DAX PIERSON "Live In Oakland" Cassette
“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.