When I was told about an event put on by NEXUS involving their Funktion One sound system, a warehouse stocked wall to wall with trampolines and a 6 person coed dodgeball tournament, I was hesitant to believe it (much less consider driving the 14 hour round trip to Santa Clara, CA for one night). Upon further investigation, and a little arm twisting by my comrade in sound Dirty Harry, aka All The Time, I decided to forgo that evening’s Telepath show to help support Nexus raise funds for their Pyrosphere Burning Man art installation. Notorious Santa Cruise promotions company, host to an electronic music blog, and (from what I hear) one of the most badass destinations on the Playa, the Nexus crew has been doing it big at Burning Man for years, and this annual event at the Sky High is just another example of their dedication to rage.
As we drove, I still had some doubts about the evening, but I decided to let the night carry me wherever it would. The lack of solidity in our sleeping arrangements ended up not mattering, since sleep is for the weak and I was boingin for days after, so we raged down the 101 bumping drum and bass, punk rock and acid house until we arrived at the obscure venue. Upon rolling up and seeing a group of sweaty 12 year olds leaving the event, I began to doubt the validity of rage here, and wondered if it was really an all ages event simply acting as a fundraiser. After changing into some WBOD gym gear, burning down a swisher and polishing off a Mint Newman-O dropped twice to ensure maximum hangtime while boinging, I was quick to realize that the place was not going to be inhabited by it’s normal clientele.
Lasers shooting from an old Winebago in front of the emptying place gave me the final OK that the long drive was worth it, as some Nexicans were pre-raging in full work out costumes as the normal operating hours came to a close. With a few breaths of the popcorn-and-sweat aroma, I was instantly nostalgic of going to places like this as a kid on camping trips and birthdays. My first couple boings on the basketball court-sized trampoline pushed the cookie into overdrive and made me realize that this was going to be quite a physically active night, so pacing myself was key to maintaining a solid contribution the whole evening. With my shirt and coonskin hat already sweated through, I came off the trampoline to see that my fellow roadtrippers were already feeling the Newman-O, and we erupted into a frenzy when the ginormous and ominous looking spawn of Optimus Prime began to happily pump out some bubbly tech house.
Wearing a costume in a trampoline arcade, listening to J.Phlip on a Funktion 1 sound system, with an ever increasing crowd of similarly dressed bass clowns and burners, I was ecstatic with where I was and what I was doing. The inner child was prompted to materialize in everyone while we jumped and danced around, as the bass from J.Plip‘s ghetto tech overpowered the warehouse arena. Up next on the decks, Mosaic showcased his expertise in blending tracks, contorting his limbs in full swings while twisting the Xone 92’s EQs, perfecting his lengthy progressive blends. People happily bounced around, dancing and eating free pizza. As the SF electronic guru took over the party, we organized with other stragglers and banded together to form the Hardware Heroes and try our luck in the single elimination tournament on its own set of trampolines. Despite our best efforts, and a dislocation of my pinky finger in a brutal 1-1 standoff with Team Balls, we lost the first round in a tie breaker match. Between the bright lights, flying balls and Funktion One level womps merely 5 feet from the trampoline, blasting soundwaves up through from the bottom, helping boingers to achieve new heights, the whole thing was a little much for our Shpongled minds and victory was not destined for us. (I will say that next year, we will represent Humboldt County hard at this event and bring a team guaranteed to take first place… Stay tuned for tryouts). Despite not winning the tournament, the night still felt victorious, due to the dope lineup of local producers and DJs that pumped bass until 4am.
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Most notably for me that evening was the Antacid Crew performing live, a group of 4 hardware producers with a myriad of gear like the Korg Electribe EMX and ESX, a Swedish made Elektron MachineDrum, and a Roland TR-808. With this hardware, which they transport in retro style hard cover suitcases, they bopped out their bouncy acid house that perfectly complimented the trampoline boinging going on all around. Using a laptop only to clock all their gear, mostly owned by AkLab Studios, the foursome synchronized their sequenced rhythms and applied live FX for about an hour. After the event, this crew was extremely willing to talk about gear and live music with me (a beginner to the hardware world of electronic music), and they are definitely a crew to catch this summer at Raindance Campout. When the time was right, Comma took over the Fnk-1 to change the mood and utilize the system to its fullest potential, with an on-point set of wompy house-
tech tracks and some plain old mean dubstep. As much as I liked getting down to the various styles of house and techno that had been played all night, I was more than ready to go fuckin nuts to the extreme low frequencies of some Dubstep tracks. Comma, who pairs with Eprom at times to form Biclops, launched tracks off of Ableton and utilized his APC 40 in a manner that looked like it was still in its experimental stages. The machine itself looked like it was fresh out the box. However, ‘dis DJ dropped some dope tracks and as I said, utilized the Fnk 1 to it’s fullest bass potential.
With fat gold chain and coonskin hat tail bouncing on my sweaty velour jump suit, the demonic rhythms blasted out of the alien spacecraft sound system as the night culminated with some tasty bass lines that were still shaking me in the parking lot outside. I had not had fun like this in a long time, and despite my legs and ears being sore for days afterwards, I look forward to making the trip again next year, as well as to any Nexus event that I can in the future. Make sure you check out NEXUS, and if you are going to be on the Playa at this year’s Burning Man, check out the Nexus camp where Bassnectar, among others, have played in the past on their Funktion 1.
Until next time, this is D~R Dyaphonoyze, the Doctor of Rage, encouraging all of you to take that chance on a last minute road trip into the unknown. After all, who knows.. by the end of the night, you could be tripping balls flying 30 feet through the air listening to live hardware on one of the most badass sound systems on the planet. Or not, but if you don’t take that chance you will never know. Use Your Head and Rage Responsibly, as we continue our journeys into a culture in a constant state of metamorphosis, pushing social boundaries and fusing musical genres. The journey continues whether you wanna be a part of it or not, so if you’re down, be sure to catch LostinSound somewhere along the way. [nggallery id=80]