KRTS, ShadowBox, Blak Nite, DATALOG
We're excited to bring you an awesome show on December 2nd with Brooklyn's KRTS! KRTS will be celebrating his album release party at Glasslands with us with performances by ShadowBox, Blak Nite, and DATALOG!
-KRTS (ALBUM RELEASE PARTY!)-
984 on Halloween night and a 4 year-old Kurtis is ready to put on his Go-Bots costume. After exiting the McDonalds drive-in in his father’s Blue Chevet, happy meal in hand, his father turns to him with a grin, “Hey Kurtis, I have something you’re gonna love.” He pops a cassette into the tape player. As Kurtis eyes the illustration and lettering on the cassette cover, his father shares the title of the album, “Who’s Afraid of the Art of Noise”. The tracks are filled with haunting samples of machinery, vocals and distortions that are heavily manipulated and transformed into melodies over “Boom Bap” percussions. The song sounds like a garage with power tools creating music. Kurtis’s mind ventures through realms he’s never before experienced. His heart races with excitement, and a new kind of energy. He clasps the empty cassette case even harder. His father smiles and looks straight ahead, paying attention to the road home “This is The Art of Noise”, he states.
Kurtis Hairston was in no way afraid of the art of noise. In fact, he embraced it. He held it tightly, close to his heart and it became the basis behind his love of electronic music.
In 2003 Kurtis packed his bags and his musical gear to pursue his music career in Brooklyn, New York City. One summer day he ventured to the Gowanus Yacht Club, a local beer garden in Brooklyn. It was filled with punks, underground hiphoppers, indie kids, and artsy Brooklynites and served cheap food and even cheaper beer. It was there that he explained to his friend Christopher, “I need a new name. I’m tired of thinking up “cool” names that try to explain who I am as a musician. I just want to call myself Kurtis.” Christopher agreed and said, “Why not just make it K-R-T-S? That way it’s catchy, but it’s still Kurtis.”
Kurtis smiled, downed his Brooklyn Lager Beer, shook Christopher’s hand and said, “Hell yeah bro. I can dig that.”
Brooklyn’s Bonnie Baxter emerges bellowing from a dark sea of sizzling electronics. Kicks and degraded snares fight cascades of bleeps falling delicately over harsh electronics. ShadowBox is powerful, poised… her live act shows a wild and uncontrollable force who at times lets the listener into a delicate and reflective world just for a moment.
“When I was 13 I used to record singing my own words over R&B instrumental tapes or whatever I could get my hands on. Later I got my hands on a right handed acoustic guitar even though I was lefty. So I turned it upside down and taught myself how to play it so I can sing over it.”
Now Bonnie Baxter is a vocalist, instrumentalist, & producer… ShadowBox. Currently residing in Brooklyn NY she draws inspiration from sound sculptures of the 60′s (Daphne Oram/Delia Derbshyre/Tangerine Dream) as well as futurists philosophies, books about metaphysics, space exploration, and the relationship of technology and nature.
Shameem Akthar, author of Hearing the Divine Sound, once remarked “Those of you familiar with quantum physics may be aware that the world as we see it does not exist.” This has been the approach taken by ShadowBox… to create a world beyond the physical. Taking technology and infusing it as a part of her craft as a songwriter. Having drum machines/analog keyboards being an evolutionary extension of herself as she begins to paint on a her digital canvas that is her home studio. Crafting melodies out of thin air from an arsenal of vocal ideas she transcends over electronic beat driven tracks. Plans to head over to the UK in the fall/winter of 2012 are also in the works.
“It may seem strange to some if they hear earlier Bonnie Baxter band material. It was way more Rock oriented back then. It was still dark, but had changed. I’m always changing instinctively,” Baxter explains. Before ShadowBox, she had a live band that performed all over Brooklyn and New York City. Her love of weird eclectic harmonies and music evenlead her to open up for the now disbanded Apes & Androids at Music Hall of Williamsburg. “The band thing was an amazing intense experience but I wanted to strip it all down. Actually, I wanted to tear it down.” Taking a year to herself, Bonnie spent time experimenting with electronic drum machines, keyboards, guitar pedals, sequencing software, and vocal manipulation. And used this technology with her unique songwriting style. “It’s a cliche I know but, I traded in my guitar for a drum machine and that’s really the birth of ShadowBox.”
After hibernating, ShadowBox began testing her songs out live in Brooklyn’s dirty DIY underground trenches. She booked her own tour to 2011 SXSW with a 3 song demo in her back pocket. The demo was titled “Lady Doome” and was picked up by Pitchfork, who deemed one of the tracks “…a gritty, suicide-indebted earworm from that release.” Maintaining focus, Bonnie stepped back slightly to finish writing songs that would end up on the Haunted By Colors EP which was co-produced with long time collaborator, Icky Doome who also performs live with ShadowBox.
“The title Haunted by Colors was inspired by the vivid dreams I was having at the time where no dialogue was present, just these reoccurring images that would naggingly imprint themselves into my head,” Bonnie describes. “Also, the anxieties and fears of waking life.”
For his Dark Clover debut, James Davey a.k.a. Blak Nite unsheaths the technical prowess which had him pushing the boundaries of post-Ed Banger heavyness on his previous EPs, and repurposes it for slower, if not necessarily less intense jams. In simply and overtly trying to fit the pallete of what James sees as "the Origami Sound sound", he accomplishes so much more, his "Shadow Party" leveraging not only his considerable talent but a wide array of impeccable influences into bass music truly worthy of the oft-abused "future" hashtag.
Going for "something that sounded as if it was found in a ditch or gutter or down a back alley", Blak Nite delivers instantly memorable sonics – like a garbage pail coming to life, the din of its unholy movement providing the percussion, as it wrests old ghetto blasters from itself and plays whatever damaged tapes were in them when first discarded. "Dope Machine" firmly establishes this aesthetic from the outset, and employs a cinematic flair for mystery, before erupting into an uplifting assembly of manipulated vocals. "Shake" lays masterfully restrained Burial-esque heartwrenching upon a bed of brooding bass and truly broken beats. "Wicca" takes the deconstruction further... by now the beats are falling apart in real time before our ears, the vocals hauntingly and musically detune, with the song climaxing via Blak Nite's introduction of a signature grimy bass that seems to have built up organically from the crackle, hiss, feedback and detritus. "MoNY", by far the most jocular of the four, racks up the tension via its unnerving rhythm before revealing itself as a soothing finale worthy of innumerable gasps of contention.
Every track is "littered" with myriad small details, brief dialogue samples, movie quotes, all of them faintly audible at times... unveiling the considerable concept, meaning and soul poured into these songs, but only at the cost of lenghty repeated listening. Dim the lights, and have yourself a shadow party.
DATALOG's music is grounded in a world of beats and bass colored with electronic brilliance, and a deep sound palette. In addition to paying dues in the studio and touring internationally, he has self-released 2 EPs, and his track "Monday" will be featured on the Dutty Artz release, Good Bread, this Spring. DATALOG is the solo project of Conor Heffernan, an accomplished pianist who has also played in jazz trios, experimental projects and film scoring.