Friday, March 23rd
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The nice thing about living in the city is that you occasionally get to see stuff like avant-garde electronic beat-maker White Rainbow starting a dance party at your neighborhood bike shop. (Consider it an especially unusual adjunct to my whole big things in small rooms theory.) That was the scene at the Central District's 20/20 Cycle on Friday night, for one show of free-form online radio station Hollow Earth's annual Magma Festival, which continues throughout the month at various venues (including the Seattle debut of VHS legend Jan Terri). Sandwiched in between local hip hop/electro acts Side Pony, Katie Kate, and Metal Chocolates, White Rainbow's Adam Forkner stood behind a table of gear, wearing a blank white mask, and casually improvised beats and grooves, chatting over the top with his voice pitched waaay down. Typical White Rainbow stuff, but really, if you haven't seen this Portland staple rock a weird DIY party yet, you owe it to yourself to do so.
At one point he played the synth riff from Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow," looping it over itself in uneven layers, and observed, in his unnaturally low voice, "That shit sounds like Steve Reich." He took his mask off for an encore that sped things up from his previous instrumental hip hop lope to a breezy 4/4 dance track, a house jam of hazy synths and a woodblock rhythm pattern.
Elsewhere in the show, co-host Jonathan Cunningham (who was joined by his Central Sounds partner Richard Jensen) shouted down the stupidity of Geraldo Rivera blaming Trayvon Martin's death on his wearing of a hoodie (with an assist from, I believe, Mt St Helens Vietnam Band's Marshall Verdoes). Katie Kate did her thing ably enough, I guess, although it is deeply not my bag. Metal Chocolates took the stage and proceeded to do several minutes of terminally half-assed fucking around, justifying it with a brief speech about jazz being a spontaneous expression of the soul and the Afro-centric origins of music and whatnot. OC Notes is super talented musician/produce/etc, and no question Rik Rude can rap, whether rehearsed or free-styling, but even for an intentionally experimental, psychedelic rap project, this seemed unfocused, and a sharp contrast to the tighter improvisations of White Rainbow earlier in the evening. Style points, though: OC Notes uses a mouse and trackpad for his laptop beat-making, which is some seriously old school cred.