viernes, 5 de diciembre de 2014

From the Bandcamp blog: Going underground

Going Underground

The Bunker New York
Most paeans to New York club culture focus on bygone nightspots like the Paradise Garage, David Mancuso’s Loft, and the Mudd Club. But would-be archaeologists hardly need to dig so deep into the city’s asphalt to be reminded of what the city has lost as it has gentrified. Manhattan has become a playground for the superrich, Williamsburg has become Condoburg, and in Brooklyn alone, hallowed venues like Glasslands, 285 Kent, and Death By Audio have all recently been ousted.
Just a decade ago, it was still possible to dance to experimental techno in a basement bar on the Lower East Side, where the invitingly seedy feel of the place was accentuated by booths tucked inside repurposed wine casks—an extra layer of privacy inviting patrons to get up to who knows what kind of mischief. The room in question was subTonic, the basement extension of Tonic, a storied venue for improv and experimental music. While Tonic was the stomping ground for musicians like John Zorn, Marc Ribot, and Christian McBride, subTonic was home to The Bunker, a weekly party that hosted a wide array of underground electronic music—from Akufen to DJ /rupture. (A full list of artists who have played the party can be found on The Bunker’s website, and it’s really kind of a sight to behold. Full disclosure: I even played records there on occasion.)
Bunker by Seze Devres
Photo by Seze Devres
Tonic and subTonic closed in 2007, but The Bunker is still going; the party moved first to Galapagos (renamed Public Assembly when the space was sold) and now at a variety of venues, depending upon the bill, from the comparatively large-scale Output to upstart spaces like Bossa Nova Civic Club and Todd P’s Trans Pecos. And despite the conventional wisdom that this is a terrible time to be getting into the record business, they’ve even extended their operations to include a record label, sensibly named The Bunker New York. “Launching a label is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time,” says Bryan Kasenic, head of the label and a co-founder of the parties, “but 2014 was the year I finally had enough time and extra cash to do it properly. After many years of being surrounded by incredibly talented artists whose music wasn’t being released, it was time to start putting it out there.”

When Kasenic talks about doing it “properly,” he’s not kidding: The Bunker New York has put out an impressive 10 records in its first year of operation, some of them from incredibly storied musicians, like Uwe Schmidt (aka Atom™), and Jonah Sharp (Spacetime Continuum) and David Moufang (Move D), reuniting as Reagenz, their long-running collaborative project. A goodly number of the label’s releases come from within The Bunker’s own New York community, as one might expect. “It was very important to me from the start to include a lot of New Yorkers in the label, focusing on unknown and somewhat forgotten artists,” says Kasenic. “There is so much great music coming out of New York right now, the techno scene specifically.” Although, he admits, “I wouldn’t say there is necessarily a specific sound that people are going for. I think, in general, people are more open now—it’s not as common as it used to be to find people who are super deeply into just one sound or genre. People want to push boundaries and do their own thing, which is fantastic!”

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