather than it being just an outwards business… We do our best to help each other out and pass each other influences. Hearing Nathan’s half-finished tracks has always been super inspiring for Luke Abbot or me.”


It’s not only your production, but also your overall musical worldview that seems to have a ‘progressive’ bent. “The Idiots are Winning” seems like a not-so-subtle critique of contemporary society and music politics. What are your thoughts on the relationship between music and social commentary? How do you feel about contemporary music politics? What do you think this means for artistic expression and being a professional musician?


“I really do believe that the way you decide to approach making music and running a label completely affects the way the music comes out. I’m not at all interested in music that is trying to please people or be functional. That stuff comes from approaching it with a money-making or desperate for success attitude… My personal views came about initially as an accident. I felt uncomfortable working with people with had that kind of (money-making) attitude, and after a while I realized that if you treat everyone with respect and don’t patronize the crowd by thinking they’re stupid so you have to play them stupid music, then it feeds back…

It was like an evolutionary thing. When I was really young I worked with major labels and saw the disaster of trying to squeeze music out of an artist to make another sausage for the conveyer belt. That was how bad music got created, so I sought to do the opposite. I was quite lucky to have these terrible experiences when I was young because everything was right there in front of me (laughs). It became obvious how to really make music and be happy… and the ultimate results are much better with that method or outlook. I don’t think it was intended as a political thing at all, but it sort of turned out that way, which has also turned out to be an efficient or successful way for me to work.”


What were the most exciting moments when preparing and making the DJ Kicks mix? What were the biggest hurdles with the mix and the tour?


“It was really exciting preparing for this mix. I’m sort of listening for music all the time. I always have my whole library on random play and listen for things I can pull out to DJ with. But in this case I was doing it much more than normal and some of the things we found or remembered that were quite unique and fun. But there were disappointments as well. There was this really amazing Tony Conrad and Faust record from the seventies and we couldn’t clear the legal stuff. It was a bit gutting.

It’s quite hard because of the way I mix with fitting everything in key. When I’m DJing a club I have my laptop and it’s full of music so there’s always something I can work together to create the path I want to make. But when you have a limited list of tracks (as in for a CD), you have to think really carefully about where you want to start and where you’re going. In the end, you end up missing out on loads of stuff that could of gone on the CD that I love, that I just have to put it in my DJ sets…”


Join us at Neumo’s next weekend for a better taste of Holden’s unique sound and approach to making dance music. Doors open at 9:00 and Holden’s extended (2+ hour) set begins at 11:30. Come early and stay late!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Esthetic Evolution #6- Twin Springs, ID

Ever wanted to party with a 1000 of your closest friends? Ok ok... maybe not all of them are your best friends, but there's likely only a couple of degrees of separation between them. That's how it works out here in the Northwest and that applies to Seattle, Portland, Boise and beyond. That closeness and cohesive network is one of the reasons our corner of the country has been gaining such a positive reputation for having an incredibly rich and creative music community. The folks at Esthetic Evolution in beautiful Twin Springs, ID have done a wonderful job building up their annual music and arts festival. So much so that they've almost sold ALL 1000 of their available tickets! As of this blog post there are less than 50 tickets available and they're only located at record stores in Boise.

But fret not. Shameless has one ticket available as a giveaway for some lucky reader. Email with "EE Loves Me" in the subject heading and the first person to write gets the ticket. (EDITED TO ADD... Congratulations to AshleyZ who was quick to respond and won the EE ticket giveaway!)

By the way, we've written about Esthetic Evolution before. Click the links below to check out past pictures.


Also, check out the video from last year...

Lots of great content and more information about Esthetic Evolution here.

Hope to see you on the Potato Playa!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Shameless speaks with The Naturebot! [Bonkers! / Pleasure Boat Records]

Recently Shameless met up with The Naturebot inside a computer. There they chit chatted about space time and the smell of burning circuits. We also talked about the second installment of the Shameless Social with Ghostly International's Solvent and Lusine and The whole gang from Pleasure Boat Records/Bonkers!.

You have so many great producers in PBR. Where did you gather these misfits from?

Well, we all are interested in the same angle of the music as far as I can tell- we enjoy electronic tools because of their limitless possibilities for expression and we create music out of angst about an ideal- I believe that we all express our frustration with the limits and prisons of the modern physical world but taking ownership and control back over the machines that placed us in the predicament of working endlessly in a vacuum and a lack of true and meaningful adventure on a personal level.

Anyhow, after I met a couple people (Erictronic and Rave On It) that I believe shared a portion of that angst and channeled it creatively, we started throwing shows. Its pretty apparent when you find someone that is compatible with or shares a creative vision and through the shows (Bonkers!) we threw we all met artists from which mutual respect and admiration grew.

Seeing that those involved with ‘shaping’ the electronic scene in Seattle seem to have little interest in putting music FROM Seattle on the map (that isn’t represented already), it was a natural decision to do it ourselves. We’re not the only ones out there doing this, but its downright absurd how many fans of ‘independent music’ look for the same feelings, benchmarks, and marketing schemes as each other. I don’t think Pleasure Boat aims to please crowds, just comfort those with the same fears and frustrations as us that there is others like them out in the world. And, seeing as I met and continue to meet individuals that share these feelings outside of the scene as it exists, I think that the world of electronic music is a far more widespread and multi-faceted force than ever before. At some point that will become apparent to the general public, and it seems more plausible that it will with every day.

What kinds of sound are you seeking for your label?

When I listen to music I enjoy, it always feels as if it was created in its own world- that, instead of building the regular Frankenstein of influences, there’s an intention and urge served by the music. I’m guessing the average person doesn’t associate that with electronic music or dance music, but the medium is so open-ended and fast-moving these days that its hard to not be creative. There’s an amazing amount of creative music being made right now, but so much of it strives for a communal mindset.

I hope to hear stubbornly individualistic music that exists outside of the backwards idea of being at the ‘forefront of modern music’, and I hope that the fetishization of ‘new movements’ dies off quickly as it blocks the potential for electronic music to be the new form of folk art- a way for people to tell others about their lives and experiences, and create truly unique musical worlds, using tools readily available in the modern era. Anyone with a computer can make an album and has access to tools that engineers a few decades ago wouldn’t have dreamed of.

Tell us why you are bringing the Ghostly International Showcase here to Seattle?

I got into Solvent when I started throwing shows in 2007 and was actively going to record shops and trying to find music I’d never heard. Solvent City (Solvent’s 2001 album) was in a bin and the cover was ridiculous so I listened to it and felt like I’d made a new friend. The music was so warm and dry that I listened to that album almost every day for a whole winter while stuck in a tiny shit-hole apartment. I contacted Solvent about playing in Seattle if he was available and he got back to me with a US and Canadian tour looking to get booked. That Lusine was touring with Solvent was huge, these are two artists that have been putting out records from their own fantastic worlds for years and that are both something of heroes to me. I like the physical aspect of music, but much more than watching someone shred on a guitar I enjoy hearing amazing movement and physics in the sound itself, that’s what makes my brain go crazy. Both of these artists represent that ideal and both of them are focused on melody and beauty. Throwing this night is a chance to show people a very, very different side of the dance music coin. Ghostly International is all about that, just as Pleasure Boat Records is. I’m thrilled about the showcase and know that there will be many people at the show that will walk away feeling like they found a new ideal in music. Yes, I am that excited about the show.

Are ghosts capable of faster than light travel?

It’d be nice to look forward to that, wouldn’t it?

What's next for Bonkers!?

Who knows, I’ve been attempting to return to the emptier and odder parts of the country for awhile now. Wherever I end up, the culture I live in will be represented. Albuquerque might become an electronic music juggernaut, or I might just spin acid tracks in the garage all summer long with the doors open. Music is not the most important thing in my life (I have a dog, a fiancé, and dearly miss the non-human world at large), so if my life is so full that I don’t feel that the music I love is worth spreading, I’m alright with that.

The Naturebot and Friends can all be heard Friday June 25th at the Electric Tea Garden. Check out for more info on Pleasure Boat Records.


June 25th from 9pm- LATE late!!


Solvent (Ghostly Int'l- Toronto) - Live

Lusine (Ghostly Int'l- Seattle) - Live

Relcad (Album release party; Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

Potatofinger (Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

Ya No Mas (Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

The Algebra of Need (Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

Mr. Zillion (Eccentric Bliss/Pleasure Boat Records) - Live

Naturebot (Pleasure Boat Records) - DJ set

Menami (Shameless) - DJ set