Archives for posts with tag: RA

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Just a few days ago, I posted my glowing Disco Droppings feature on Jimmy Edgar and his Ultramajic label. It’s just so surreal to now have him here for an interview, right on the heels of his Spring 2014 Tour. This string of dates has him in my area of Seattle on March 20th @ Q, via Studio 4/4 and Decibel..

 

DD Hi Jimmy, such a gift being able to talk with you here. This conversation is greatly appreciated.

JE Pleasure is mine. I am humbled by your gratitude.

DD Can you share any inspirations from your recent trip to Egypt? You mentioned meditating inside the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

JE I much prefer this conversation in person, but I might as well relay some of the things that happened since they were so amazing. Obviously, it was a challenge to even decide to go there because of the situation there, but I really convinced myself that it was fine. There were absolutely no tourists, the pyramids were completely empty it was kind of sad to be honest. We did a tour with a Khemit school of Ancient Mysticism and they had diplomatic ties so we were able to go into locked areas. The first locked area we went into was just adjacent to pyramids, but underground. As soon as we entered I thought there was a truck driver over us, and they explained that the sound is always there, and they asked me to sit in a sort of seat and close my eyes. I immediately started seeing geometry in my mind, since I have experiences like this often, I sort of accepted it and moved on. Later on, we go into the King’s Chamber and I was in awe of the design. The wall so straight and flat, and so high inside, no writing on the walls. All the documentaries and photos could not prepare me for the feeling inside there. I just got the feeling that there is much more to the story, it was so intuitive and obvious. Anyways, so we make it up into the King’s Chamber, completely alone again.  Inside the chamber I was so awestruck by the resonant sound of the pyramid. I was hearing such a pure high fidelity vibrating reverberation. The guide tells us it’s completely illegal to do any meditation inside, and there are cameras. But, he basically says the cameras are bullshit and that we should get inside the sarcophagus and he will look out for us. Pilar Zeta, who does the Ultramajic covers with me gets inside and we take turns doing a meditation. I see this geometry in my mind again and I start focusing on it, so now I know it is something connected. She asks me if I saw some swirling tetrahedron type shape in my head shortly after, and I didn’t really plan on saying anything since it was such a personal experience. Hard to say what happened in there, but something perhaps deep and subconscious. For me, the pyramids seem to be some kind of temple or spiritual technology, something about sound and resonance.

We also visited Luxor, which was beautiful.

 

DD How would you describe the Ultramajic energy?

JE The parties are all about having fun. For us, we appreciate when people give us feedback on the artwork, which is our focus now, to create a vibe connected with the music with a lot of artistic integrity. I love working with Pilar because she has a way of not settling for second best. Since we are both hard to please, once we have something that we like, we end up staring at it for hours to make sure it’s up to our standard and something we are proud of. We have an ongoing joke that has stuck, and as long as everything has a bit of fun, a bit of magic, a bit of mystic, and a bit of fashion then we are on.

 

DD Your 2014 Spring Tour is about to begin, with its first stop at the highly esteemed Fabric in London on March 14th. A few days after that, you’ll be returning to my city of Seattle on March 20th at Q nightclub. After seeing you at Decibel Festival 2013 via the Leisure System After Hours showcase, I’m curious about how your upcoming tour will sound. There’s also your recent RA mix, Warehouse Project and Boiler Room sets online. What happens now?

JE The RA mix was more about scaling back and showing a really specific vibe, since I knew people would be listening at home. This was a huge challenge for me because when I DJ out I just want it to bang and people to dance. But really, I can’t comment much because DJ’ing is a very intuitive thing… I need to see faces and bodies moving and the sound system and everything ya know….of course I love playing new music and unreleased Ultramajic…again, it’s all about having fun and getting into a vibe. Recently, in Europe I’ve been playing the first hour of my sets with almost exclusive drum trax. So when the melodies enter it really starts to feel like we are going somewhere. I don’t think this works so much in USA. In the states we don’t have the type of patience that Europeans do for DJs. Americans, for the most part, are expecting some kind of fire because we don’t have the same club culture. That’s fine too, I just feel I gotta tune my set a bit. What I actually do can’t be quantified, it’s all intuitive and felt when I’m there.

DD Are there plans to present more Ultramajic visuals at events? Your graphics are sure to be super trippy in the club environment. 

JE Yes, thank you. Visuals are a big part of what we do, but I am more interested in working with LED and lighting designers. I am not a big fan of projectors, I don’t think they have the impact and brightness I am looking for.

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DD How have your recent fashion projects been going? 

JE I don’t do much these days, but I just shot Pilar Zeta’s fashion line called Holographic Universe for their FW2014 collection. Really amazing designs and I am excited to see them released. The website is up..we worked on this project for months and then flew to LA to shoot it in the studio, we had a really cool team.

DD There are so many pictures of yours that latch onto me. The one of you holding that striking Black Tourmaline stone looked mesmerizing. I’ve become kinda obsessed with crystals lately, always carry something on me. What’s your relationship like with gems and such?

JE Ive always had crystals since I was a child, I don’t know what it is, I just really love them. Well, actually I’m lying, I just pretend I don’t know what crystals do, but I am convinced that what “new age” people say about crystals is true. You can program them and communicate with them. Ever since I was a child I used to always imagine being a room full of crystal walls, it was one of my youngest memories. I don’t understand why some people are so ignorant to the power of crystals, our computer hard disks are made of Silicon. Science already knows that crystals can hold memory. Anyways, you should Youtube “crystal documentary” and you will find this guy called Les Brown, who gives a very boring but informative lecture on the nature of crystals, and for me its important to have the scientific openness to convince myself of the authenticity. A few of my friends who used to be complete fuckups found themselves through crystals, which is quite drastic but really fascinating to see people really get into them. Once you have the belief and you allow yourself to connect, whether it be crystals, nature, aliens or whatever, then you open that door to see what’s possible. For me, I’d rather live in a world of magic and wonder rather than a world of “I can’t”, and limiting yourself to possibilities. I now find myself feeling really bad for people who can’t even consider the possibility. Like I said, just being open makes a doorway for these things to come into your life…but it applies to everything.

 

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– Jimi Jaxon

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As mentioned in this post title, I believe Jimmy Edgar has some crazy dominance over magical properties. His productions, and overall aesthetic have some spell over me. There’s something about the sound and look of each element, and his use of effects. Every day at my house, one of my roommates and I are playing something from this man..I think I woke up yesterday to “Qlinda”. Most recently we were gifted with his RA mix. Cut to VINYL, people, Edgar has gone the extra mile to give a specific, warm sound quality. One thing I really like about this mix, is I can put it on and get distracted by something, come back to it and the vibe is unbroken. He also takes his time building the energy, it creeps in all sophisticated like, and before you know it, you’re off. It’s a well-built mindset, and it’s that execution that I look for in a superior mix. It’s also just as much a mental journey as it is a physical one. I can imagine myself at one of Jimmy’s shows (Played before him and Machinedrum at Decibel Festival 2012, saw him and Jets at Decibel Festival 2013), or I could just have headphones on and travel throughout my psyche.

Born in 1983, It’s insane to note that by age 15, Edgar was DJ’ing Detroit raves alongside Techno pioneers/wizards Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Soon after, he signed his first record deal, and by 2004 he had his first Warp Records release entitled “Access Rhythm”. It’s Edgar’s skills as a visual artist that grab me just as much as his music. Almost every single time he posts some graphic online, I’m like “wow”, or “like”, or “what the fuck? this is rad.” Take for example this above picture which he captioned, “Ultramajic office”, or the below one saying “One of the few shots without the model from Me and Pilars photoshoot.”

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It’s that multi-sensory precision and ultra class that puts Jimmy in a total other realm. This 2013 Redefine Magazine Interview said it best, “While it begins with solid musical foundations of intricately-crafted, analog synth-driven club jams, it (Edgar) has grown more and more to incorporate art, music, and metaphysical ideas into one cohesive artistic whole.”

From Vedic and Hindu religion, to magic and quantum physics, founder Edgar with collaborators Pilar Zeta and Machinedrum weave their spiritual and mathematical fascinations into an already incendiary record label + design house + metaphysical portal called Ultramajic (Est. 2013). With sound as their foundation, the label is making huge statements right out the gate; powerful tracks that easily influence dance floors and consciousnesses. You may feel the releases demand movement, or just simply, trip people out. My eyes are glued to Ultramajic until further notice; with future releases from Jets, Sophie, and plans for club nights and gallery events.   

 

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*Just Released on Ultramajic* Danny Daze – Silicon EP

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– Jimi Jaxon

 

Ok first off, this mix is trippy as hell. Om Unit grabs fast paced rhythms by the balls, creating a smooth and murky existence. I’ve tested it out in various locations; in the bathtub, driving from Seattle to Portland, washing dishes at work..and I’ll say that it’s very enjoyable and a distinct journey through and through. I love when something showcases a wide range of emotions, and this mix does it so well. You’ll hear Om Unit’s rad rollers VIP mix of Machinedrum’s “Gunshotta”, and some absolutely wild tracks from Ital Tek’s Planet Mu album release, Control.

Some of you who caught my recent set opening for DJ Rashad & DJ Spinn may remember this track from Om Unit’s debut album on Civil Music, Threads. The first time I heard this, I froze. It goes to chilling depths. I felt like I jumped outside of my body and watched my life unfold in slow motion. Awe-inspiring production really.

 

Other thoughts on Threads

– Similar to the way his RA began, “Folding Shadows” opens the album with instant immersion. It walks slow and steady, with eerie emotion and a funky strut.

– The dense rain atmosphere in “Healing Rain” is intriguing and soothing, naturally.

– “Drift Interlude” – Same reaction I got hearing “The Road” .. encapsulates my life right now and observations of some relationships.

– “Reverse Logic” – Reading the name, it’s easy for me to imagine this track as an entity constantly moving backwards. It’s a great visual to a sophisticated beat.


– Seeing photos of underwater pyramids and structures found in places like Bermuda and Japan after hearing “Deep Sea Pyramid”, perfect. It’s got a dark curiosity to it, and a restless sense of adventure.

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Hopefully that mix and these tracks have you needing more. Om Unit aka Jim Coles has been producing a diverse discography for over ten years; crafting works under the names 2Tall, Nyquist, Philip D Dick and Dream Continuum with Machinedrum. To take in more from Jim, see RBMA’s July 2013 interview and/or his more recent XLR8R interview alongside DJ Rashad.

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– Jimi Jaxon

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It’s been a month since I saw the world debut of Machinedrum’s Vapor City album for Decibel Festival 2013 in Seattle. I still haven’t recovered.

I want to delve into the ridiculously impressive and varied delivery of Travis Stewart’s newest album but first..

I feel like that live show didn’t get the proper credit it deserved. After searching through over 50 reviews of Decibel Festival this year, Machinedrum’s Vapor City performance was mentioned 5 times. This is a travesty to me. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but many of the reviews/mentions or lack thereof add to my frustration when it comes to music journalists. The way of writing used by many who about music can be boring as hell to me. Saying the bass was “heavy” for one, so dry. Aren’t there more ways to describe the bass? How does it make you feel? It just comes across as lazy to me. Now, it’s not that all these reviews were bad, I just had trouble connecting with them. I’m no expert when it comes to writing, but my approach here is to be more personable and speak from the heart, instead of this sometimes distant, analytical place.

Many journalists probably don’t take nearly as much time thinking about their writing, as the artists spend creating their art. They pour their lives into music, just to have it regurgitated back online in a less imaginative way.

So here’s my perspective on the Vapor City show from someone that was IN IT; goin’ wild in the crowd as an ecstatic fellow fan, artist and music journalist for Disco Droppings. There was absolutely no way my roommates and I were going to miss this. We got there early and saw Giraffage open. Really kool dude, his set was uplifting with it’s own personality. He seemed to understand the weight of importance, playing alongside a titan like Travis Stewart. When it was time for the main event, Travis quietly came on stage, picked up the guitar and started playing the chords to “Center Your Love”. I had heard the whole album many times already via a leak (shh), so I knew every track. I was dumbfounded to see drummer Lane Barrington feverishly playing alongside Travis. I would be lost in the music, freakin’ the fuck out and would forget the drummer pounding out these super fast, meticulous rhythms. Then I would look over at him, and just freak even more. Travis was also singing throughout the set, demonstrating his versatility as a performer.

I knew what kind of visuals I was in for after watching the futuristic/cray “Eyesdontlie” music video, directed by Weirdcore. A press release states, “The video, directed by Weirdcore, was developed from visual references and art work for the album and the upcoming live tour. Weirdcore worked with the midi data from the track and used the track stems to create the video. The neon images react to the midi and some of the distortion is reactive to the sound as well.” Watching the show, we got to witness an expanded display of the Vapor City districts. The visuals cut out early,  but just that small amount of imagery was powerful enough to say the least.

 

I’ve never heard it that loud in Showbox Market. I’ve also rarely experienced a performance that pushed the crowd to such a rapturous and primal place. The only other time I’ve felt this utter abandon of the self, was at Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 show in Seattle. The crowd became a pack of wild apes, and Machinedrum alongside his drummer and visuals were the monolith.

A friend came up to me right after the Vapor City show and said something like, “that was everything I wanted from music and so much more.” About as big of a compliment as you can get as an artist I’d say.

Ok, I got that off my chest.

A piece of this release that isn’t getting much recognition (besides the music itself, which is beautiful from beginning to end) is the website. If you head over Machinedrum.net you’ll see a gray landscape with the Vapor City districts colored in black. All the pieces together resemble Africa to me, and as you move your cursor over each section you’ll see things like “Gunshotta Ave”. Click, a small quiet loop plays “Gunshotta” with the music video embedded.

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The “Njord District” is also available now, coinciding with the release of Machindrum’s RA Podcast mix, centered around the same location. All the other districts are currently offline, saying “‘Vizion Centre’ will be unlocked in Dec 2013”, “‘Vapor Park’ will be unlocked in Jan 2014” etc. It’s a magnificent idea; spreading out the release and giving people additional content and deeper understanding of this world Travis has dreamed up. Become a citizen of Vapor City through the site for updates on the districts, and Citizen-only bonus downloads. 

 

In addition to all this we have the Vapor City tour itself. Boiler Room did a 3-part series for the album in NYC, London and Berlin. We got to see the first ever performance of Dream Continuum (Om Unit + Machinedrum), plus Lando Kal, Fracture, Braille, Mike Slott, Jimmy Edgar, Scuba and of course Machinedrum among others. The tour runs until December 14th, with upcoming stops in Belgium, France, Ireland, England, Italy, Canada and the USA. It would be a sad, sad thing to miss.

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– Jimi Jaxon