Music Picks 

For the week of May 11 - 18

Wednesday, May 10 2006

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R.I.P. DJ Dusk, 1974–2006

DJ Dusk, a.k.a. Tarek Captan, a much-loved local club DJ, was cut down by a drunk driver two weeks ago. Dusk had residencies at Rootdown and Descarga, and also organized parties with Prima Lux. Besides his family, friends and fans, Dusk’s bereaved includes the 70-some children he worked with at the Mar Vista Community Center, where he volunteered for the last 10 years.

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As if to prove the kind of music lover we lost, an absolutely incredible event Dusk had planned before his death will go on. The Old School Rules party promises to be a historic, cross-generational celebration of the art of the hip-hop DJ — although now it will be as much a celebration of Dusk’s life as of the music he loved so dearly. All proceeds go to help Dusk’s family.

So here’s the scoop: Friday, May 12, hip-hop’s founding fathers, Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, perform, along with pioneering DJ Jazzy Jay, Cut Chemist, Haul and Mason, and Blu Jemz.

As Dusk’s Prima Lux partner Dru said, “His passing right before this party is, in a way, ironic. It was his brainchild. He was as huge a hip-hop head as any, and he planned to bring the creators of hip-hop down.”

Thank you, DJ Dusk. (Kate Sullivan)

Club So-Ho, 333 S. Boylston St., dwntwn.; $20 advance, $25 at the door; 21 & over. Tickets at Turntable Lab (424 N. Fairfax Ave.) and Blue Chips (5505 N. Figueroa St., Highland Park). www.myspace/haulandmason


Keren Ann at the Skirball Cultural Center

Shut up for a minute, and let the throbbing inside your temples subside. Allow your breath to catch up from the climb over the mountain, and watch the maddening city slide downhill far below you. Calm yourself and listen to the silence until the constant ringing in your ears finally dies away. Only then will you be in the right place to detect the faint signals emanating from that ghost-whispering balladeer Keren Ann. The Parisian pop singer has released several collections of gently intoxicating chansons sung in English and French, most notably (and most recently) with last year’s romantic Manhattan travelogue Nolita. Her evocation of the landmark Chelsea Hotel on the somber reverie “Chelsea Burns” is so melodically beguiling that it would be just as haunting if it were arranged with a reggae bounce or sped up to a punk rock tempo. Even when she’s backed by a small electric trio, as she will be tonight, Keren Ann always manages to conjure up some intimate spaces filled with glassy, fragile beauty. 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd. (310) 440-4500. (Falling James)




The Fall at the Knitting Factory

Although the Fall have historically been lumped in with the punk and post-punk movements, it wasn’t until recent years that the Manchester band actually played with a punk-like attack and delivery. In the early ’80s, lead contrarian Mark E. Smith declaimed his cryptically dense, elusively allusive rants with their sardonic, Harlan Ellison–esque song titles (“Lie Dream of a Casino Soul”) over a rusty, rattling bed of angular Beefheart guitars and junkyard percussion. On last year’s Fall Heads Roll (Narnack), Smith’s trademark sneer-talking sounds more mush-mouthed than usual — like he was shot up with Novocain — and buttressed by a newfound surge of garage-punk power on “Pacifying Joint” (with its fuzz guitars and even fuzzier vocals), the Hitchcockian merry-go-round tilt of “What About Us” and the epic “Sister Ray”–style sprawl of “Blindness.” Smith mellows somewhat on the acoustic-based “Early Days of Channel Führer” and the “History Lesson, Part 2”/“Poptones” jangle of “Midnight Aspen,” but in general this kindly old curmudgeon is just as delightfully cantankerous as ever. (Falling James)

ABC at the Key Club

Both ABC and Def Leppard were super-glossy reactions to the dour, industrial-decay surroundings of their native Sheffield, England, in the early 1980s. ABC have essentially been singer Martin Fry and a gaggle of hired hands for years now, and onstage compromises are all too evident lately (live horns replaced with cheesy keys, for one), but there’s no taking away from their catalog of Motown–via–Roxy Music hook-heavy tunes and Fry’s sumptuous tone. Luckily Fry’s Ferry/Bowie bird’s-wing bangs and lounge-crooner swagger age gracefully, and the man’s appreciation of just being able to perform again (he’s experienced career-stalling health problems over the years) is endearingly palpable. Too often written off as new-wave candy, ABC in fact walk a brilliant line between prog-pop ambition and radio-ready necessity — drop by for a reminder. (Paul Rogers)

Slow Music at El Rey Theater

Given the general tight-assed predictability of most current rock presentations, this night of improvisatory electric music performed by a weighty-as-in-chops bunch of veteran progressive musicians is a way-admirable and potentially enthralling event. King Crimson ax divinity Robert Fripp is joined by the mighty Fred Chalenour, who’s the bassist for Curlew and was so ingeniously modern in Wayne Horvitz’s equally hefty Pigpen; R.E.M.’s open-eared guitarist Peter Buck darts into the fray; current R.E.M. drummer and this project’s organizer Bill Rieflin (also ex-Ministry, KMFDM, Revolting Cocks) does the piano sounds, synths and percussion; former Pearl Jam/David Bowie man Matt Chamberlain is the drummer; along with Hector Zazou, the formidable French new/non-genre composer who’s worked with Jon Hassell, Harold Budd, Ryuichi Sakamoto and numerous noteworthies on the contemporary classical scene — he’ll play synths and computer. They’ll create music spontaneously, roughly contained within an ambient/textural/environmental area. The band will be listening closely and carefully, and the audience is encouraged to do the same. (John Payne)

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