As I looked upon the ufo landing site in front of me, a familiar and peculiarly fresh alien-like figure approached center stage.
Jasha Tull- known to thousands of left-field bass enthusiasts and sound design activists as Space Jesus– appeared behind the DJ booth decked out bucket-hat to bare feet and carried a cool, odd, and wavy demeanor as he greeted the space travelers in attendance. Still buzzing from Tsuruda‘s monstrosity of a set, we welcomed Moon Dot Records label-head as he began to introduce the sound experiment approaching. The soothing soundscapes of a tropical oasis drifted up from the speakers on stage, and Jasha spoke of the guided meditation planned for the evening.
What would soon happen after minutes of tranquil melodic ambience would shock me even in my dreams… WARNING: these talented experimentalists wreak sonic chaos with no promise of remorse.
Before going into the unbelievably unique and other-worldly set of Space Jesus, I must admit that what sold me on the 4 hour round trip to Greensboro was the absolute GIFT of catching both Tsuruda AND Tiedye Ky live for the first time ever.
Unfortunately my crew had set times confused, so we didn’t get to catch Onhell‘s set, but with a quick trip through his discography of remixes and originals, you’ll get a proper understanding of the unique style and production ability of West Cali based producer Angel Rubio-Hale. I’m looking forward to the day where I get to hear some of these sounds live!
Tiedye Ky & The Infinite Moon
When we finally entered the venue, I was stupefied to find Tiedye Ky‘s logo floating up on the ovular LED screen. It was so ridonkulously hype to see this young storytelling bass-punk with my own eyes that it reminded me of the first time I ever got to see Mac Miller live. Wavy and full of flow, Kyle Bates aka Tiedye Ky played out several original tracks from over the years as well as some from his upcoming album whilst surrounded by the greenery of the extraterrestrial scene onstage.
The Philadelphian sound engineer is known to a rapidly expanding audience around the world, and brings a much needed melodic soul to bass music that shows itself every time he steps in the mix. Bates delivers genuine emotion in the form of electric guitar riffs and raw vocals; utilizing soul gripping contrasts between positive and negative emotion to juxtapose the two with artistic vision that is way beyond his years. Tiedye Ky is absolutely one of my all-time favorites, and it has been so special to watch him grow both as an artist and human in just the short time since he released the dual sided Color Palettes EP. You won’t want to miss out on the incredible things he’ll do with music and life in general as the upcoming months unfold.
The Dragon of the Darkness Flame
Up next came the wildly underrated veteran producer Tsuruda. With a production expertise that often seems inhuman, Los Angeles based Thomas Tsuruda has built up a vast discography of genre-less tracks since 2014. The classically trained musician offers a unique synthesis of experimental hip-hop beats, ground breaking sound design contortions, and a legitimate musical integrity which all combines to effectively present a complex emotional perspective with each track he touches.
What I respect so much about Tsuruda is that he is a genuine musician. Just a quick look at his vast discography of phenomenal tracks and the authentic emotion behind alter-ego cousin litt will show you what I mean. Overall, the seasoned beat-maker is a master of rhythmic timing, a genius sound technician, and a brilliant artistic visionary that is not afraid to express himself musically. Each of his track’s have a consistent and distinct “Tsurudan” atmosphere, and it’s for this reason that I place him in a genre completely on his own.
When he took the stage in Greensboro, Tsuruda displayed his extraterrestrial competence with jaw-dropping grandeur. I can’t say I hadn’t expected to be mind-blown, but I can assure you I was nowhere close to prepared for the reality of what he would do that night in Greensboro. There’s really no point in using words to explain it, so please do yourself a favor and DO NOT MISS TSURUDA WHEN HE COMES TO YOUR CITY. I cannot do this man justice verbally because all I could think whilst mid-bass-barrage was “HOLY CREAKIN’ CANOLI WHAT IS THIS OVERWHELMING WEIGHT IN MY CHEST VIBRATING MY SOUL? IS THIS POSSIBLE? HOW IS IT SO THICC? IS THIS NORMAL?!?” I’m sure you catch my drift. Anyways, Tsuruda is a legend and his set was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more.
Captain Jafar of the U.S.S. Moon Dot
To close the night out was the enigmatic cosmonaut himself, Space Jesus. It’s hard to believe I’ve been along for the ride ever since I came across his name on the Okeechobee lineup in 2016. From playing that stage with agonizingly quiet speakers to headlining a tour and starting his own label, I couldn’t be more proud of him for sticking to his peculiarity and expressing himself boldly. Watching him pull up to the decks with no shoes, and own his full artistic vision really made me feel warm & fuzzy inside.
If you know Space Jesus, however, you know that these warm and fuzzies did not last long…
Now, I’ve seen Jasha a number of times in several different settings, so I know full well that he has a capacity for tasteful beats and absolutely incredible, palatable bass music. That being said, this night in Greensboro I know for a fact he was purposefully cranking the “experimental knob” to quadrillion… and I mean really cranking that thing. Outside of the Wakaan-era tracks that have become somewhat nostalgic to me like “Space Boss“, “Jafar’s Pipedream” and “M Night Shambhala” the Moon Dot Records reverse bass specialist used his new-found freedom to completely obliterate conventionality altogether. It was quite a spectacle, I must say.
Despite having to take the occasional reality-check step back throughout his performance, I was glad to hear a lot of his more soulful melodic tracks as well as those from some of my favorite sonic innovators like Eazybaked, Tiedye Ky, Esseks, Charlesthefirst, Chee, as well as many others.
About mid-hyperspeed jump I ventured to the bar to acquire H20, and all of the sudden I looked towards the stage to find that Jasha had brought out Detroit based experimentalist Freddy Todd. By this time I had gotten the chance to strap on my moon boots, so I charged into the crowd and joined my fellow astronauts for the onslaught of their back-to-back performance.
Much to my surprise, the two somehow continued to crank the already broken experimental knob; forcing me to re-evaluate my life on this plane of existence a considerable number of times. Freddy Todd looks and sounds to me like a retro-Miami-vice outer space surrealist, so when he joined Space Jesus, the Moon Dot landing took a quick voyage past the furthest quasar and those along for the ride got down to some stanky extraterrestrial funk. The type of business that Salvador Dali and ET would’ve gotten jiggy’ with. The type of get down that made the usual Wakaan wizardry seem like a classical piano concierto.
Follow Freddy‘s Fredcrumb’s!
Follow Space Jesus and his fresh-out-the-wormhole Jordans!
Moon Dot B2B2B2B2B
After a short trip through the fabric of time and space, Space Jesus brought the other artists back to the stage and commenced one of the most legendary back-to-back sets I’ve ever seen. Every single one of the guys unloaded their big guns when it was time to show out, and I could not have been happier with how the night closed out. Only downfall was when they stopped!
I really urge you to to do your research on all of these artists, even though it will only get you half-way to fully understanding their art. No matter who you are or where you come from, I’m sure you’ll find each to be entirely unique, genuine musicians with true passion for pushing the limits of sound and telling their stories in new and inventive ways.
Onhell, Tiedye Ky, Tsuruda, Freddy Todd, and Space Jesus… Now if that’s not a hefty one night lineup, I don’t know what is!