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Meat Beat Manifesto & Not Breathing @ Santos Party House 2.20.11

This was a low-end affair, caught inside the world’s most well-orchestrated bass car.

Security was remarkably tight; despite the Class of Nuke’em High brigade’s plumage, mistaking signals of menace for fashion trapped in (gothy 80s) amber is confusion. Perhaps the city has been causing issues as of late? Regardless, if you enjoy a good pat-down, the Santos security team has you covered.

Not Breathing continues to be one of the most criminally underrated electronic acts in the United States.

The intersection of booty bass and broken glass crushing out of Santos fairly dang amazing sound system had this woman in front of us doing aerobics. Other people were bopping and dancing – the set’s undercurrent was a solid slab of a heavy kick drum – but she was genuinely doing aerobics. It was a bit disconcerting, no matter how appropriate for an evening of painfully loud power electronics meets acid dancehall.

But what I like most about Not Breathing is that perfect mix of the ugly and the funky, but humanized and humorized just enough to avoid the sterility of the clinical UK style take on that ideal. Check out the video below for the basic idea.

Meat Beat Manifesto is one of the few acts I’ve seen that actually gets the whole VISUAL MULTIMEDIA DJ EXPERIENCE right. Triggered samples and clips from movies running forward and backward in perfect synchronization. Jack Dangers knows he’s just a dude with a beret, and responds accordingly. The music was excellent, mixing old classics with a mostly straightforward runthrough of the new album, Answers Come in Dreams. The bass was nearly sickening, as in “blaarrrghhhh” sickening, not “bro that was most sick” sickening. The last show I remember being that dense on the low end was Pole (remember him?) doing a neat and tidy set in the old neat and tidy Cooler back when it still existed.

It was kind of absurd, but in a way that convinced me to pick up the last copy of the new album they had at the merch table. Much of the crowd had come to a similar conclusion at this and the other shows that had come before; bless their hair extended and welding goggled-hearts.

 

 

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Not Breathing – Christy Cores

Thunderously heavy with a hint of shoegazey melodies drowning amid a sea of angry electro, Not Breathing‘s Christy Cores sits firmly in the Other category of the giant umbrella that is “electronic music”. It’s neither brutally experimental, nor particularly precise; it lacks the easy edge of a dance cut and doesn’t have much of a scene umbrella beyond “weird stuff from Arizona”.

It’s hard to even describe most of the songs – “Uh, ok – there’s mostly beats but not always, sometimes a thick ass low end, a lotta modular sounds, and all the hooks sound like a band is playing half a song on top of them. But it’s very good.”

My personal favorite is “The Final Night”, which has an old Trans Am buildup with a buried swirl of that kind of triumphant synth symphony of yesterday, but it’s also kinda ugly and smashed to pieces. It sounds like a fight between the collaborators involved and their disparate influences and ideas, and despite all the harsh corners, is about as polished as something of this nature can be.

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Not Breathing – Laquarto & Perky

This collection of Not Breathing jammy drum n’ modular tracks is rough and raw, and has a structure that is something of a throwback to the hazy days of The Starry Wisdom*, particularly “Mycomaster.” Let the loops ride and the knobs tweak on.

There’s a detuned thump to a lot of the leads that’s either delightfully nauseous or a bit sick – the aptly-named “Antibiotic Throwdown” sounds like someone’s squeezing a seal that’s crying for help from the pack. This is fine with me, seeing as seals are assholes who do a lot of raping and killing for sport, like most of the animal kingdom**, so let’s get a really big vise grip and squeeze those bitches.

There’s a lot of joyfully simple booty bass rhythms, admittedly distorted, filtered and modulated – ring and otherwise – and the splashy 4-bit snare sounds evoke an early NES game, perhaps something you played while home sick from school and bombed out of your skull on Robitussin.*** “Masonic Sadness Vortex” begins as a bopper and ends with a wet crash; I don’t see the Masonry or the Sadness myself, but I the Vortex part is clear. Continue reading

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Not Breathing – The Black Old Pueblo

Density. Denseness. Densosity. Densitude. Uh, je ne soi densis? Most of these fabricated words aren’t really very helpful in describing a whole lot of sounds smashed into one place, but neither is saying “there’s a whole lot of sounds smashed into one place and uh, it’s cool and stuff.” But that’s basically the deal here – catchy whisps of melodic themes smothered by choppy beats and booty-ish bass. Not Breathing (Dave Wright and collaborators, including Jack Dangers and Mark Spybey on this release) has followed a long chain – at least a decade – of progression from a mutated technoid existence to a stunning array of modified toys, drum machines and home-brewed synths. This process has left us somewhere at the intersection of breakcore, 3rd wave industrial and IDM, which is about as helpful as saying something is “not meat.”

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This is not meat. Continue reading

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