Bklyn Sounds on Dada Strain: 9/17-23
This Week: Analog Soul/Turtle Bugg, "The Last Stand," Illy B, Super Yamba, "Algo Riddim," "The Bunker," "Take Two," Lady Blackbird, flymyspcshp, Conclave/J Hoard/Narcotix, "“technoechophenomena”
TO: Dada Strain subscribers.
RE: Bklyn Sounds
I’ve spent much of this past summer working on a few projects adjacent to Dada Strain. One of which was a weekly column for the (now sadly defunct) Bklyner. magazine. It’s purpose was to bring back a spotlight to local music, which is to say, the musickers of Brooklyn. I outlined it all in the first column in early June, entitled “Why Bklyn Sounds Now?”: the need to
- have a local general-interest media outlet for local artists, venues and promoters
- reimagine music stories as part of the community fabric
- focus on local events at local establishments and local musicians for those who were trying to re-engage with live music culture.
In light of all the things we were supposed to have learned in 2020-21, it seemed important to do this werk, if only because no one else was doing it. (Or at least doing it regularly.)
The columns retained my perspective on music’s higher qualities — that is to say the Dada Strain ethos of “rhythm” + “improvisation” + “community futures.” Yet there was also the acknowledgement of, and a desire to address all Brooklyn audiences. Hence the listings included traditional classical, kids, rock, and other local music events that were of import to individual neighborhoods and communities. The feedback was uniformly excellent. So when Bklyner. decided to cease publishing, I vowed to keep the column going and try to find it a new home. But while that process is taking shape, I will be publishing it at Dada Strain.
If you are a Dada Strain subscriber in Brooklyn/New York, hopefully this adds a layer of local music information, ideas or sounds you were unaware of. If you are a subscriber not local to NYC, hopefully these weekly posts give you an insight on some of the rhythm + improvisation + community haps taking place here that you don’t often read about (unless you dive deeply into blogs and periodicals pertaining to musics named “jazz” or “house” or whatever…). There will always be links/embeds to experience these local artists.
Make no mistake, Dada Strain is a temporary home of Bklyn Sounds. But maybe it can become something more. As I’ve always inferred, this space is founded on evolving. Who knows what the future brings.
BKLYN SOUNDS CHOICES: September 17th - 23rd
The Friday (9/17) dance at Nowadays, on the border of Bushwick and Ridgewood, features DJs who’ve been cornerstones of the city’s house-oriented parties. Under the name Analog Soul, the sisters Jacquelyn and Kathryn Smith, throw down great deep records at events all around Brooklyn (and beyond), making them two of the most trusted late-night ambassadors of deep Black dance music in the borough. Turtle Bugg (Tahj Morris) was too, his party Sublimate was among Bk’s best house-meets-techno-meets-disco throwdowns; but now he lives in Detroit, which means he’s probably acquired even better records. (56-09 Cooper Ave, 10p, $20)
Opening on Saturday (9/18) morning at 8a (but running through the day - and until October 10th), “The Last Stand” is an experimental environmental opera and sound installation in Prospect Park. Composed by Kamala Sankaram and produced by the urban-art experientialists at Creative Time, it is a long-form piece that turns nature field recordings into an ecological narrative, addressing the life of an oak tree to heighten “awareness of the complex expanse of multi-species kinship surrounding us.” Not light fare, but such are the times... (Lincoln Road entrance, 8a-6p, Free)
Billy Martin is probably still best recognized as drummer for Medeski, Martin & Wood, the downtown Manhattan organ trio that at the turn of the century captured the imagination of the jam-band crowd, souring them to certain jazz crowds forever. Which is a shame, because MMW and its individual players always had great rhythm+improvisation ideas for days. Martin’s work as Illy B has ventured into many far-flung beat-oriented spaces and beyond them. Saturday (9/18) at Ibeam in Gowanus, he presents two different programs: a piano-vocal duet with tenor Jueh, and an improvisation with four trombones. (168 7th St., 8p, $20suggested)
One of the great, local “back to live” stories has been the growth of long-beloved party band Super Yamba (sometimes Kaleta & Super Yamba, sometimes just Yamba Band) into a mass draw. On a good night, the Brooklyn-based, psychedelic Afro-funk orchestra led by Benin-born guitarist/vocalist Leon Ligan-Majek (Kaleta), who played with King Sunny Ade and Fela Kuti when he lived in Lagos, is unstoppable, and seem destined for bigger gigs. But Saturday (9/18) night, Yamba Band returns to the small sweaty room where its rise began, Park Slope’s Barbes. (376 9th St.,10p. $15)
“The Bunker” party has survived a lot! It began at downtown Manhattan’s beloved Tonic in the mid-Aughts, before gentrification forced it to Williamsburg, then went further outer-borough. Through it all, the party’s mix — classic techno and evolving styles; great locals, residents and artists from Detroit and the world — has remained essentially true to the culture. Their first post-shutdown mix at Greenpoint’s Good Room this Saturday (9/18) features all these elements, with the great DJ pairing of Carlos Souffront and Patrick Russell commandeering the “Bad Room” all night long. (98 Meserole, 10p, $30)
Another great Saturday (9/18) dance option is, to the best of our knowledge, a premiere. “Algo Riddim” is the brainchild of Brownsville's dancehall/flex music maestro Epic B, and Uproot Andy, co-founder of Que Bajo, one of the city’s foundational global dance music nights. The guest DJs at their first fete, Bk’s Riobamba and Bronx’s BSN YEA, pile on the quality of the weird, borderless riddim selections. Friends & Lovers in Crown Heights is a wonderful, small-but-big-enough spot, and admission is downright cheap. This could get hot! (641 Classon Ave., 10p, $5)
Founded in 2018 by Samuel and Jared who help run the progressive jazz label Pique-nique, “Take Two” is one of the city’s great unsung improvisational music programs. The concept can’t be simpler: a musician puts together a band to reinterpret an album they love, in a Bushwick apartment, before a crammed house-show audience. The catch is that Samuel and Jared ask incredible musicians, who put star-studded bands, to play less-than-obvious great music. On Sunday (9/19), the vibraphonist Sasha Berliner will perform trumpeter Avishai Cohen’s 2016 LP, Cross My Palms with Silver. Click through to see the line-up, and dig the RSVP right below. This will sell out! (Secret Bushwick location, 6p, $25)
After almost a year of Bandcamp teases through great original versions and remixes, the Los Angeles singer Lady Blackbird’s debut album Black Acid Soul finally made its way into the world in early September. It is an opus that organically blends Marley Munroe’s smokey vocals with a psychedelic and symphonic version of a jazz piano-trio, and splits one hell of a Dada Strain difference. Over the weekend, she’s playing at Celebrate Brooklyn, but on Tuesday (9/21) the Lady is at Bed-Stuy’s Bar Lunatico, at a gig that’s primed for legend. (486 Halsey st., 9p, $10suggested)
Greenpoint’s IRL has already developed a great nous for weird synth-related music of all sorts, from experimental and improvisational, to groove-oriented. Wednesday’s (9/22) bill straddles all those nooks, topped by flymyspcshp (the synth+machines identity of jazz keyboardist and Bowie collaborator Jason Lindner) and Dawn of MIDI co-founder Qasim Naqvi; with support from synth-oriented junglist Currency Audio, and mixing engineer Abe Seiferth, who has s worked on a fair share of great Brooklyn dance records, and will tonight bring his modular toys out for a spin. (80 Franklin Street, 7:30p, $20)
If you’re looking for a great bill that showcases Brooklyn’s musical diversity, it’s hard to do better than this Wednesday (9/22) at The Sultan Room. Followers of Bklyn Sounds and Dada Strain, already know all about Conclave, Cesar Toribio’s great Afro-Caribbean jazz-house project, but the rest of the bill is pure fire as well. Singer/songwriter J Hoard mixes classic soul and rock frontman vibes; and The Narcotix, a quartet fronted by singing multi-instrumentalists Esther Quansah and Becky Foinchas, who call themselves a “West African art-folk band,” which they are, and a lot more. (234 Starr St., 8p, $15)
Based on the amount of digital projects and extensions that Moses Sumney participates in, it seems like the young Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter/producer is a tech and multimedia junkie. Which, in this day and age...fair play! His latest foray into technology is “technoechophenomena,” an interactive installation at Pioneer Works’ Red Hook Labs space powered by Microsoft Kinect, where visitors enter an environment that plays Sumney’s music, and create “an out-of-body experience totally unique to them—essentially allowing attendees to ‘play’ the room.” Through sept. 26th. (133 Imlay St., noon-6p, Free with Reservation)