Remember the days when hip-hop wasn’t pop? Yeah, if you’re young enough, you probably don’t. So let Berlin deep house producer Alex Agore takes us back to the days when hip-hop had more in common with underground soul, jazz, ethereal samples and delicious grooves than gangsters or commercial bullshit. I was talking to Flammable’s Karl Kamakahi today about missing some proper soul and this one popped up in my SoundCloud feed and straight knocked us both flat. Check it:
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‘Twas a gorgeous night on the playa in 2011, and our first year as Burning Man theme camp “Conception.” For those who don’t know already, Conception is a Seattle-based sound and arts camp, which I co-founded with some friends to bring our own northwest brand of love and psychedelia. I had asked Seattle techno visionary and Re-Bar co-owner Michael Manahan if he would play our big XenoConception (“conception with aliens”) party at Burning Man, but he was working on Bumbershoot and unable to make it to the playa that year. “However,” he said, “I have the perfect people to play.”
I hadn’t met Bert & Chewy (aka Rob Noble and Zacharia when they play drum & bass) before, but when Manahan says someone’s good, I listen. So, I booked them for the closing set with a bill of other techno-focused acts, including PG Tomasi and DJ Tatar from San Francisco camp Want It! read more …
Robot Heart is my favorite deep techno roving art car on the playa at Burning Man, or pretty much anywhere. Hosting techno talent on the playa each year all week on their speaker-lined bus, their deep playa sunrise parties are the stuff of legend. In 2011, when my theme camp Conception took Flammable resident Karl Kamakahi to the playa for the first time, he returned Saturday morning around 10 am, dusty and wide eyed with wonder from an all night dance bender. When asked, he reported that Lee Burridge‘s sunrise set had just changed his life and was the most excited he’d been about music since he started DJing twenty years before. “One of the top memories of my life with the sound and the sun blending together as it rose over the ridge and on to the playa … Fucking AMAZING !!!” Burridge is a London DJ and playa superstar, and has recently released a remastered version of this 2011 set, which has become implanted in my phone as if it’s now in charge of the thing. read more …
Chiiiiiild…it’s been a weekend already, and we haven’t even hit the Easter festivities or Flammable or Honey Soundsystem yet (tonight–see below). Green Velvet banging out tracks with live lyrics at Q, Atish smiling and dancing around ETG while delivering deep house, the Train Car Party with DJ Diz going off Chicago-style, Jake Shears bringing an actually credible tech-house DJ set to Rapture, and Two Dudes in Love helping bucket & Zak celebrate conjoined bachelorette/birthday parties last night at the Eagle. I’mma try to make it to see Riz Rollins this afternoon for his special Easter Bonnet edition of REVIVAL at Q, and perhaps Flam tonight if I can revive my limbs from the dead…
But in the meantime, chill to this mix from local Seattle treasure Karl Kamakahi. Karl is known for his bomb-dropping beats as part of the Flammable, De La Creme, Proper, Front Street and Conception crews here in town, but this sweet downtempo/acid jazz mix he crafted with Seattle’s Gene Lee is one of the best chill sets I’ve heard since the days of DJ Funky Nasir’s Spice @ Moe’s in the early 90s. It’s been on constant repeat in our car for months. Perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon–and a free download.
[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/7327630″ params=”” width=” 100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
And if you’re reading this from San Francisco, come out to see Bottom Forty’s own Nark at Honey Soundsystem at Holy Cow tonight! I heard something about a party bus…
A quick, not all-inclusive preview of what looks to be a gonzo weekend in Seattle. We’ve got visiting Chicago legends, Burning Man all-stars, queer west coast bitch house & techno upstarts at leather bars, pop stars turned DJs, parties in warehouses and on train cars…and that doesn’t even include the big downtown venues or most of our fabulously talented local resident DJ nights, or Flammable’s guest whom I don’t even know yet. Really Seattle? What are you trying to do to me? Really?
Those of us lucky enough to live in (or visit) Seattle have no right to complain. Primary among many dance music treats and astoundingly talented DJs/producers, we have a weekly opportunity to feel the warmth and depth of Flammable: the longest-running house music weekly on the west coast. Flammable, held at Seattle dance music institution Re-bar, is hosted Sunday nights by resident DJs Brian Lyons, Wesley Holmes, Karl Kamakahi and Xan Lucero. After all these years Flammable is still the 800-pound gorilla of dance parties in Seattle, and always a joy to attend.
This Sunday, instead of traveling to Portland with my Bottom Forty compatriots for the Gospel According to Willam, I stuck around closer to home to commune with friends and loved ones during some difficult times. In doing so I was fortunate to have caught Alexander East joining Flammable resident Xan Lucero and Mr. Flammable himself Brian Lyons for a St. Patrick’s edition of Seattle’s favorite house music party.
My honey and I were both tired from being out late checking out DJ Paulo and Almond Brown showering circuit beats on shirtless muscle boys at Q the night before. But, upon hearing the music, we were so glad we hauled ourselves out. While we missed Brian’s opener, we caught Xan’s set, which was deeply and appropriately on FIRE. I nearly lost my mind when I heard he had actually recorded his set. If you missed it, this is what you missed. And yes, it was THAT good–one of the best live sets I’ve heard in my years in Seattle. Xan is quickly becoming one of my favorite DJs and people…so much heart and music all stuffed into one grinning, tattooed package.
Mixtape 109. You can visit the U:Move podcast to listen and download Xan’s mix at the link, or by clicking on the above image. And a little video of Xan rocking an earlier Flammable, for visual. He glows, and not just because of the traditional Flammable red light bulb. He loves the shit out of music, and you can hear them screaming in response in the background:
Flammable is sociologically interesting as well, being one of the most ardently mixed parties in town. It’s been a real treat to watch over time as more and more queer men, women, and transfolk “discover” Flammable with wide eyes. “I didn’t know this was here!” they say, as hugs and kisses are exchanged and people get down. Lately, it’s been populated by groups of friendly gays, trans, and straights of all colors and ages as well as a whole catalog of Seattle DJs, celebrating the uniting power of house music produced by locals and international talent alike.
Minneapolis’ Alexander East is a house music producer and DJ we all admire, a frequent Flam flyer, and important part of the Flammable sound Brian, Wes, and Karl have championed for years. He often plays live bass or sings while spinning records, bringing live flavor to an already deep, funky take on house music. His voice spreads across the beats like warm honey. This past Sunday he was additionally wearing bug antennae and grinning brightly as he brought soulful track after track.
East’s “Talk To Me” with Lawnchair Generals is a Flam staple–Brian once admitted to me with a guilty smile “I might play this one too much.” But how could he not? It’s a deep classic.
East also has a wicked falsetto, as evidenced on this deep/beatdown track with Manuel Tur.
East hasn’t released a recording of his set from this past weekend, but you can get another dose of Flammable this Sunday night with guest Justin Collins playing a special birthday set. If we’re lucky, he’ll wear his suit too. 😉
And one last: Bottom Forty’s DJ Nark live at Flammable, released a few months back on the Honey Potcast: http://honeypotcast.blogspot.com/2012/11/hny-164-nark-live-at-flammable.html. Snap, girl!