Decibel Decibel Festival v.05, Night 3
posted by September 28 at 13:34 PMon
What Eric said about Decibel in the Park. Plus, er, respect to the 60something free spirit with boils on his back who was rocking nothing but orange mini-briefs and a tangled, gray, white-man ’fro. I will never forget you (damn it).
Dazed and almost recovered from that traumatic sight, I later headed to Northwest Film Forum in time to catch headliner Akira Rabelais’ performance. Hunched over his gear stage left, he began extremely quietly with keening tones, pings, wispy drones—all of it somnolently engaging. That piece segued into crystalline flakes of Budd-Eno piano plangency, undergirded with microbial susurrations. Rabelais’ lowercase pica music somehow wrung exquisite beauty from the tiniest gestures.
Over at the Baltic Room, the Ghostly International Records showcase drew swarms of fans; a long line stretched far down Pine St. Recent GI local signing the Sight Below hustled over from Rabelais’ set, breathless and a bit late, but he showed us why GI honcho Sam Valenti IV’s a savvy judge of talent. The Sight Below laced his velvet-lined, 4/4 kick drums with vaporous textures and spectral luminescence. His bass tones seemed to bulge the Baltic’s confines in a manner that made me think of those garbage-can icons on your computer screen when they’re full. The accelerated hippo heartbeat rhythms and choral sighs and murmurs recalled Gas and, as Seattle icon DJ Eddie noted, Gustavo Lamas. Sadly, I missed most of Deru’s excellent glitch funk excursions and all of Lusine and Tycho’s sets, but reports from trustworthy sources were glowing.
Audion fed us weird things. Photo by Donte Parks.
To Neumos, where the Detroit Techno showcase was gathering momentum. DJ Chuck Flask ably set the table for Audion (aka Matthew Dear) to tear it up, live. Audion’s shit was so tight, I decided it would be blasphemy to try to take notes. Suffice it to say, his tracks were demonic, druggy, and disturbing, treading into his False style for M_nus Records while keeping the floor thrumming with acidic gusto.
Carl Craig appeared to be using Serato for his DJ set, but nobody cared, because he proved why writers reflexively precede his name with “legendary.” His selections ranged from deep and soulful to accessible and sing-along (Goldfrapp) to twitchy and highly percussive (the way he chopped up Plastikman’s “Spastik” was the sickness) to classic Day-twa techno nostalgia (Derrick May’s “Strings of Life” still instantly provokes arm-waving and cheers). From start to finish, the audience (a way more of serious but kinetic techno-head bunch than was here for Deadmau5 Friday) was putty in his skilled hands. The response bordered on charismatic-church-goer OMFGness.
Carl Craig: People quite liked him. Photo by Donte Parks.
In fact, two of Seattle’s finest electronic-music producers—Jon McMillion and Splinters—told me that they were so inspired by Audion and Craig that they went home and immediately started working on tracks. And those are only the ones I know about…
I’m sure the afterhours party with Dixon was awesome (“Best set ever,” according to Jeremy B.), but after the Detroit Techno shebang, anything else would’ve seemed anticlimactic… except maybe tonight’s Decibel Finale at Neumos.