CTM-Festival’s new and irregular series of events, POLYMORPHISM,
introduces forward thinking artists, labels and networks whose innovative programs and aesthetics relentlessly subvert – or simply transgress – the established parameters of musical scenes and genres.
The first night in the series is dedicated to 100% SILK, the personal label project of Amanda Brown aka LA Vampires and, so to speak, the dance floor department of the new-age-no-form-noise-drone-psychedelia label Not Not Fun, which Brown runs with her partner Britt Brown.
The label’s sound is accordingly diverse and impossible to pigeonhole while its release quota can likewise hold its own with the mother label. Amanda Brown characterizes the label’s output as “dance / not dance”, which is apt shorthand for a fusion of post-noise, electric-boogie, weird-pop, Italo-disco, sexually charged house tunes, trippy psychedelia and sweat-drenched cellar-disco vibes that remains persistently tuned to new horizons. 100% SILK releases by artists such as Ital, Maria Minerva, Sir Stephen, Innergaze, Polysick or Magic Touch are uncut diamonds, so charmingly ingenuous as to hold all the appeal of an ad-hoc jam session – yet also full to the brim with neat references to the history of dance music. Brown requires her artists to deliver a consistently subjective, personal style threaded with eclecticism. And so the 100% SILK label catalogue evinces a refreshing approach to the potential of contemporary club music, one rooted in sound knowledge of established musical formulas yet prepared to move far beyond them.
LA Vampires is the shape-shifting sound system universe of Amanda Beth Brown (corunner of Not Not Fun Records, mother of 100% SILK, and ex-Pocahaunted voodoo-ist). To date she’s released 4 records, each more different than the last: an acid-jazz cratedigger split with Psychic Reality, a spectral witch-dub collaboration with Zola Jesus, a blurry sunbleached cassette-loop collab with Matrix Metals, and an co-experiment in dance love and laments with Ital. Hers is an evolving vibe, utilizing a web of slowed/screwed tapes, boombox Casio FX, low end theories, and bleached voice patterns to conjure a reverb chamber’s worth of dance floor mirages.
Ital is the twisted solo creation of Daniel Martin-McCormick (Mr. Sex Worker, and one half of the amazing Mi Ami). The sounds are heady, tactile and amorphous and come from a producer who has a rich, passionate legacy in underground music. His debut LP on Planet Mu is hot off the press and is a boundary-pushing, thoughtful, body moving trip. A split SILK 12″ with Magic Touch is set to drop around the time of the tour.
Maria Minerva is the new pop model. Estonian-born, London-based Maria Juur magnifies the idea of bedroom-ballads-turn-dirty-dance to the umpteenth power with her pleasure/pain vocals and synthphonies. Self-assured and whip smart, Maria writes sensual lyrics with an intellectual bent, calling out to all the music lovers with moving minds AND bodies.
Magic Touch is the magic touch of San Francisco-based denim demi-god DJ and dancefloor motivator Damon Palermo (the other Mi Ami half, and a constant collaborator with Jonas Reinhardt). An awe-inspiring live drummer, Damon’s miraculously been able to translate that nuance and skill into synthetic drums and production. Magic Touch is relentlessly engaging, every peak and valley composed for optimum movement and groove.
Heatsick (PAN, CockTail d’amore) uses various instruments including voice, keyboard and percussion to create saturated washes of tone, floating and disintegrating entropic loops, while also using deliberately broken continuity as a playful, live conceptual gesture. The project is focused on repetition as a means of creating abstraction, improvising with organic variations of a theme, yet embracing the artificial to facilitate a psychedelic mindshift. The music references a palette of sources from Musique Concrete and Psychedelia, through to the early Chicago House mix tapes, creating a unique compelling sound. He releases on PAN and CockTail d’Amore.
Bill Kouligas, aka Family Battle Snake, is the head of the respected Pan label, on which he has released Heatsick, John Wiese, Joseph Hammer, Keith Fullerton-Whitman, Tricoli-Ankersmith and other grands of contemporary experimental music. As much as Kouligas is in favor of rigorous sound experimentation, he is equally deep involved in the edges of today’s club music. Consequently, his DJ-sets meld the wide open horizons of his multifarious musical interests into a sparkling dialogue full of unconventional turns and twists.