Splendid Beats Music and Thoughts by Crispy / Leave Trace
Categories: Chill Room, Events, Photos, Reviews

lara_at_chillography103

Holy chillout, Batman! Huge success! Fantastic sets by all our lovely DJs, 3 screens of eyecandy, and more than twice as many attendees as the previous show all made for a truly enjoyable night.

Here’s my NWTekno review::

What a fantastic night! When we started the Chillography series, we were chasing a vision that very much resembled the reality that was 103. Thanks to everyone that came out to be a part of something that’s attempting to a bit different than the typical electronic music event. It was a real pleasure to see and meet tons of new people. I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and will join us again at Chillography 104, sometime in the Spring.

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Now for some specific shout outs:

Geminitrix, Lara, Coral and Jenna:: You all spun beautiful sets that created one of the largest chillout dancefloors I’ve ever seen. Nicely done. I recorded the whole night, so in the near future we’ll be able to share your sets with those that couldn’t make it or would like to hear is all again.

Julirama:: Your three screens of visuals, plus the Buddha Tank, significantly added to the beauty of the night. It was a pleasure to collaborate with you on this event.

Hendrik and Adrian:: Chillography would not exist at all without you. Best partners in chill ever.

Isaac and your Elixir Bar:: Your tasty and refreshing elixirs were a delicious hit.

The door, set-up, and clean-up volunteers:: I didn’t get to meet you all, but you provided some much needed and truly appreciated help that was vital to the success of the night.

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Photos and recorded sets will be posted here and at chillography.net when I’ve had a chance to process them.

Until I get my photos up, here is Lara’s great photo set of the night.

Categories: Reviews, Videos

I picked up Movements, the new Solar Fields album, last week and have been listening to it daily since. The short of it is that this album is amazing. I’ve been a huge fan of Solar Fields for quite a while, and Movements fully delivers on that Solar Fields sound that I so love. I like to describe the Solar Fields sound as Arena Ambient because it’s as if he’s writing epic music to be played on giant PAs in huge stadiums. Massive bass with precise percussion and smooth, evolving textures and melodies fluttering in and out of the scape, digging deep into your emotional core, without ever stepping into cheese territory. Man, a Solar Fields arena show would just be breathtaking.

There’s nothing ground-breaking about Movements, just huge, emotional scores that are so satisfying that its easy to just let this album loop over and over. It’s interesting to me that while his sound and techniques seemed to have changed little from his first release, I have not yet tired of his brand of musical magic. He’s definitely tapped into something that just speaks to me. It’s like every release is a further refinement of that sound, leading the listener further into the depths of the same mysterious musical cavern.

If you are a fan of Solar Fields, getting this album is a must. If you are fan of the mellower flavors of electronica, you too must get this album. Not sure if you are into either of the former? You could certainly do worse things than buying Movements and giving it a chance. Check the track and videos below for a sampling of the album.



Here’s some great Solar Fields performance footage featuring the track Discovering. This must have been an incredible musical experience for those in attendance.

Categories: Events, Photos, Reviews

What fun! I was all like oontz oontz oontz and Shapey was like wicky wocka wicky and then I was like earon earon scrickty wah wah woosh and Shapey did his tik tika tik tokka tokka wrown womp womp and the dancefloor was all like stomp stomp yay stomp skippy stomp….. Good times indeed. 🙂

Our set got recorded, so hopefully I’ll be able to post that at some point for download. Until then, here are some photos of the evening, taken by my wife.



And here are some great photos taken by Osiris.

Categories: Books, Reviews

Perdido Street Station Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

My review


rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love love love this book. It’s got all the elements that really tickle my imagination bone. Strange creatures, robots, steampunk technology, pandimensional beings, bioengineered monstrosities, and truly likable characters that inhabit a fully realized city, saturated with history, untold tales and a thick layer of grime.

This is a difficult book to classify. It’s fantasy without the wizards and sci-fi without the spaceships, but that is much of its charm. Quite unlike anything I’ve ever read and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Categories: Books, Cool Hunting, Reviews, Visual Art



I recently stumbled across the most mesmerizing graphic novel at Monster Art and Clothing in Ballard. It’s called Capacity by Theo Ellsworth.

What immediately grabbed me were his uber-detailed, surreal illustrations of fantastic creatures and impossible architecture, reminiscent of art by Moebius, but with a much looser, doodle-like quality. As a constant doodler myself, simple line-art illustrations that evolve by relinquishing the direction of the pen to the subconscious mind are right up my alley.


Self Portrait by Theo Ellsworth

Upon reading, I felt like Bastian discovering the The Never Ending Story. The sprawling imaginative dreamworld that Theo attempts to document, and the way in which he engages the reader to participate in that exploration, is truly unique and inspiring. The summary text on the back cover nicely captures the amorphous nature of this book in words:

Intricate, even exquisite – but never immaculate, Theo Ellsworth’s Capacity is a mind turned inside out. Ellsworth’s careful line gives shape to profound and profoundly silly thoughts alike, bringing a visionary, startling new life to the doubts and hopes that are so familiar to everyone.

Fans of visionary/psychedelic art, the creative process, imaginative creatures, dream worlds, and unique stories should do what they can to buy this book. It has easily became one of my favorite graphic novels in my collection.

Categories: Books, Reviews

Anathem Anathem by Neal Stephenson

My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars

Woah….. what a ride. I’m quite happy to be done with this behemoth, so I don’t have to lug it with me on my bus ride each day. That aside, I really enjoyed the rich cultural tapestry Stephenson wove and the thought provoking discussions heavily peppered throughout. At times it felt like a slow read, as the first half (two-thirds?) of the book were filled with many multi-page “dialogs” about logic, philosophy, quantum mechanics, and a number of other related topics, but the presentation of these discussions and the plot movements (though very slight at first) connecting them were intriguing and easily kept me coming back for more. The final third was a major and welcome shift to a more traditional space opera tale, but with the hard-science twist Stephenson had set up from page one. And good news, the completely satisfying end is totally worth the 900+ page journey.

This book covers a lot of ground and was easily one of the more thought provoking fictions I’ve read in quite a while. Anyone looking for some reality and depth in your sci-fi, Anathem will be hard to beat.

Now I’m onto China Miéville‘s Perdido Street Station. I’m only on page 60 and I can already tell that I’m going to love this book. I’m so glad to have stumbled upon this author.

Categories: Cool Hunting, Reviews

At the most recent Dancechurch, Defib (aka Andrew Towl) gave me a copy of his “Spectral Overload” CD.

After a proper listen to it, I was moved to write this review. I get plenty of CDs from local talent and most of it is usually pretty bland or just not my tastes and is forever shelved in “the pile.” Defib’s CD was a surprising departure from that trend. I’m going to go ahead and just put this out there now, “Spectral Overload” is easily the best locally produced psytrance I have heard to date.

To quote his site, it’s a

Live/ Dj set featuring live guitar, synth, and sampling. The mix is comprised of the latest tracks by Defib. A concoction of funky beats and driving synth lines meant to give your head a space to journey through while leaving your feet behind to dance.

In short, this is some serious speaker pumping, sweat inducing, dance floor thrashing, full-on trance dance tunage. While my tastes have moved away from full-on, banging psytrance, there’s still a place in my heart for the sound. It’s rarely the music I put on to listen to, but I still pepper it into my trance sets when the time and dancefloor energy level are right.

This CD contains all of the elements you’ve come to expect in full-on psytrance, and it does them well. Trashing guitar riffs mingle with tinkling melodies, dugga dugga basslines, and ripping leads. There are even some proggy touches in the mix. In the end, that may actually be my biggest knock against it. It sounds like lots of stuff I’ve heard before, though it recreates that sound expertly. The energy level is kept pretty high throughout and will work great on any psytrance-minded dancefloor. In a complaint related to my opinion of full-on psy, I wish there was a little more breathing room in the tracks. See Gus Till for the master of track dynamics and contrast. By breaking a track all the way down to it’s most basic elements and then rebuilding, the crescendo highs seem that much higher than if you maintain that rocking intensity for the duration of the track (or whole set for that matter).

Thankfully, there are plenty of hints at an original take on the genre, sprinkled amidst the clichés, to keep this album interesting. I can’t wait to watch/hear Defib continue to develop his sound and really focus more on his sound, not just what is expected of the genre. There is a lot of promise here and if he keeps it up, he has bright future in our local and national scene. It’ll take a bit more originality to stand out in the global quagmire that is psytrance, but I’m sure he has it in him.

Genre complaints aside, Defib brings that touch of intensity that Seattle needs to balance out it’s proggy tendencies. Promoters, please book this man for your events. Your dancefloors will thank you!

Here are a few of my favorites from the album. You can dowload all of this material plus the entire mixed album from his site.

Crunchmonkey

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Squeltch

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Pectin Partical

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Categories: Chill Room, Events, Photos, Reviews, Videos

What a great evening of tunes and chillin’!:) Everything came together really well and it made for a quite a memorable night. Pictures do a much better job of describing the event, so check out Lara604‘s awesome photo set below. Also, I recorded the entire evening of music, and I’ll be posting those sets once I’ve cut the file apart and processed the sets.

A million thanks to Hendrik and Adrian for helping this thing come alive and be as great as it was. To those that were there, it was a pleasure chilling with you, and to those that weren’t, I missed you and hope that you can make it the next one.



Here is my photo set. Despite bringing the tripod, my little point-and-shoot still does not do so well in low light setting.



And here’s Lara’s video look-about.

Categories: Books, Reviews

King Rat King Rat by China Miéville

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dark, gritty and thoroughly enjoyable. All comparisons with Neil Gaiman are spot on, and that’s perfectly okay with me. The prominent Drum and Bass soundtrack weaved throughout the story was a fun and unique element. Miéville obviously had some insider knowledge of genre that he wanted to show off. I’ve never read a fiction book with so much to say about music, let alone the very specific genre of Jungle.

London + Urban Fairytale + Drum and Bass = A very fun read!

There are some particulars about the story that a little off, but this being Miéville’s first novel, they can easily be excused. After reading this and his wonderful Un Lun Dun, I’m really excited to dive into the rest of his material.

Now I’m onto Neal Stephenson‘s Anathem.

Categories: Events, Info, Reviews, Videos

Wow. Wow. Wow. Such a spectacular show. Crystal clear sound, huge projections, thick moody lighting and all watched from a really great seat. Very few bands (that I listen to anyway) have such a dynamic range within their music as Sigur Rós, who smoothly transitioned from monochrome melancholy to full-blown psychedelic orgasm of sound and lights. This was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, probably second only to Roger Waters doing Dark Side of the Moon at Key Arena.

I overheard someone while walking out exclaiming “That was the best $50 I’ve ever spent!” and I couldn’t agree more. Twice that would have felt worth it.

Even if you don’t really know them, never pass up a chance to witness them live. It is a musical experience that is truly hard to top.

Check out this decent video clip of their recent tour stop in LA. Our Benaroya experience was nearly identical only in smaller venue. This was just one of many awe inspiring moments throughout the show.



PS. Here’s a hot seating tip for Benaroya Hall. Skip looking for the Orchestra Center. Look for an aisle seat in Orchestra R or L. You’ll be looking a bit diagonal to the stage, but with the expansive aisle next to you, there are no worries of a tall head or stander blocking your view.

PPS. I found out how to embed the High Quality verisons of YouTube videos during the course of making this post. Paste the string “&ap=%2526fmt%3D18” directly after the video embed URL in the embed code that YouTube provides. This page provides a more in depth explanation of the process.