There are few electronic musicians out there as influential, prodigious, or underrated as Meat Beat Manifesto, aka Jack Dangers. Dangers has always gone his own way, picking up bits and pieces from scenes and sounds all over, blending them together into something totally unique.
Early Meat Beat Manifesto is often considered “industrial,” likely because legendary Chicago record label Wax Trax! licensed several of their first releases. They certainly possessed the experimental spirit of their industrial contemporaries, but in truth, they forged their own sound, indebted as much to funk, acid house, and psychedelic rock as to industrial.
Afterward, Dangers refused to be pinned down, seemingly playing with every subgenre under the sun. He’s gone hip-hop, drum ‘n’ bass, dub, big beat, dubstep, techno, IDM, and more — but never has he pandered in the process. Meat Beat Manifesto has remained manifestly weird and eminently funky across 29 years of existence. Nobody does it like he does.
Meat Beat Manifesto and Mophono at DNA Lounge, 8 p.m.-midnight, on Friday, Oct. 21. $20-$25; dnalounge.com
Grime City presents Goth-Trad at F8, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 20. $10-$20; feightsf.com
“Dubstep” wasn’t always a dirty word. Well before Skrillex and company appropriated the term and turned it into the butt of a joke nobody wanted to hear, “dubstep” was a thrilling new sound, an exploration of bass frequencies as tangible textures and new rhythms. Japan’s Goth-Trad was an early dubstep pioneer, one of the few outside of the U.K. He is still producing and DJing dubstep in the classic style: heavy, all-encompassing bass weight girded by two-step rhythms.
HUSHconcerts and Blasthaus present Quantic and Cut Chemist at Mezzanine, 9 p.m.-midnight, Thursday, Oct. 20. $20-$25; mezzaninesf.com
Quantic, aka Will Holland from Worcestershire, England, is an enormously prodigious musician: Since 2001, he has produced 18 studio albums and dozens more singles. His music borrows, in equal measure, from funk, jazz, soul, hip-hop, and Afro-Carribbean rhythms (merengue, cumbia, and many more). He’s a brilliant beatmaker, but also a bandleader — he’s much more than a wrangler of samples. He’ll bring dusty, funky global rhythms to Mezzanine alongside noted turntablist and DJ Shadow collaborateur Cut Chemist.
Intersection presents 8ulentina at Starline Social Club (Oakland), 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21. Free; starlinesocialclub.com
Intersection is a new party with a purpose. According to its promotional copy, Intersection “centers black, brown, queer, femme, trans, and non-binary DJs and performers in the Bay Area.” Intersection is “not genre specific,” and it’s “local as fuck.” Yes to all of the above. This month’s iteration features 8ulentina, an Oakland-based DJ who co-founded Club Chai, a party series focused on hybridizing non-Western sounds (like dancehall, juke, and Carribean sounds) with club music.
FACE presents Shit Robot and Daniele Baldelli at Monarch, 9:30 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. $15-$20; monarchsf.com
In a not-insignificant way, DFA Records — home to LCD Soundsystem, the Juan MacLean, the Rapture, and more — exists thanks to Daniele Baldelli. In a French club in 1969, Baldelli began playing records in succession and mixing them together — a practice known eventually as “DJing” — developing a trademark style that melded African-inspired sounds, synthpop, and much more. He paved the way for all who came after him — like DFA’s Shit Robot, the Irish, funky disco-flavored house specialist.
Notable Local Records
The West Is a Mess by Earth Jerks; Ba Da Bing Records
The product of San Francisco’s Chris Dixon, The West Is a Mess is a pitch-perfect psychedelic drone exploration — a textural work that, if the listener allows, will reconfigure mind and body.
The West Is a Mess was crafted on a delightfully simple setup: “One guy, a keyboard, a few pedals, and that’s it,” the tape’s description says. Furthermore, Dixon classifies the music as “surf-rock” and specifies its reference points as “Sunset Strip ’66,” not “Berlin or Cologne ’72.” Given Dixon’s meager setup, it’s remarkable how closely he was able to mimic the fuzzed-out tone of classic psych-rock guitars. On the whole, each track varies, but they each seem to contain infinity within.
Sensual Works by Beesmunt Soundsystem; HNYTRX
Honey Soundsystem’s latest 12-inch comes from Beesmunt Soundsystem, a Dutch duo whose name seems curiously indebted to Honey’s. (Bees … honey … I’ll see myself out.) It’s a four-track EP of playful, Italo-inspired house and techno, versatile fodder for DJs and home listeners who want retro-inspired dance music that isn’t an easy throwback.
“Sensual Works” is a big tune — its focal point is a maddeningly catchy synthesizer melody, the kind of thing you might find on a forgotten record from 1982, featuring someone wearing legwarmers and a side ponytail on the cover. It’ll stick in your head and it’ll make you dance.
“Blissed Out” is the record’s standout single. It opens with a long intro full of ecstatically emotional melodies — certainly earning its title, here — and doesn’t drop the beat until almost three minutes in. It’s the kind of tune magical dancefloor moments are made of.
“Playin’ Myself” switches gears: It’s a moody, minimal acid track, built around a pulsing throb that blows wide open. Honey’s Jason Kendig closes the record with a remix of “Sensual Works,” tweaking the original’s synth riff and contributing chunky tribal percussion.
Sensual Works occupies the space where Balearic house and quirky techno meet — the Honey Soundsystem calling card.
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