Transatlantic Bass Exchange: Night Slugs Tooketh from the Brits and Gaveth to Pop

Magic Touch

Few artists can lay claim to more or less single-handedly spearheading a musical movement or genre by themselves, but that's what L-Vis 1990, alongside label-mate Bok Bok, did with their groundbreaking record label Night Slugs.

Night Slugs appeared on the scene in 2010, right as dubstep (in the British, bass-heavy, dubby sense, mind you, not the American “where's the drop” sense) was reaching peak saturation and began to exhaust itself. The earliest releases on the label took the dubstep and grime blueprint from the U.K. and infused it with the energy and beats of American rap, R&B, and vogue/ballroom culture, a simple but critical shift that led the way forward for 140 bpm club music.

The result is that Night Slugs (and American sister label Fade To Mind, owned and operated by Kingdom) have pushed to the forefront of bass music, an influence you can hear all over pop music these days (see FKA Twigs for the most obvious example). As a DJ, L-Vis' mixes move seamlessly from grimy dubstep cuts, classics included, to rubbery U.K. funky-type house to rap and R&B edits. He's a kitchen-sink DJ, which in lesser hands tends to be a recipe for train wrecks, but fret not — L-Vis 1990 knows exactly what he's doing.

Joining him is Icee Hot mainstay Ghosts on Tape, no stranger to bass-heavy syncopated sounds — expect something more up-tempo and Caribbean-flavored than his usual house and techno fare. They're supported by Grime City's resident DJs throughout the evening.

Other worthy parties this week

Tri Works & Jacktone Records present Golden Donna, Cherushii, Caltrop, and more at SUB/Mission, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday, Sept. 19. $7-$10; sf-submission.com

One of the most exciting (and most overlooked) aspects of electronic music and club culture are DIY shows: Just like in punk, metal, and affiliated musical genres, DIY shows provide vital snapshots of young musicians and producers as they find their footing and create a name for themselves. This is precisely one such show, headlined by Golden Donna, a Wisconsin-based deep-space house producer affiliated with L.A.'s 100% Silk and Not Not Fun record labels. He's joined by two Bay Area producers, Cherushii and Caltrop, both very talented, up-and-coming names to look out for (U.K. DJ-wünderkind Joy Orbison included a Caltrop track on his recent Essential Mix for BBC Radio 1).

Public Works' four-year Anniversary Party featuring Danny Tenaglia at Public Works, 9 p.m.-5 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20. $30; publicsf.com

Public Works celebrates four years of forward-thinking club programming in San Francisco by playing host to Danny Tenaglia, one of New York's few remaining superstar DJs. Tenaglia has been involved in New York's club scene since its halcyon days, growing up listening to Larry Levan spin at the Paradise Garage, eventually landing his own residency at NYC's short-lived superclub Twilo. As a selector, he tends toward the classic era of '90s house music with a tribal or progressive edge, but he's no dinosaur; despite the fact that he's been around forever (including a well-publicized “resignation” in 2012 that clearly didn't stick), he still keeps up with the underground, so don't be surprised to hear something straight out of Berghain in the mix, too.

Folsom Street Fair presents Deviants Adult Arcade with Paul Parker, DJs Pareja, Black Madonna, and more at Mezzanine, 6 p.m.-2 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21. $30 presale, $50 at door; mezzaninesf.com

If you're looking to party during Folsom Street Fair and you can only pick one party to attend, this is the one. Deviants is the official closing party of the Fair and it's also where you'll find its best DJs — Honey Soundsystem and Hard French play host, as usual, and this year they've brought out a remarkable spread of headliners. Paul Parker, a San Francisco based hi-NRG/disco singer, will perform in the grand tradition of Patrick Cowley, et al; he's joined by DJs Pareja, a duo from Buenos Aires that produced DJs off-kilter freak-out house music via Matias Aguayo's Cómeme record label, and the Black Madonna, a Chicago mainstay (and booker for the city's Smart Bar) whose wide-ranging tastes run the full gamut across the disco, house, and techno spectrum.

Gray Area presents Arca with Total Freedom and Jesse Kanda at Gray Area Art + Technology Theater, 8 p.m.-midnight Tuesday, Sept. 23. $20; grayarea.org

It may be a stretch to call this event a “party” — it will likely be more of an audio-visual extravaganza — but its intersection of club culture, high art, pop art, and digital/internet ephemera means anyone with an interest in electronic music should pay attention. Arca is a Venezuelan-born, Brooklyn-based producer whose music could loosely be described as “hip-hop,” but that doesn't really do it justice; he's recently known for production credits on Kanye's Yeezus and FKA Twigs' EP2. Joining him is L.A. DJ Total Freedom, one of the few DJs whose sound matches his name: His sets are all over the place in the best possible way (“totally free,” see?). The pair is joined by Jesse Kanda performing live visuals, a British artist who collaborated with FKA Twigs for her surreal video “Water Me.”

View Comments