Monday, October 3, 2011

Salva's Weird Science

Mr. Paul Douglas and a cross for whatever reason

I've said a lot about Salva, whether it was in my deservedly glowing review of his debut album Complex Housing or in my RA Label of the Month feature on the label it was released on, Friends of Friends.  But I'll say it again: the former San Francisco scene kingpin (now based in L.A., the goddamned sellout) is one of the most inspiring and multi-talented producers going in a very crowded landscape of experimental California electronic music.  Part of is due to heritage: growing up on a diet of as much house as hip-hop, Paul Douglas' music doesn't have the same top-heavy swagger of so many of his Cali contemporaries, but instead a delicate and nimble sense of movement that makes his tumbling snare hits feel graceful instead of sloppy.  His own music, especially since Complex Housing, has been a melting pot of styles, whether he's just barely hinting at garage with tracks like "Keys Open Doors," squelchy future funk by way of "Beached" and "Wake Ups," lightfooted house on "I'll Be Your Friend," or a personal favourite, the serrated cotton candy fuzz of "Icey," which I called "the best Joker track never made" and I pretty much stand by that statement.  And I'm talking prime Joker there. [Read on after the jump for more babbling praise an exclusive mix]

He also runs the Frite Nite label and collective, who've just released their first compilation in the form of Surreal Estate, featuring exclusive tracks from Salva himself, Distal, XI, Comma, EPROM, Sepalcure, DJG, and the list goes on.  I'll have some thoughts on up in the usual places soon enough, but needless to say it's a fascinating look at a North American bass-centric dance music scene that isn't centered around the distinctive death-rattle of "wobble dubstep," and that many of its seventeen tracks are one of each artist's best (Distal's "Mamanimal" in particular) certainly doesn't hurt.

Salva is currently on a North American tour as part of a dual-header with fellow SFer EPROM, and, well, it's quite a show.  Having seen them both play their live sets at this weekend's past Decibel Festival, I can say that Salva's live set delivers on the multi-genre wonders of his album, a perfect blend of prickly funk, drunken hip-hop and staccato house patterns.  The tour continues this week through Western Canada before finishing up in California, and needless to say it's a must-see for a look at an alternative home-bred North American dance music.  There's something to be said for the fascinating contrast between Salva's subtlety and EPROM's ruthless thrashing, as well, but those are probably thoughts best saved for another post.

Oh yeah, I'm getting somewhere with all this: just today I was delivered an exclusive mix from Salva himself, a short little showcase of his own productions (one of which comes from his excellent forthcoming Friends of Friends EP Yellobone, which certainly continues the Complex Housing hot streak) that gives you an idea of what to expect from his live set.  Energetic but subtle, funky but focused, this is why Salva is one of my favourite American producers going right now, and has been since I fell in love with Complex Housing late last year.  Check it out.

Beans - Blue Movie (Salva Remix) - Anticon Promo
Salva - Komodo - Forthcoming Friends of Friends
Salva - Issey Miyake - Friends of Friends
Salva - Mag Clips - Frite Nite Trax
Om Unit - Prawn Cocktail (Salva Remix) - Civil Music
Wheez-ie - Keep Yr Chin Up (Salva Remix) - Forthcoming Embassy Recordings

The remaining tour dates for those curious:

10/6 - Victoria - Club 919 - w/ Eprom
10/7 - Vancouver - Five Sixty - w/ Eprom
10/8 - Nelson - Spirit Bar - w/ Eprom
10/14 - Ashland - Culture Works - w/ Eprom
10/15 - Arcata - Arcata Theatre - w/ Ana Sia, Eprom, NastyNasty
10/21 - Santa Cruz - Don Quixotes - w/ Ana Sia, Eprom, NastyNasty 
10/22 - San Francisco - Mezzanine - w/ Eprom, Ana Sia, Chrissy Murderbot, B. Bravo, and more

Complex Housing is out now on Friends of Friends, the Yellobone EP will be soon, and more info on the Surreal Estate compilation can be found at the Frite Nite website.

No comments:

Post a Comment