Mega_Lo and Gosub School 222 Hyde On the True Meaning of Electro
The Electro Basement presents Mega_Lo and Gosub
Kahley Avalon Emerson
Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012
Better than: Electro Wars-induced PTSD.
"Honestly tho, electro boogie, electroclash, electro house, etc, etc, etc. It's been 30 years since electro boogie. Names change. Sounds change. People create names for things, steal names for things, but if the populace calls something, something, then that something is now known as something." Thus writes Youtube user Kidhack13 in reference to this hilarious video comparing "electro house" with "actual electro music." His thoughts in opposition to the viciousness of the video (which calls out quite a few local promoters and DJs) captures the moment of the late-'00s well, a time when electrohouse was unfortunately ubiquitous in the Bay Area, and acceptance of that fact seemed widespread.
Standing against the tide were the makers of the video, the provocative and often funny Partyeffects.biz, a loose collective based in the East Bay seemingly into conceptual art and '80s-style, Miami-derived breakbeat electro.
Today, of course, any controversy over the distinction between electro and electrohouse has long-since evaporated, as the gold rush of Justice-inspired dance music has given way to the subsequent get-rich-quick pyramid schemes of bass, hipster deep house, and -- more recently -- trap (not to mention EDM). However, what hasn't gone away are the members of Partyeffects; though now defunct as a single entity, all of them have since gone on to explore their own sounds solo. Being a fan of the group's work, I was of course excited to hear that the collective's hypeman and extremely dexterous DJ Mega_Lo (previously known as Marnacle) was scheduled to play at Electro Basement, a new party at 222 Hyde put on by some of the people behind O.K. Hole and Haçeteria.
Rows of illuminated dots ran back-and-forth across the ceiling like airport runway lights. Crisp hi-hats shot out of the club's speakers like the metal-on-metal percussion of a trans-continental railway. We'd arrived early, and subsequently had time to enjoy the club before it began filling up. Most everyone present was a promoter or DJ. I had a beer with Kahley, and we all enjoyed Solar's DJ set. Usually associated with Sunset and No Way Back, he showed off the breadth of his collection and went deep -- so much so that I had a hard time identifying any of the tracks he played. It all sounded fantastic though, a testament to the enduring high fidelity of 222 Hyde's soundsystem, a point that really can't be overstated.
Kahley Avalon Emerson
I ordered some Coronas with lime and noticed that the upstairs bar was emptying out, and everyone was making their way back down to the basement -- Mega_Lo was on. Pushing the limes down into the beer, I went back downstairs to rejoin the group. An intimate crowd had slowly snowballed its way into existence, and it felt more like a show among friends than a raging party. (This is a good thing.) All attention was at the center of the room, where Mega_Lo had set up a table with an Access Virus synthesizer and MPC1000. From this humble rig, he went far into a set of sometimes weird but entirely fantastic electro music. Gripping the microphone, he spoke pitched-down five octaves over a tough breakbeat before singing a riff that revolved around a "purple white shirt" and "tiny weed hairs." There was a flow to the way he played, with interludes between each song where he'd hype the crowd with quick radio DJ-style banter. Chanting "ecstasy," he hit the pads on his MPC and worked into the sample-house maximalism of "Disco Extacy." Large and chunky samples filled the room as the skitter and boom of an 808 worked its way through a growing dancefloor. A few more songs and the spotlight on him dimmed, signaling a return to recorded sound.