From the ashes of now defunct Texas darkwave trio Medio Mutante, Mariana Saldaña (//TENSE//) and José Cota (SSLEEPERHOLD), are back as duo BOAN. The pair resurrected their hardware-based dance pop with an updated sensibility that is both dark and modern. Expressed in equal parts English and Spanish, vocalist Saldaña delivers cold yet catchy hooks over Cota’s infectious synth lines and aggressive analog beats. In the tradition of bands like Absolute Body Control, Fad Gadget, and Snowy Red, BOAN continue to expand their own addictive take on electronic minimalism while perpetuating the timeless aesthetic that has kept MM’s cult following alive and raging.
Curved Light is the emerging solo project of Austin’s latest hardware synth composer Peter Tran. Originally from the Baltimore/DC area, Peter had several collaborative and solos projects before trading in the bulk of his massive home studio for compact, modular synth rigs and moving to Austin in 2015. In addition to his natural flair for experimentation, Peter truly shines at crafting pieces with sophistication beyond the standard practice of modular synthesizers. Tran's music is expressive and dense, evolving a personal articulation within its electronically engineered voice. This design allows the tone to narrate each composition and makes Curved Light a hallmark for the true authorship of sound.
Producer and Austin native Dylan Cameron has established a dedicated following thanks in part to the re-emergence of live electronic shows and underground dance culture in his hometown. Interweaving a spectrum of subgenres, Cameron seamlessly moves from ambient 2-step rhythms to screwed four on the floor and house beats with the finesse of a seasoned veteran. Dylan’s background in studio recording allows for a precise ear and an attention to detail while performing his banging, hardware-based live sets. Working as the long-time in-house producer and engineer for Holodeck Records,his contribution to Austin's electronic and experimental scene is both far reaching and highly regarded.
Austin-based duo Flatliner expertly crafts their dance-based sonic dystopia using a formidable collection of high-end studio equipment and hoards of rare synthesizers. Inspired by the entrenched ethos of live-hardware sequencing cultivated within the local establishment, Jesse Strait and Adam Fangsrud fully embrace and embellish the marriage of modern gear with vintage tones. One of Austin's best new arrivals, Flatliner's uncompromising production standards transform their volumes of expansive studio experimentation into an ominous, yet seductive, euphoria.
Superb mastery of analog sequencing is the hallmark of Austin based solo artist Juan Cisneros, aka JU4N, who has been a vital staple of the local synth scene for many years. Originally known as VC Childkraft, JU4N’s ambient crystalline sound design creates a sensation of mind/body separation, effectively lulling the listener out any sense of time and space. Cisneros’ programming and restorative tones become conduits for heightened electro-psychic hygiene, as future-scaped washes of tranquil synth patches and samples serve as a serene mental hiatus. JU4N’s music is fragile yet evocative, with an undeniable shimmer of nostalgia that is equally comforting and endearing.
Born and raised in the pocket of New England, multi-instrumentalist M. Geddes Gengras made his way out to Los Angeles in 2005 and has ceaselessly added projects and releases to his ever broadening discography ever since. Antique Brothers, Sun Araw, Fantastic Ego, Robedoo, Pocahaunted and Dogwiper are just a few of his many incarnations and collaborations that have put him in high demand as a performer, composer and producer. Now performing and recording under his own name, Gengras has developed an impeccable reputation for his modular synth work and multi-layered sound design. Continuing his prolific release schedule of LPs and tapes for a myriad of established and rising labels, Geddes’ shows no sign of slowing down and constantly finds new ways to reinvent himself.
From the prolific cultural epicenter of Montréal, Marie Davidson has emerged as one of the foremost electronic artists in contemporary underground pop today. As a long-time member of Les Momies de Palerme, Hotel Monochrome, DKMD, and Essaie Pas, Marie continues to hone her many talents in the region's fervent electronic and experimental communities. In 2012 Marie began her solo work, revealing an artist with remarkably heightened compositional skills behind a sequencer as well as a seductively charismatic voice. Davidson's intimate self-journalism is embodied through a host of synthesizers and drum machines that coalesce in synchronized harmony, punctuated by Marie's hypnotic vocal delivery, sung and spoken in both French and English.
Austin based multi-instrumentalist Michael C. Sharp is best known to Holodeck fans as one of the creative forces behind psych/ kosmische ensemble Sungod, where he plays guitar, drums, and synthesizer. Sharp plays various instruments in a long list of other projects as well, making him one of Austin’s most active and prolific musicians. Michael C. Sharp as a self-titled solo musician is a classic mix of effects driven ambient tones, analog sequences, and layers of echo drenched guitar leads. Sharp’s semi free form style of song building allows each piece to have a structural anchor with plenty of room for his technical musicianship to shine.
Refracting post-punk sensibilities through an abstract lens, Madison, Wisconsin’s Beau Devereaux began to shape the local scene through his prolific work as Samantha Glass. Beau wistfully mediates his own inner strife and anxiety through a host of vintage electronics, field recordings and deep, expressive vocals. Using a dense variety of sound sources processed through echo-driven effects, Devereaux submerges the listener into ominous vignettes from Glass' beautifully bleak mind. Samantha Glass is an expression of Devereaux’s own complicated journey through self-identification, often dissonant, androgynous and exploratory.
Jonathan Slade, performing as Silent Land Time Machine, is best known as Austin's foremost experimental violinist/vocalist, as well as co-founder of HOLODECK records. His micro-electronic assemblages are often damaged and turbulent yet always whimsically melodic, with lucidly processed string arrangements woven throughout as a unifying theme. To see Slade live is to experience a mix of virtuosic grace and avant-garde experimentation, basing his performances on layered looping capable of turning each piece into a rich, multi-level composition that can be completely mutated or playfully destroyed. Paired with SLTM’s gifted and genuine delivery, his approach renders a compounded emotional depth to both of his LPs and to his live sets. This quality is extremely rare to find in the outsider world of electro-acoustic music and makes Silent Land Time Machine a unique and highly sought commodity.
Since the age of 17, Houston-born Daniel Hipólito has been capturing, fragmenting, and reconfiguring his life experiences as Smokey Emery. Hipólito has become a well-established fixture amongst many experimental and electro-acoustic music circles by releasing a myriad of dense ambient works comprised of dismantled field recordings, reinvented through tape manipulation. Though moving transiently between cities for much of his adult-life, Hipólito perpetually equips himself with a recording device to connect his geographically disparate chapters of life into meaningful vignettes of self-reflective audio-journalism. Through this medium, Smokey Emery depicts a catalog of human conditions from multiple viewpoints and chronologies, allowing each composition to coalesce into a greater framework of substantive contextual meaning and expression.
Grinding his way up the ranks of the American underground electronic scene, Los Angeles native and Austin resident José Cota introduces a fresh and heavy approach to synth-based composition known as SSLEEPERHOLD. Best known for his work as a member of darkwave trio Medio Mutante and more recently of duo BOAN, SSLEEPERHOLD is the result of a distinct effort to establish a new plateau of rage and relief. Exploring half-time swing rhythms, heavy metal breakdowns, and double-pedal kick drums, Cota’s complex bass-line sequences are punctuated by invasions of tape manipulation and the sounds of buckling steel, delivering a healthy dose of destruction within refinement.
Symbol is the solo effort of producer and multi-instrumentalist Chris King, best known as a founding member and guitarist of the Texas-based orchestral rock ensemble This Will Destroy You. Moonlighting as a composer/scorer for a host of prominent feature films and documentaries, King’s masterful ear for signal processing and affinity for corroded elegance takes free reign over a vastly expanded inventory of instrumentation. Symbol’s organic sound-sources are meticulously transmuted through chains of modules and magnetic tape, each successive stage creating a compounded quantity of detail and decay that establishes the complex relationship between King and technology while spanning across the aural uncanny valley.
Experimental/cosmic ensemble Sungod is made up of Michael Sharp and Braden Balentine, recording out of their shared home studio with a rotating cast of like-minded outsider musicians. Incorporating an ever-broadening inventory of influences, the band’s methodical arrangements and layers of meditative repetition hearken back to 70’s Krautrock, which serves as a solid foundation for further ventures into both burgeoning and antiquated realms. Polyrhythmic drums, delay driven guitar riffs and sequenced synth patterns propel much of Sungod's procession forward while sitting in perfect harmony with acoustic guitars and beautiful flute melodies.Touching on the modern and the classic, Sungod's sound is truly timeless.
S U R V I V E's comprehensive sonic-arrangement is the result of the Austin-based quartet’s uncompromising standards of quality and a vast, unrivaled collection of both antique and modern synthesizers. Recording out of the band's own Omniverse Studios, meticulous sound design and precise placement ensure that every audible wave has been exhaustively scrutinized, dissected, and modulated before joining the mix. This rigorous process of discretion and commitment to aesthetic is reflected on all levels of S U R V I V E’s creative output, resulting in a masterfully accomplished discography and a towering multi-dimensional live show that has been indoctrinating a rabid following since 2009.
Austin quartet Thousand Foot Whale Claw is known for unapologetically diving into deep explorations of all things cosmic and boldly embracing the quintessential “other.” Known equally for their heavy riffing psych-rock, extended beat driven electronic improvisations, and impenetrable walls of drone shredding, TFWC has become the benchmark for instrumental psychedelia within the Austin experimental scene as they continue to evolve and further develop their sound. TFWC’s live sets are a remarkable display of balance between musicianship and experimentation, often taking long ventures into unplanned territory only possible within a unified group dynamic. Always loud and never shy, TFWC’s prolific output manages to stay cohesive and polished despite the band’s utterly massive audio waves.
Since 2004, This Will Destroy You have forged some of the world’s most brutal, dynamic, and precariously visceral instrumental rock. In addition to a vigorous tour schedule, their celebrated discography and renowned soundtrack work for feature films and documentaries (including the Oscar-winning Moneyball), have earned them a sizable and fervent international following. Known for their shock waves of blistering guitar, thick bass and poly-rhythmic drums, TWDY’s massive success with their 2006 debut Young Mountain has been followed up by 3 outstanding studio albums and a triple LP live album that was warmly received by fans and critics alike. Potent and utterly powerful, TDWY’s accomplished career has undeniably perfected a graduated sense of song-writing, tonal complexity, and studio prowess.
Pleasurably harsh and hideously sophisticated, darkwave metal trio Troller emerged out of Austin’s electronic and experimental scene in 2010. Known for their gorgeously morbid pop anthems that brazenly oscillate between irresistible hooks and absolute chaos, Troller’s internal duality is a recurring trope in their music. Sequence-based synthesizer and drum machine half-time rhythms impeccably complement bassist and vocalist Amber Star Goers’ heavy riffing and charismatically tortured voice, asserting a uniquely ominous take on synth-pop. Troller’s guttural guitar tones, warm arpeggios, and booming sub hits are catchy yet gritty and unlike anything else on the underground landscape today, celebrating the beauty within destruction while providing a necessary cathartic relief.
Shawhin Izaddoost established himself as VVV in 2010 and has since maintained a prolific output of ominous yet catchy down tempo electronic music. VVV’s unique voice across an evolving repertoire has earned him a vast international following as well as a deep catalog of digital and physical releases. Shawhin combines his love for audio production and studio engineering with his background in piano and guitar to compose addictive arrangements teeming with understated complexity and originality.