Showing posts from July, 2007

California boomin'

John Tejada Rides the Wave of L.A.'s Techno Renaissance By Dennis Romero Wednesday, July 23, 2008 John Tejada landed in Los Angeles in the early 1980s at the age of 8. His mother, a Mexican-American opera singer, had left his Austrian father and settled in Panorama City. After a Viennese childhood of piano lessons, touring opera houses with his parents and exposure to the best classical music, the grade-schooler woke up one day in the northeast Valley hoping he wouldn’t get shot on the way to school, hoping that a nerdlike devotion to the sounds of “techno-hop” and true-school electro would keep him under the local gangs’ radar. And so, little John listened on his Walkman as the earth seemed to quake, pop and break-dance to the robotic sounds of the Unknown DJ, Egyptian Lover, Arabian Prince, Afrika Bambaataa and Arthur Baker. “All these electronic genres came out of these urban environments,” says the techno producer, now 34. “House, techno and drum ’n’ bass all came out of poor e

Getting “Respect” at the Echoplex

Drum and Bass party is now at Eastside club By Dennis Romero, Special to the Times July 3, 2008 Though it has made its name as a sneak-peek critics' venue (Beck and Mars Volta have performed there), the Echoplex in Echo Park is also shaping up as a local epicenter for edgy, left-of-center dance music (M.I.A., Cut Copy, UNKLE). Case in point: The homegrown Junglist Platoon crew of DJs recently moved their 9-year-old Respect drum-and-bass night to the 'Plex on Thursdays, after the owners of their last home base, a Hollywood lounge, couldn't stand the volume of d-'n'-b's rumble-and-roll. (If you can't stand the beats, stay out of the kitchen.) At the Echoplex, the hyperkinetic soul of Respect's break-beat arrhythmia gets proper staging, complete with stacks of loudspeakers, a wide-open stage, two-screens of Paleolithic visuals, and enough b-boys to start a break-dance army. The DJs take center stage, flanked by as many as three MCs. Strangely, as foreign an

Booka Shade, Avalon Hollywood, July 26

LA Weekly July 28, 2008 8:13 AM Text and photos by Dennis Romero It’s a relatively new medium boxed in by opposing conventions: rocking out versus remaining faithful to the linear, lockstep groove of the modern dance floor. Few – perhaps Kraftwerk, the Chemical Brothers and the first incarnation of Deepsky – have breached the envelope. We’re talking, of course, of live electronic music – an oxymoronic pursuit to some. On Saturday the Berlin nu-tech duo Booka Shade took its live show for a second time to a packed house at Avalon Hollywood, sincerely attempting to put a fresh spin on its two-album catalog that includes its sublime spring release, The Sun & the Neon Light. Did beautiful, cobalt grooves emerge as Arno Kammermeier and Wlater Merziger sweated over two laptops, a digital drum kit and several synthesizers and sequencers? Of course. Who could resist the bittersweet, voice-box serenade of of its latest single, “Charlotte,” or the melancholic break-house of one of its first b

Many flavors of hip feed the Hard fest

Los Angeles Times July 17, 2008 By -- Dennis Romero ON NEW YEAR'S Day of 1993, fans of cutting-edge music could have done worse than hanging out with Gary Richards on his 22nd birthday as he rode a roller coaster high above Knott's Berry Farm. Richards was throwing a party for himself, but more important, he was pulling rave culture and techno music out of illicit warehouses and injecting it into the concert-going mainstream, drawing a crowd 17,000 strong to his K-Rave '93 at the Orange County amusement park. Of course, the rest is history: Rave grew up, DJs such as Paul Oakenfold went on to score Hollywood movies, and fans of the music would one day be sipping wine at the Hollywood Bowl as Underworld performed. Some of the gentrified dance music events in town now are downright geezerly, which brings up the questions: Where are all the new kids? And what are they listening to? Enter a familiar face, Richards, now 37, who says he's as thrilled as ever about new music an