BEAST NEST

SICKO

BEAST NEST

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A sonic journey comprising six tracks, Sharmi Basu’s Sicko is the zenith to their expansive catalog of experimental compositions that meditates on envisioning a sense of personal and collective liberation. This forty-four minute long masterpiece bends, weaves, repeats, deconstructs then rebuilds sound to formulate a new language of healing

A sonic journey comprising six tracks, Sharmi Basu’s Sicko is the zenith to their expansive catalog of experimental compositions that meditates on envisioning a sense of personal and collective liberation. This forty-four minute long masterpiece bends, weaves, repeats, deconstructs then rebuilds sound to formulate a new language of healing communicated uniquely through the world of Beast Nest. As a prominent educator and healer within their community, Basu’s artistic output has always been connected to sharing the power of compassion, and how to create tangible bonds between marginalized people through music. Even in the most dissonant valleys of Sicko’s sonic landscape, Basu never abandons their listener. Rather, they descend into darkness with you as the instrumentation surrounds you with the rhythmic pulse of various arpeggiators and drawn out sound textures crescendoing up to the LP’s closing waves of bliss. Sicko offers more to the listener than just an album — it is an experience of aural idiosyncrasies and multi-dimensional processes that lead one to find solace away from the colonialist confines of the material world. Upon multiple replays of this album, I was reminded of the catharsis I felt when I first fell in love with Beast Nest’s work: a sense of communal healing Basu generously offers to those closest to the heart of their artistic vision. -
Sepehr Mashiahof

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SHARMI BASU  (they/them) is a multi-media performance artist, curator, and composer. They create sound and performance pieces that address vulnerability, accountability, and experiences of millennial diaspora through creating narratives of decolonial thinking toward individual and collective liberation. Their performances and sound pieces via their primary performance project, Beast Nest, show us that the abstract and immaterial experiences of trauma and pain can be liberated through our abstract creations in art and sound. They believe that transcending the emotional landscape through active presence is the key to accessing multidimensionality and work with these ideas in their Sound and Liberation workshops, their curatorial projects, and their improvisation group, the Mara Performance Collective. They host a number of workshops that center on sound healing and self-accountability, as well as technical skill-shares. They are a certified mediator focused on interpersonal healing within Queer and Trans BIPOC communities, and are on the board of a number of organizations including Safer DIY Spaces, Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, Soundwave SF, and California FM. The majority of their organizational work is dedicated to providing resources and mutual aid to queer and Trans BIPOC. 

Their ultimate goal through their work is to cultivate a sense of vulnerability and empowerment for themselves and their community.

MORE ABOUT BEAST NEST:

BANDCAMP

WEBSITE

 

OLDER RECORDINGS 

"Taste Of India"

BEAST NEST

"Taste Of India" is the third album from the ever prolific artist, musician, teacher and healer known as BEAST NEST (aka Sharmi Basu) . "Taste Of India" continues in the vain of her sophomore release "Songs For Puppies" but focusing even more on the drone, ambient side of her practice leaving behind the harsher cuts for future considerations.
"Taste Of India" is the third album from the ever prolific artist, musician, teacher and healer known as BEAST NEST (aka Sharmi Basu) . "Taste Of India" continues in the vain of her sophomore release "Songs For Puppies" but focusing even more on the drone, ambient side of her practice leaving behind the harsher cuts for future considerations. "Taste of India" is a nearly forty minute journey through lush, harmonizing tones, breathing, humming synthesizers , hissing, spacious dripping oscillators pulsing a pleathora of micro tonal structures of healing, relaxation, trauma, horror and so much more. Beast Nest is one of the most underrated projects in the bay area and it's time you got hip to it. We at RATSKIN are more than honored to release this beautiful, complicated, cavernous sound work into the world.


BEAST NEST is Sharmi Basu's primary performing project. She utilizes an unwavering depression & restrained horror to channel left-eyed spirits. While simultaneously clearing and entering, the sewage pipes of the body and the patriarchy congeal into watery soundscapes as a vehicle for achieving liberation through the darkest of fears.
All music composed, produced, and performed by Sharmi Basu

www.ratskin.org/releases/rsr062.html
www.sharmi.info
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A History of Sexual Violence

Beast Nest

BEAST NEST
A History of Sexual Violence

Side Al
1. Relief
2. JSUN
3. My friends

Side B
1. You were nicer in my dreams
2. Bear
3. You were so fucked up that I thought I was dreaming
4. Sleepy Bitch

For all my friends who have passed this last year, for Ghost Ship, for black and brown women and queers, for accountability, for responsibility, for
BEAST NEST
A History of Sexual Violence

Side Al
1. Relief
2. JSUN
3. My friends

Side B
1. You were nicer in my dreams
2. Bear
3. You were so fucked up that I thought I was dreaming
4. Sleepy Bitch

For all my friends who have passed this last year, for Ghost Ship, for black and brown women and queers, for accountability, for responsibility, for self-reflection, for apologizing, for acknowledging, for care, for critical compassion. For my babies who are struggling to find moments of peace, for my self and all my friends who have lost so many. For processing grief. For my grandma and my dadu and for Beni, my dog, who is the best boo boo bear in the whole world. Against sexual assault and apologists of patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism, and bad behavior. Against white men. Against poc who adopt the white man’s oppressive tactics for survival. Towards new dimensions, towards liberation. Special thank you and dedication to my friends who saved my life after my ex tried to kill me with white supremacy.

Recorded and mixed in August 2017 in Oakland, CA by Sharmi Basu.
Printed by @rot_radio

Sax by Gorgeous Vermillion

All songs written by Sharmi
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Songs For Puppies

Beast Nest

Beast Nest is the primary performance vehicle for Sharmi Basu, a queer South Asian woman of color focused on creating experimental music as a means of decolonizing musical language. One day, Sharmi aspires to have an ensemble called “Dog Divas,” which will feature her lying in the grass surrounded by Casio keyboards played by overexcited
Beast Nest is the primary performance vehicle for Sharmi Basu, a queer South Asian woman of color focused on creating experimental music as a means of decolonizing musical language. One day, Sharmi aspires to have an ensemble called “Dog Divas,” which will feature her lying in the grass surrounded by Casio keyboards played by overexcited 6-week-old puppies.

With that in mind: ​Songs For Puppies​ marks her Full Spectrum debut. A dense mosaic of textures and sonic ephemera, these recordings explore intersectional dualities, catalyzing a political – yet ethereal – aesthetic by combining her anti-colonial and anti-imperialist political leanings with a commitment to spirituality within the arts.

Over its duration, the listener is transported through densely layered aural environments that are at once becalmed and brutal; light and dark; ordered and collapsing utterly into entropy. Recalling, at times, the toothsome noise jams of the late Yellow Swans, or perhaps Rashad Becker’s biomimetic aural sculptures, we are thrilled to feature this remarkable work as part of the Full Spectrum catalog.
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 “Sicko” Press  

  

Beast Nest feature in KQED ARTS  "Beast Nest's Sicko Holds Space For Grief In All It's Messy Forms" 

"As danceable beats guide the listener from abstract to accessible terrain, Sicko takes us on an emotional ride that opens with the ambient, droning tones of a meditation. Quickly, sci-fi blips and bloops interrupt the connection to what sounds like a dispatch from the spiritual realm. Electronic noise blacks out pretty melodies like a swipe of spray paint. But moments of joy and hope bubble up as whimsical, fuzzy sounds, conjuring the textures of Koosh balls and cotton candy.  

The compositions flow like the ups and downs that Basu went through in the months and years that followed the tragedy. “There was so much cuckoo energy going on, like any time you entered a space the grief was so thick you could touch it,” says Basu, who has been intimately involved in the Bay Area’s music scene for years as a performer, educator and executive director of Ratskin Records. Their work (notably their “Decolonizing Sound” workshop) has appeared in major museums and universities, but they’ve stayed firmly rooted in the D.I.Y. underground scene." 

  

Beast Nest feature in 48 HILLS  'Beast Nest's Sicko Is a Jubilant freak celebration..." 

"Those same questions are included in a booklet with the vinyl release of Sicko, out now on Ratskin Records, which could be seen as a kind of comfort object as well. Though Basu’s roots are in the East Bay noise scene, Sicko is bright, vivid, jubilant, and centering, driven by drums that seem perpetually on the verge of exploding. There’s noise, but it’s not confrontational, instead bringing texture and intrigue to these six long tracks." 

  

"Sicko" Reviewed in Resident Advisor by Dash Lewis : (Review

"Even at its harshest, Sicko stays warm and inviting. Basu imparts this music with an empathetic sweetness—there's never a moment designed to put distance between you and them. Instead, the album feels vivacious, as if you're in the room witnessing its creation. "Kim, People Are Dying" embodies this sense of presence. Despite the dissonant FM sequence and frantic drum pattern, Basu guides the listener through the maelstrom with a lilting major key drone. Each song features multiple opportunities to foster connection, whether in the form of a human voice peeking through searing distortion or a danceable beat beneath the chaotic swirl. " -Resident Advisor  

Bandcamp Daily: Essential Releases - Feb 2022 (Review

"When we interviewed Sharmi Basu, who performs as Beast Nest, in 2017, she described the whitewashed, prohibitively academic nature of the experimental music canon succinctly, explaining how much work she and others have done to break open that world and build something new. Listening to her latest, Sicko, a profoundly gracious work that is part avant-garde composition, part ambient, part noise, and part techno, it’s easy to hear the imprint of her ethos. This is music that is imaginative and unconventional, but also has immediate emotional resonance; no fancy degree needed.  

"Sicko" reviewed in Blogcritics,  by Richard Marcus : https://blogcritics.org/music-review-beast-nest-sicko/  

"Sicko" reviewed in The Quietus, by Daryl Worthington :  https://thequietus.com/articles/31045-beast-nest-sicko-review  

"Sicko" reviewed in Bandcloud #376 https://bandcloud.substack.com/p/bandcloud-376  

"Sicko" Best New Bay Area Music  https://whitecrate.substack.com/p/queer-south-asian-electronic-artist 

"Sicko" reviewed on Underground Apexhttps://www.undergroundapex.com/post/beast-nest-sicko-graces-your-ears-with-love 

"Sicko" reviewed in https://europaeculturaelettronica.blogspot.com/2022/02/beast-nest-sicko-recensioni-album-2022.html

 

PRESS

"Toward Unity And Justice"  Sharmi Basu in San Francisco Classical Voice - July 2020

“For me, it’s just like, pay them” responded electronic artist and DIY-scene community organizer Sharmi Basu, with a laugh. The question posed was about how to account for the wide range of access to opportunity and safety between, say, a cisgender white gay man and a transgender black woman, while trying to unify the queer and trans new music community. They continued: “A lot of these questions are actually really simple — giving resources both financially and emotionally [to queer and trans artists of color] is a huge step towards changing these discrepancies, and making people feel loved and seen.”

 

"How Oakland's Music Scene became Queerer, Browner, and More Femme" on Bandcamp Daily 

"The life cycles of underground scenes in Oakland tend to be short. Because of the affordability crisis in the Bay Area, there’s no longer an abundance of derelict storefronts and warehouses in which to throw parties. When a landlord sells a building that used to house an underground venue, the groups of people that venue united typically scatter among other enclaves in the scene. Every year, a new crop of kids comes of age and starts building something new. And because of the Ghost Ship fire, which claimed 36 lives at a party last December, underground venues have become harder to find than ever before. 

That’s why, even though Basu is only a few years older than some other artists in the experimental music scene, many regard her as a foremother who paved the way for younger artists like Spellling, Kohinoorgasm, and Earthbound. “I think it has a lot to do with resistance also, to be honest,” she says. “I think a lot of things shifted at the end of 2014, when all the stuff surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown was happening. That was a point when people were suddenly realizing what police violence is, and what white supremacy actually is.”

 

"Sharmi Basu is Decolonizing Noise" Sharmi Basu  in East Bay Express

""There's a myth that noise as a genre miraculously came from white dudes in the suburbs, but that's not the case. History is misleading. Noise is based on improvisation. There are so many accounts of mothers in the South, who were enslaved, freestyling these lullabies and the lullabies serve as a moment of refuge, an actual source of safety." Basu continued, "For myself, getting into experimental music was about how I can create a world outside of the world I'm materially bound to, how I can express what I'm feeling without this shitty colonial language I'm socialized to use."

 

"Indian American Artist Sharmi Basu Using Music to Effect Social Change" in India West

“In many ways music allows me more freedom and the ability to rewrite a different type of story for what it looks like to actually create change,” Basu stressed to India-West. “A lot of the times activism seems like fighting against something, but in music all over the world being able to bring the community together in a form of empowerment, it’s like a mode of change that doesn’t feel accessible. It’s not as acknowledged that it has so much power.”

 

 "Global Melodies" In Little India 

Many artists in America are also taking this moment to show an extraordinary prowess and synergy. For instance, Sharmi Basu, an electronic musician from Oakland, Calif., who performs as Beast Nest, has been active in the experimental music scene anc vociferously promotes the idea that music exists across-the-board. She believes in “decolonizing musical language” through her workshops, has been part of “Empowering women of Color” conferences and views her gigs as a way of providing solace to marginalized community. 

Basu says: “I do believe that spaces that emphasize music by people of color and women of color hold a qualitatively different atmosphere that is inherently more welcoming and provides a different sense of cultural reference and expansion than a typical punk show or concert that might still host a predominantly white audience.” 

 


 

“For me, it’s just like, pay them” responded electronic artist and DIY-scene community organizer Sharmi Basu, with a laugh. The question posed was about how to account for the wide range of access to opportunity and safety between, say, a cisgender white gay man and a transgender black woman, while trying to unify the queer and trans new music community. They continued: “A lot of these questions are actually really simple — giving resources both financially and emotionally [to queer and trans artists of color] is a huge step towards changing these discrepancies, and making people feel loved and seen.”” - Sharmi Basu

— San Francisco Classical Voice

VISUALS

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