Dax Pierson

Dax Pierson is a musician/producer who has called the East Bay home for 20 years. He's the co-founder of the bands Subtle and 13 & God, a touring member of left of center hip-hop group Themselves and an associate of the Anticon collective. In 2005 Subtle encountered black ice in the middle of the country while on tour and flipped over, leaving Dax with a spinal cord injury in the 5th and 6th vertebrae. Since his individual fingers are now paralyzed, Dax has switched to using a laptop controlled with iPad apps in order to produce. The last 12 years have been spent exploring the possibilities that technology could offer, often with time-consuming learning curves. His work is currently informed by limitations, college radio segues, hip-hop, ‘90s post-rock, odd time signatures, new techno, ambient drones, bobbing head beats, and sentimentality. 

Live In Oakland

Dax Pierson

“Don’t take your physical abilities for granted, for you can lose them, with a snap of the neck,” Pierson chants, as the manipulated vocal loop meets dense, orchestral synthesizers and undulating drones that escalate into a triumphant, cinematic beat for “A Snap of the Neck”, the album’s powerful opening track. Genre wise, Live In Oakland defies categorization; seamlessly blending elements from hip hop, dance music, experimental electronics, and free improv/radio art into an idiosyncratic electronic style.

Further into the album, “Treading Water” a offers a dense, complex balancing act of IDM and musique concrete in which Pierson samples and sequences the sounds of the medical equipment and motorized wheelchair that has been a part of his life since his 2005 accident. Pierson has relentlessly persevered through these physical limitations and endless learning curves by focusing his practice to unique interfaces with both software and hardware to produce an ineffaceable body of live and studio recordings.

Aesthetically, Live In Oakland blends heavy, multi-layered polyrhythmic percussion with sharp, mechanized, arpeggiated synth lines, meticulously sequenced transitions and geometric time changes which dramatically stop, start and pivot on an invisible dime. Field recordings, manipulated voice samples, and swelling synthesizers create unexplored caverns of ambient textures accentuated by bright percussion and synth leads. The A side was recorded at the legendary Oakland DIY venue LCM (Life Changing Ministries) and the B-side was captured more recently at the 3-day Stasis Festival at Pro Arts Gallery in downtown Oakland. While studio productions of many of these tracks exist, this live pairing of Pierson's work serves as an intimate and focused glimpse into the intensity and veracity that the tracks possess, especially within a live, free-form setting. The performances stand both on their own as individual live sets, but they also operate as continuum, and the result is a sonically deep, compositionally and conceptually complex offering from one of the bay area's most hardworking, esoteric and innovative producers.



BIOGRAPHY
Dax Pierson is a musician/producer who has called the East Bay home for 20 years. He was co-founder of the bands Subtle and 13 & God, a touring member of left of center hip-hop group Themselves and an associate of the Anticon collective. In 2005 Subtle encountered black ice in the middle of the country while on tour and flipped over, leaving Dax with a spinal cord injury in the 5th and 6th vertebrae. Since his individual fingers are now paralyzed, Dax has switched to using a laptop controlled with iPad apps in order to produce. The last 12 years have been spent exploring the possibilities that technology could offer, often with time-consuming learning curves. His work is currently informed by limitations, college radio segues, hip-hop, ‘90s post-rock, odd time signatures, new techno, ambient drones, bobbing head beats and sentimentality.
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PRESS

 

Dax Pierson "Live In Oakland" in  Bandcamp Daily  "Best Electronic Music On Bandcamp -  Jul 2019"

"The history behind this record is dramatic. Among various other roles, Bay Area musician Dax Pierson is an affiliate of the Anticon collective—he was in Subtle with Adam “Doseone” Drucker and Jeffrey “Jel” Logan. In 2005, he was severely paralyzed following a road accident on tour with that group. His work since then has been an experimental process of finding out what he can do with his limited movement, using iPad apps and other tools, and this extraordinary document shows just how sonically ambitious he’s become in those intervening 14 years. He references this history directly on the record’s opener, which revolves around a layered voice intoning, “Don’t take your physical abilities for granted, for you can lose them with a snap of the neck,” before building up an orchestra of disjointed sounds. And through the following seven, mostly lengthy, tracks he creates a very personal vision through drones, distorted hip-hop beats and disembodied voices; clearly, this is a talent that can’t be contained." - Bandcamp 

Dax Pierson feature  in  KQED ARTS:  "Dax Pierson's New Album Confronts a Near-Death Experience and Turbulent Recovery" 

"Visceral and stirring, Live in Oakland is Pierson's way of clearing his throat and letting people know that he's still here—and why he's been laying low. It doesn't paint a falsely inspirational portrait of surviving a near-death experience or living with disabilities. Instead, the album allows listeners to course through the messy, uncomfortable and sometimes ugly emotions that have been part of his recovery process. Pierson is already working on his next album—which he says could take a more poppy form, gesturing to an entire shelf of Prince vinyl he's been collecting since the age of 12."

Dax Pierson Cover Story in East Bay Express :  East Bay Express Cover Story: "The Musical Reinvention Of Dax Pierson" 

"The song "Treading Water" samples a recording from a doctor's appointment in which Pierson is updated on the degenerating condition of his spine. He's developed a bone spur, and the third and fourth vertebrae of his lumbar spine are slowly being fused together — but the upside of a degenerating spine is that a loss of motion means the eventual arthritis will be pain-free. He's treading water both as a physical body and creative force, losing as much ground as he gains. It's an open question whether or not technology will someday enable him to swim upstream, even though he's already ahead of the curve. 

The eerie rhythms lurch erratically, not unlike the forward march of science against the suffering left waiting for its cure, before a closing number of throbbing, danceable techno swings and grooves to the wheelchair percussion. Elsewhere, there are sweeping, almost orchestral oceans of synth drones, painting abstract sound poems in the air."

DAX PIERSON on The House List Podcast 

DAX PIERSON "Live In Oakland" Review in Pitchfork "Great Records You Might Have Missed Summer 2019"

DAX PIERSON "Live In Oakland" Review at I Heart Noise  "Live In Oakland By Cristopher Michael Barnes" - August 2019 

DAX PIERSON "Soulpsang" + Micro Interview on Resonance FM / ATTN MAGAZINE Podcast #24 - July 2019

DAX PIERSON "Live In Oakland" review in The Moderns Blog - August 2019 

DAX PERSON "Live In Oakland" review in  Cassette Gods - Feb 2020 

DAX PERSON "Live In Oakland" review in KFJC - Feb 2020 

Dax Pierson's tapestried compositions evoke the entire history of electronic music, from Kraftwerk at its most cerebral to Autechre at its most haunting. But his new album also is a history of abilities lost and regained, of an artistic spirit reborn and reinvented” - East Bay Express

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