Mezzanine, Blasthaus, and Noisepop Present
The Crystal Ark
444 Jessie St
San Francisco, CA, 94103
This event is 21 and over
The Crystal Ark
The Crystal Ark is producer Gavin Russom's deepest foray into rhythm, physicality and movement.
Inspired by music he heard during a 2007 trip to Brazil, Russom returned to his Berlin-based studio and composed the first Crystal Ark songs, which drew upon both his love of psychedelic rave tracks like "Inner Light" by Phantasia and his long and deep interest in Latin rhythms. Though those intricately woven, vivid early instrumentals were compelling in their own right, Russom continued to seek out elements that would push the music's arresting energy forward. The group truly took form when he invited filmmaker Viva Ruiz, whom he met by chance as she was passing through Berlin on tour, to add Spanish lyrics and vocals to the raw tracks. Ruiz's fevered vocalizations on the Crystal Ark's first single, "The City Never Sleeps," helped heighten the song's already visceral intensity through to its pulsating end. Alberto Lopez, Russom's long-time friend and high school collaborator, joined the outfit shortly thereafter, contributing live percussion to follow-up "The Tangible Presence of the Miraculous." That track, filled with polyrhythmic drumming and a persistent acid bassline, is an intensely affecting musical sojourn made all the more rapturous by Lopez's drumming.
Following DFA's release of those two 12"s, Russom returned to New York City, a move that further informed the sound of the music. Like New York itself, the Crystal Ark's output – with its cross-blend of genres, languages, and sounds – increasingly reflected the intensity, physicality and sexuality that pervades the city in which it was made. Russom and Ruiz continued expanding the band for live performances, and to further enrich and enliven the Crystal Ark's music on recordings. The lineup has grown to include vocalists Jaiko Suzuki and Sokhna Heathyre Mabin, both of whom previously collaborated with Ruiz, as well as electronics master Matt Thornley and bassist Tyler Pope, with whom Gavin worked during LCD Soundsystem's farewell tour. This incarnation first appeared on the Crystal Ark's third single, "Touch," a song that melds funk basslines, Afro-Carribbean percussion and Ruiz and Russom's vocals into a singular inducement to dance. Live performances further the band's body-centric agenda by seamlessly integrating dance and visuals into a vivid multimedia performance: Dancers Irene "Discos" Deros and Alberto Cortes make expressed the physicality implied in the group's sound, while video artists Bec Stupak and Johnny Woods transform performance spaces with color and movement.
The stunning results of this collaboration can be seen in the Crystal Ark's live performances during their upcoming tour of Europe and the United States, and heard on their DFA album debut, to be released in early 2012.
If you examined a San Francisco dance floor, you would find many layers of rich history stamped into the wood grain. It would tell you tales of the 80's discotheques like the Trocadero Transfer or of Sylvester playing acetates at the End Up. Look closer and you will find imprints of endless nights sweating to the sounds of the DJ Harvey and the Wicked Crew or Mark Farina and the naked sounds of Miguel Migs. But, if you were to look up and into the DJ booth, you would find some new faces fanning the flames of a heavy torch passed on.
Honey Soundsystem, a DJ group created in the spirit of the legendary bay area crews, have been making their own scuff marks on todays dancefloors while spreading the gospel of SF's rich dance music history. A couple of years ago discaires, Ken Vulsion, Pee Play, Robot Hustle, Jason Kendig, and Josh Cheon, came together seeking to fill a void they saw in current gay nightlife. Each member, with many years of experience under his belt, watched as a revival of gay disco legends and queer house music producers were being celebrated by a new generation of dancers. Honey Soundsystem started throwing events bringing those old records and the excitement of new underground sounds back to a gay/mixed dancefloor. Honey started turning heads with their cunning ad campeigns, decadent themes, international guests, private warehouse parties and ofcourse their floor stomping DJ sets. The Mineshaft party was an evening dedicated to SF's high energy disco label Megatone Records of which Honey has been hard at work to release never before heard music from frisco disco legend Patrick Cowley.
They have hosted DJ's from around the world, including Todd Terje, Hawke aka Gavin Hardkiss, Horse Meat Disco London, Part Time Punks, Stefan Goldmann, Hercules & Love Affair, Discodromo, Cosmo Vitelli, DJ Spun, Shits & Giggles, Derek Plaslaiko, Ben Aqua, MVSCLZ, DJ Garth, Club Tubway NYC, Anthony Mansfield, Party Effects, House of Stank, Pilooski, Teengirl Fantasy, Lovefingers,and A Club Called Rhonda
2009 has been an exciting year for the crew. With a European tour under their belt, a mix featured on Tim Sweeny's Beats in Space, a successfull Sunday weekly residency in SF, and countless other dates all over, the bees are buzzing. The coming months will find Honey with original 12" releases and edits, the launch of Josh Cheon's new label Dark Entries, and the release of their collaboration with Macro of Catholic, a never before heard album by Patrick Cowley.