Archive for sean horton

2009 in Review by Decibel Festival Director Sean Horton

Posted in Lists, Music News, Note to Readers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2009 by worldromper

Sean AKA Nordic Soul is the Decibel Festival Curator and Director, he is my good friend and one of the greatest contributors to Seattle’s thriving underground music community. This is a very insightful summary of electronic music in 2009 with his Top 15 list at the bottom as well:

From Sean:

Every year it’s part of my job at PlayNetwork to come up with a list of top albums and overall assessment of music trends for the year. Below is my brief review of what I felt was a pretty landmark year for electronic music in the US and in general. Barring any incredible releases over the next month, these are my picks for the year. Keep in mind this list is strictly made up of albums; not EPs, 12’s or remixes (i.e 95% of the electronic music I purchased this year).

2009 in Review : Binary Pop, Warp’s Legacy, Dub Mutations and the Return of Sexy Dance Music

2009 has been an incredibly innovative year in relation to music production. Artists like Animal Collective, Fever Ray, Royksopp and Moderat have proven once and for all that digital beats and electronic sound design can appeal to a pop audience that otherwise wouldn’t find themselves listening to “electronic music”.

This year also marks the 20 year anniversary of the greatest electronic music label (arguably greatest label) of all time, Warp Records, which has had an exceptional year across the board with strong indie releases from Grizzly Bear and Maximo Park as well as strong releases from their more obscure electronic artists like Tim Exile and Clark. Warp’s 20th anniversary box set is not only one of the best reviewed collections of they year, it’s also a brilliant testament to the label’s vast catalog of ground breaking artists (i.e. Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, Jamie Lidell, Nightmares on Wax, Prefuse 73, Autechre, Broadcast, Plaid, Battles, Squarepusher, etc).

In addition, 2009 witnessed the rise of Dubstep as a respected genre in the US through acclaimed UK labels like Hyperdub (Burial, Kode9, Joker, Zomby, Flying Lotus) and Tectonic (2562, Martyn, DJ Pinch, Benga) both of whom continue to blur the boundaries between Grime, Dub, West Coast Hip Hop and Detroit Techno. With the avid support of tastemakers like BBC Radio 1’s Mary Anne Hobbs and Low End Theory’s Daddy Kev (Alpha Pup Records) UK Dubstep and West Coast Glitch Hop / Hip Hop have both become quintessential styles on the electronic music frontline in the US. From Burning Man to this year’s Movement festival in Detroit, Dubstep and Glitch Hop have fully emerged in 2009 as a staple sound in North America.

Another emerging trend has been the Deep House and Tech House revival, which has been experiencing a resurgence the past few years as club-goers have tired of the heady, sterility of Minimal Techno and the frenetic, over the top sound of Electro House. Artists like Gui Boratto, Voodeux, Pezzner, Milton Jackson, Stimming, Mode D, Catz n Dogz, DJ T and Dixon have all helped in keeping underground dance music both sexy and musical.

Overall 2009 has been a phenomenal year for technologically driven music, proving that creativity is truly catching up with the tools used for musical expression in the digital age.

Here are my Top 15 albums of the year:

1. Animal Collective “Merriweather Post Pavilion” Domino Records

2. Various “Warp 20” (Box Set) Warp Records

3. Moderat (aka Apparat & Modeselektor) “Moderat” Bpitch Control Records

4. Fever Ray “Fever Ray” Rabid Records

5. Phil Kieran “Shh” Cocoon Recordings

6. Nosaj Thing “Drift” Alpha Pup Records

7. Jon Hopkins “Insides” Domino Records

8. Various “5 : Five Years of Hyperdub” Hyperdub Records

9. Lusine “A Certain Distance” Ghostly International

10. Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest” Warp Records

11. Gui Boratto “Take My Breath Away” Kompakt Records

12. 2562 “Unbalance” Tectonic Records

13. Modeselektor “Body Language Vol. 8” Get Physical Music

14. Tim Hecker “An Imaginary Country” Kranky Records

15. Voodeux “The Paranormal” Mothership Records

Decibel Festival 2008: A Review, A Reawakening- DAY 4

Posted in Events, Festivals, From the Front Lines (Show Reviews) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by worldromper

Last year in between four straight days of partying and boarding a Tuesday morning flight to Thailand, I somehow wrote a review of the epic, amazing time I had at Seattle’s Decibel Festival.

A party like no other, Decibel is a city festival held in the clubs, bars, parks and museums of Seattle, an event for the people, by the people. I will be reposting my review from last year along with photos and links, in five parts: Intro, Day 1, Day 2….you get it.

Decibel Festival 2009 takes place September 24-27 and you can check the lineup and buy ticketshere.

DAY 4:

sun tzu soundAfter a respectable amount of sleep I was up on Sunday and made it to Havana’s just in time to catch Suntzu Sound, though not so for the barbeque from Austin which was long gone. This Texas girl was very sad, although the bartender had stashed some chicken back so I did get a little fix of homefood. I wasn’t expecting to dance, just to relax, suntzu soundbut the warm, tribal sounds echoing out of the parking lot had a different idea, and soon I was getting down with a few others in the shady pink parking lot- so perfect for a city barbeque. Jeremy Ellis was out chillin’ in his sweet yellow suit and red ponytail and jumped in for a minute to play along with Suntzu. People kept strolling by the gates, watching us dance and listening to the beats and wondering where they took a wrong turn in life. I think it was at the intersection of Mainstream Avenue and Live-For-Art Street.

Still hungry from my teaser barbeque experience, I drove over to the Triple Door to the Ambient Showcase for a little Deaf Center and a cheese plate. At the second door I ran into Akira Rabelais and we had quite the lovely wine experience all backed up with some creepy-ass music that would chill my bones right off if I played it late at night at my house, and would no doubt inspire me to turn on every single light that I had. I think they call this kind of music “haunting”.

I went to this Ambient Showcase on the recommendation of everyone who has ever told me in my life to slow down- which is like 80,000 people. I did, and it was as lovely as the wine I shared with Akira. I hung on for a little of Eluvium and then took my leave to go get down for one last night of Decibel. It was time to dance!

J-Sun & KadeejahOver at Sole Repair my favorite people in the world, Innerflight, were getting things started with J-Sun and then Kadeejah Streets up on the decks and swinging hard and low with their music- I don’t know who loved it more, the DJs or the crowd below. Upstairs once again in the gallery the dance freaks were rocking it; the crowd wasn’t as thick as it had been for the weekend nights but for those of us there it just meant more dance floor, because the music was definitely right up there with the best of the weekend.

Again, tough choices had to be made. I left Sole Repair to catch Flying Lotus who was incredibly entertaining and a gentleman to boot. He has to be one of the most talented and critically-acclaimed artists of the weekend, and for good reason. The Bug and the Warrior Queen didn’t entirely do it for me, I loved the heavy vibrating bass but couldn’t seem to get into it and found myself outside socializing more than dancing- which shouldn’t happen in Shilo World.

SupermayerSupermayer brought it back for me though with their adorably clever musical attitude and I would have rocked out until the sugar-sweet ending, but m.0 was on fire next door and I wanted to blaze with him. I walked into Sole Repair to see him in the middle of the dance floor with his trademark giant smile and seriously talented beat-mastery. Fantastic, beautiful, and epic. m.0 is the shit in this town, plain and simple, and he is only going up, up, up! Seattle will be right behind him with a big “Hell Yeah.”

After two I headed out for my fourth afterhours of the weekend where once again the music was top notch, the crowd was off their heads with excitement, Flying Lotus was chilling on the windowsill and I danced until I was wringing out my shirt AND JEANS. Wringing out my jeans, people. I was in bed by 6:30AM which didn’t quite give me the sleep I needed to be all perky and Shilo-like by my office meeting at 10AM, but I sure as hell was still dancing on the inside, as I will be for a while, thanks to Decibel Festival.

SupermayerAnd thanks to you, everyone involved which is about a billion people, from the director down to the kids who shucked out money to see a show and over to the bouncer sweeping up cigarette butts. The electronic music community in Seattle is alive and well, full of passion and smiling faces, exploding with talent and gaining more momentum every day. We must harness the excitement and enthusiasm for our music that you are all feeling right now and use it promote the talented artists among us, to work for more and bigger music venues in Seattle, to support newcomers to our scene, and to share with others what electronic music has meant to us, which is more than can be put into words.

I too am inspired not only by all the new music and art in my head but by the fact that one person with a little help from friends can make a huge impact on the international electronic arts community which we are part of: mad mad props to Sean Horton. And thank you to everyone who handed out a flyer, reposted a Myspace bulletin, told a friend about the festival or simply showed up and danced. Rest assured that people returned home with respect for the Seattle electronic music community in their hearts, and I am honored to have been able to contribute to this epic electronic arts mania riot love dance fever weekend we like to call the Decibel Festival. Thank you.

And I seriously have a flight to Thailand in a few hours and should probably go home and start packing.

That’s it! Catch you on the flip-flop. And one last time until next year, Happy Decibel.

****************

OH SHIT! NEXT YEAR IS HERE!!!!

The 2009 Decibel Festival takes place September 24-27 in Seattle; for tickets and more information please click here.

Decibel Festival 2008: A Review, A Reawakening DAY 1

Posted in Festivals, From the Front Lines (Show Reviews) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by worldromper

Last year in between four straight days of partying and boarding a Tuesday morning flight to Thailand, I somehow wrote a review of the epic, amazing time I had at Seattle’s Decibel Festival.

A party like no other, Decibel is a city festival held in the clubs, bars, parks and museums of Seattle, an event for the people, by the people. I will be reposting my review from last year along with photos and links, in five parts: Intro, Day 1, Day 2….you get it.

Decibel Festival 2009 takes place September 24-27 and you can check the lineup and buy tickets here.

DAY 1:

My 2008 Decibel Festival began officially at Grey Gallery on Thursday night where the Oi Vay boys were warming up the lounge with their sexy beats; Struggle was up top spinning and Eddie was dancing around like the lovable soul he is. This was not to be the last time I ran into this Seattle legend shaking his ass during the weekend- that boy gets down, for real.

I hung out at Sole Repair for a bit where Team Peloton was tearing it up; I tried bouncing back and forth into Neumos but the opening acts were all a bit too slow for me/not my cup of tea/kill me now and I kept finding myself back across the street at Sole Repair where the dancing was goo-od mmm mmm. Those boys know how to make the people DANCE!

I like being able to see the DJ and so hung out upstairs which had more room for the freaky dancers with flailing arms, like me. Around 1AM when INCITE! aka Sean Horton aka Decibel Festival Director went on we all donned mustaches to wish him a happy birthday. I am a big fan of Sean’s new moniker and hope to see more of his more aggressive and visceral style soon in the future. I really enjoyed Stewart Walker as well, he was sweating and dancing to his beats almost as much as the wild crowd was.

Sasha gets downThen I RAN back over to Neumos where Jahcoozi was running slightly late but noshing on snacks downtstairs in great spirits; I have been a big fan of theirs for a while and this was one of the acts I was really stoked about experiencing. Sasha and Oren took the stage and proceeded to turn the club on its head- what started as a half-full room of looky-loos ended in an all-out dance brawl. MC and rapper Sasha kept jumping down into the crowd and we all gathered around her like we were third-graders on a playground and she was the cool girl, dancing in a circle and getting down and getting dirty. She WAS the cool girl, and with her I-don’t-give-a-shit dance moves, heavy crowd interaction, sharp lyrics and mad trumpet skills she won over everyone there as did Oren, backing her up with his keen beats and electric bass.

sasha and oren rock Jahcoozi’s performance was definitely one of the highlights of the festival for me and I have heard the same from several people. After their show we all went and kicked it in the Green Room where we talked to them about their trip up the West Coast (Seattle was their favorite show, ahem), Berlin (the scene there is as great as you think it is) and tried on Sasha’s sweet fur hat. I made the bands.tv guys and my coworker Cedric wait until about 3AM for the live streamed interview, but finally Jahcoozi was ready and we had a quick chat for the camera before all heading off to Sean’s birthday party in the loft above Grey Gallery which was rockin’ and hot and sweaty, just like a good afterhours should be.

Then we left with Jahcoozi and partied all night until breakfast hour back at the Best Western Executive Inn. The food sucked.

Photos by Matt Matsuda.