SUPER EGO Hi, my name is Paris Hilton. I’m a DJ. I have a new song out called “Afrojack” with Rihanna. Want to experience it? Close your eyes. Lay on something soft, like grass, or a lamb, or Perez Hilton’s dumpster bag of excised stomach. Journey with me back in time to 2007. Can’t you feel the tiny fingers embroidering the pockets of your half-bleached jeans, the douche-mousse dripping down your Gucci wraparounds, the gaudy wheeze of MySpace deflating slowly underfoot, the background throb of masked insurgents? Can’t you hear the gentle buzz of Britney’s flaxen hair fall, her greenish umbrella tap-tap-tapping at your car window? Quickly, now, hold my chihuahua Tinkerbell, I’m fading, fading rapidly into the animated gifs, Ed Hardy tramp stamps, hot-pink Hummers, and reality programming challenges of your constantly refreshing mind…. Oh, how ew!
Delete, delete, delete.
Paris’s debut on the decks last month, melting down mostly and dragging up all the celebucrap of history’s tackiest decade (OK, OK the foppish 1670s were pretty bad), was yet another meme-ready sign of well-played Mayan prediction. 2012 Apocalypse! It’s here! And it’s wearing sparkly tuxedo lapels and flubbing the EQ levels!
But Earth’s supposed obliteration countdown can also inspire, and lead to some more, er, sophisticated sonic expressions, especially concerning the intersection of humanity and technology.
“With the Mayan calendar ending this year and all the crackpot end-of-times theories, I thought, ‘this is a perfect time for an inward reflection of who we are and where we’re going. And also an opportunity to renew or hit the reset button on our own humanity.'” That’s Alan So, dreamy executive and artistic director of the glorious Soundwave Festival (Thu/5-September 30, www.projectsoundwave.com/5), explaining to me over email the genesis of its 2012 theme: “Humanities.”
The bi-annual, three-month-long Soundwave takes over the city with a heady onslaught of sonic explorations, many of the electronic, installation-based variety, but also incorporating nifty biophysical elements and experiential live performances. This installment promises some truly cosmic haps.
The fest kicks off at the Cal Academy’s great Nightlife weekly on Thu/5 (6pm-10pm, $12. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., SF. www.calacademy.org/nightlife), with techno-audial treats like Jay Kreimer’s ‘Born Wireless’ empathic facial responder, Stephen Hurrel’s live sounds of the moving Earth, and The Cellar Ensemble’s sound-light oracle instrument, plus guitarist Danny Paul Grody “playing the skies of the Aurora Borealis in a mini-planetarium” and artist Shannon O’Malley giving out tastes of her satiric-disastrous Apocalypse Cakes.
Footage from last year’s Soundwave:
More Soundwave 5 summer tantalizers: “Tension” at the Battery Townsend military bunker in Marin, which pairs riveting strings compositions with extreme resonance; “The Human Bionic” series at the Lab featuring Joe Cantrell’s Sounding Body, an audience interactive performance that uses brainwaves to conduct sound; and Canadian folk artist Diana Burgoyne’s interactive performances using intense-looking analogue-circuitry masks. The physical body is transcended, too: Andrea Williams and Lee Pembleton’s “SleepWalks” encourages participants to snooze (bring your sleeping bag) while the artists play music for their dreams, and “Revelation Zen,” a collaboration with the Zen Center attempts to breach dimensions both inner and outer.
“The advancements in technology have been astounding in the past 20, more so in the last five,” So told me. “Just think what can do now that we couldn’t do even do two years ago. We create technology to make lives ‘better.’ Machines know when we are awake, which means they also know when we are sleeping. Technology has been integrated in our worlds and our bodies so heavily it is becoming inescapable. I wanted to explore that in the sense of sound, and in the spirit of working towards humanity’s renewal of purpose after what we’ve don to the Earth.
“Also, probably, its my own unconscious self yearning for a simpler life in the midst of all this technology. Is that a possibility?”
The oft-heard, not-so-much-seen Michigander now lives in New Zealand, but still transmits the techno-eclectic vibes he learned under Carl Craig’s tutelage, with an open-air accessibility and broad funk wink.
Wed/3, 9pm, $5 before 11pm, $10 after. icon, 1192 Folsom, SF. www.facebook.com/housepitalitysf
Amazingly energetic and fun NYC bhangra-meets-brass nine-piece combo, led by dhol drummer Sunny Jain, seriously gets crowds hyped. Punjabi funk: taking over America the crazy right way.
Fri/6, doors 8pm, show 9pm, $18. Slim’s, 333 11th St., SF. www. slimspresents.com
SALEM DJ SET
Whither them witches? Witch house has been completely (and, by my scry, bewitchingly) taken up by a young “Why so serious?” coven of underground musicmakers who make no bones about bubbling the weird underside of the Internet up into a brew of funhouse splatter. But lost, I fear, is the gangsta rap-referencing button-pushing of OG poster children Salem. This DJ set may bring back the danger.
Fri/6, 10pm, $10. Elbo Room, 647 Valencia, SF. www.elbo.com
The roving minimal wave and dark synth party celebrates three years of “vagabond existence” with guests The KVB (moody electronic shoegaze from the UK) and Deathday (aggressive industrial, filtered through hissing tapes, from LA).
Fri/6, 9:30pm, $5 before 10:30, $7 after. SUB/Mission, 2183 Mission St., SF. www.facebook.com/warmleatherettesf