By Cory Sklar
By Alee Karim
By Christina Li
By Dave Pehling
By Ian S. Port
By SF Weekly
By Ian S. Port
By Ian S. Port
Long before Talvin Singh was applauded for integrating his musical heritage into club culture DJ Cheb i Sabbah had been uniting songs by tempo rather than by genre or nationality. As far back as 1964, when Sabbah was spinning in Paris, the Algerian-born DJ was acknowledged by a great many musicians, producers, and devotees as a genuine hajji, or musical pilgrim of the spirit. The ancient Vedic philosophy of sound -- vibration of ether (sound of the spheres) and vibration of air (sound of the Altec speakers) -- has saturated his every collaboration (from Living Theater to Don Cherry) and every dance party, but never more so than with the release of Shri Durga.
Shri Durga -- the great primordial Indian deity whose many incarnations include Kali, Simhavahini, and the sakti of Shiva -- rides a fierce lion, relieving and destroying as she sees fit. Shri Durga, the album, is a devotional offering made to her by Sabbah, who created a complex labyrinth of loops over which he invited some of the greatest living singers and musicians to play. Khayal singer Ustad Salamat Ali Khan and sarangist Ustad Sultan Khan have made offerings on this record, as have soul chanteuse Scheherazade Stone and producer Bill Laswell. In Sabbah's deft hands, Muslim prayers, Tantric chants, and Hindu cremation rites become samples as subtle and gradually metamorphosing as the wind. If Shri Durga is listening, the world will be a better place for it. Cheb i Sabbah celebrates his record release at Ten 15 Folsom on Thursday, April 29, at 10 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 431-1200.
There has been mutinous talk among some longtime fans of Man or Astro-Man? The derision is not the result of Eeviac, which incorporates the surprising pop vocals discovered on Made From Technetium with the supergiddy surf grooves of Your Weight on the Moon and the outlandish structures of Experiment Zero, but the result of the band's choice of venue. Said a disgruntled malcontent, "Why would I want to go see MOAM? play at some huge venue when I've already seen them in a tiny club?"
I'll tell you why: EEVIAC is a bank of three 9-foot-tall working supercomputers that control the band's new stage show. There will be no amps allowed onstage, only EEVIAC. There will be no programmer activating MOAM?'s galaxy-famous samples, only EEVIAC. EEVIAC is all. As with any new technology, there are bound to be a few glitches -- during a recent show EEVIAC triggered the same sample five times -- but MOAM? relishes and flourishes in the midst of tech-generated chaos (incorporating the EEVIAC defect, MOAM? simply played the same song five times in a row, causing fans to fall to their knees in awe of the "13-minute opus"). The random possibilities should be enough to draw everyone to Man or Astro-Man? at the Fillmore on Thursday, April 29, with Rock-A-Teens and Hi-Fives opening at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.50; call 346-6000. Or at Amoeba the same day at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free; call 831-1200.
The members of Brown Whsrnet are the blue flies in the Kickapoo Ointment. They are the klezmer kings attending Black Mass, the Superfly focus for the whirling dervish, the Balkan shepherds who wish they were Kiss. They are never what you expected. They're from Austin and there are just too many of them to control, so you might as well lean back and relax while they take you from hell to breakfast and back again at Bottom of the Hill on Thursday, April 29, with Double U and Joaquina opening at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $6; call 626-4455.
It's been quite a while since "downhear" producer Kristi Maddocks put her personal seal of approval on a weekly series, so this new northern-soul night is bound to become some sort of crazy Detroit miniskirt scene. "Sould Out" will incorporate the dance music most popular among scooterists -- Stax, Tamla, and Motown -- with the live sounds of the InCiters, the 11-piece "Sould Out" house band that boasts three dynamic backup female vocalists and a freshly buzzed frontman with a penchant for Otis Redding. "Sould Out" will be held at Cafe Du Nord every Thursday starting April 29 with DJs Stormy and Dave Thomas spinning at 9 p.m. Tickets are $3; call 861-5016.
Lately, you can't toss a cat in this town without hitting someone from the Elephant 6 collective (they're multiplying like strippers), but this time I think I've really discovered my favorite E6 group -- really. Even more than its kitchenmates, Of Montreal seems completely disconnected from reality. That isn't to say that The Gay Parade is inaccessible. Quite the contrary. As the name suggests, it is a delightfully inviting cavalcade of twirling pop innocents, but the fictional, helium-filled fairy world of Kevin Barnes is far too well thought out to be healthy, I'm sure. Of Montreal opens for E6's Beulah and Ladybug Transistor at Bottom of the Hill on Saturday, May 1, at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8; call 626-4455.
Portishead DJ Andy Smith is known less for the skills that brought DJ Shadow or Q-Bert to the forefront, and more for the erudite knowledge and collector's fixation that once made college and free-form radio DJs so compelling. In fact, Smith's debut album is culled from a show he did on WFNX in Boston, and includes everything from Barry White, Marvin Gaye, and Tom Jones to Joe Walsh, Peggy Lee, and the Jungle Brothers. You might even catch some Sex Pistols in the mix when Andy Smith performs at the Justice League on Saturday, May 1, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10; call 440-0409.
-- Silke Tudor