Travelling to Los Angeles last week was L.I.E.S. records cohort and supernatural sound summoner, Svengalisghost. The trip would mark the first time in nearly two years that the Paris-based Marques Cooper has traveled across the border into America, and it would be the first time in his career that he performs live in Los Angeles. Other stops on this tour included dates in San Francisco, New York, and an appearance at Smart Bar in Chicago—where Cooper is originally from.
This first stop on the tour was secured by The Black Lodge and Moony Habits; two different promoters that have put together some unique lineups in the last couple of months, including a show at Complex in Glendale with FaltyDL and Mono/Poly. The promoters also curated a roster of supporting acts that included OCD & J3M5, JoJo Armani, kosmik, Sage Caswell, and Underground Resistance associate Santiago Salazar.
The past two years have seen Svengalisghost play some head turning gigs, including an infamous performance at Concrete in Paris in 2013, and recently at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal during the 16th edition of Mutek. The Los Angeles show took place on a Thursday, in a lowly lit downstairs bar called the "Gold Bar," which is part of the larger 333 Live venue. 333 Live has hosted many influential club nights in the past, including the notorious heyday parties of NOX Illusio and a slew of monstrous events hosted by A Club Called Rhonda back in 2012. Once inside the Gold Bar, we were quickly welcomed by the sounds of Planet-E producer and Ican label co-founder, Santiago Salazar.
Salazar's been riding a wave of mediaexposure, some of it surrounding his new album, Chicanismo, due out on September 7 via Love What You Feel, and more of it due to his popularity as an East Los Angeles musician turned Underground Resistance protege. His performance proved a bit difficult due to sound issues he was having with one of the turntables. He continued to work the mix as best he could with the technical difficulties he was facing, and dealing with these issues in the heat of a mix is definitely a test of artist's ability to keep their cool. After Salazar faded off his set with an uplifting techno track, the soundboard cables were disconnected from Salazar's mixer and plugged directly into metaphysical melody of Svengalisghost.
Svengalisghost quickly showed the crowd that he has more energy on a Thursday night than most people have all weekend. Svengali strangles the microphone with both hands and wraps them around the mic's windscreen like a old-school beat-boxer. The sparse crowd slowly closed in on him as he stacked layer upon layer of distortion over intense and haunting sequencer patterns. The fluorescent black light that covered him during his performance fit the supernatural aura of the militant beats that were accentuated by his haunting vocals.
Svengali performed a set that was overflowing with raw hardware arrangements and effects, and the crowd reactions could barely be deciphered from the screams coming from the souls inside his machines. He managed to deliver a brutal and punishing set with ease, all the while keeping the focus on creating that connection with the crowd that has made his live performances so prominent.
It's exciting to see these types of Thursday night lineups happening in Los Angeles, and you can't help but appreciate a group of promoters who can curate lineups that are pushing the idea of interesting pairings when it comes to their headliners and supporting acts. It’s also good to know that these promoters have even more forward thinking lineups coming up in the next couple of weeks. Moony Habits have their next event on June 19 at the Gold Bar @ 333, with Andrés of Black Mahogany, and London Jazz figurehead Mark de Clive-Lowe with his full band, CHURCH. The Black Lodge will host an Independence Day party in July with Derek Michael and Sage Caswell. The party is free and will be held at Hyperion Tavern in Silverlake. Follow The Black Lodge and Moony Habits to find out more.
Moony Habits June 19 w/ Andrés & Mark de Clive-Lowe
The Black Lodge July 4 w/ Derek Michael, Sage Caswell, Run Run Shaw