Event Off Sale: Tickets no longer available

PopGun Presents



Mar 19

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Cameo Gallery

Brooklyn, NY


Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

“Driving past a music instrument shop in my granddad’s car. Friday evenings at my grandparents with chip-shop food and toys to hand, watching Top Of The Pops…the two-tier Yamaha Electone organ at their house. The first toy keyboard my grandmother gave me for my 7th birthday and my radio and tape recorder with built-in microphone, which my parents gave me for my 10th birthday. Probably hearing Rick James’ writing/production on the Mary Jane Girls album whilst in primary school.”

A brief, nostalgic jaunt through a musical adolescence that probably feels quite familiar to many. Growing up in South London holds a special kind of cache´ at the moment, what with its proclivity for breeding forward-thinking electronic producers – however it was the precious humdrum of home that inspired Kwes’ approach to his craft. “As a kid, I watched television, I listened to the radio a lot, read magazines, listened to loads of vinyl, CDs, tapes, and I was a teenager when the internet became faster and online music outlets became more widespread. In short, I didn’t get out much.”

All that studious pop-culture intake wouldn’t take long to manifest itself as Kwes quickly excelled as a masterful musical multitasker, honing his approach to producing, songwriting, DJing and playing a handful of instruments. Soon came a precocious debut single for XL, “Hearts In Home/Tissues” was a startling combination of Kwes’ lilting melancholic vocals and unassumingly virtuosic leftfield production. Surveying the current musical landscape shows just how far ahead of its time the single would be. Next came Kwes’ production and remix work for a host of peers: Micachu, The xx, Elan Tamara, Hot Chip, Damon Albarn’s Monkey Opera and The Invisible to name but a few. Says Kwes on his production endeavors, “producing for another is essentially interpreting for a wider audience to grasp and experience. I suppose I do the same thing for myself. Another constant is putting my all and passion into anything I work on.”

All these studio hours plus time spent on the road playing live with Ebony Bones, Jack Penate and Leftfield meant that it would take some time for the next solo release from Kwes, but it was well worth the wait. Last year’s No Need To Run EP on Young Turks was an instrumental mini-epic drawing on moody ambient pop and hyper-melodic beat compositions and while showing yet another side to the young producer, shined the spotlight ever closer to Kwes’ own creations. “I feel my music fits around many heads of many sizes and mental dispositions. I make my own music for myself first and then of course for anyone who wants to listen to it.”

On the heels of the EP came a pair of exciting production projects with two of the most exciting young voices in UK hip-hop. Along with Joe Goddard of Hot Chip and Micachu, Kwes produced the lion’s share of breakout MC DELS’ full-length debut, a feat followed by producing Speech Debelle’s follow-up to the Mercury Prize winning Speech Therapy. Now, with his debut Warp release in the works, in addition to the genre-spanning second volume of he and Micachu’s “Kwesachu“ mixtape series and ever more production sessions, Kwes has another busy year lined up – albeit one that should see that spotlight squarely upon him.
Denmark's Steven Jess Borth, aka CHLLNGR, is climbing the ranks in the IDM and electronic communities thanks to an approach that incorporates R&B, dub and African rhythms with a Scandinavian sense of the bleak . Noted for collaborations with Cubic Zirconia, Spoek Mathambo and his remixes for MIA, The xx and Teachers, CHLLNGR has received much praise for 2011's debut LP Haven, of which the Slant zine, "At this point, you might not think you need another dubstep record, but I can guarantee you don't have one that sounds quite like this."
Beacon’s third full-length record enters sight as a work of meticulous revision and refraction. Returning home to New York in 2016, four years and several tours since the duo's first release with Ghostly International, Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett knew the next direction would be different. Their roster of sounds, driven by loops and textures, suddenly felt confined to a muted grayscale. Together they embarked on open-ended sessions, adopting a more linear style of songwriting. They fundamentally constructed demos from piano chords and guitar phrases with vocal melodies, editing iterations almost ad infinitum, looking through each from a multitude of angles. Compositions expanded, while others pared back to where they began. Like the bending of light, this abstractive and patient process outlines a space and scale in which seemingly separate colors — minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals, and four-on-the-floor dance sequences — can coexist at different speeds, fanning out with spectral cohesion. A prismatic collection Beacon call Gravity Pairs .
“All matter is created by dividing gravity into pairs,” said 20th-century scientific-mystic Walter Russell, whose idiosyncratic “new world-thought” writings and musically-informed schematic drawings (reflected in the record's artwork) were as fringe in their time as they are fascinating. Mullarney details the concept further: "Gravity pairs is a thing that Russell describes as the way the whole order of the universe is broken down, into pairs but also in a way that brings us together." This curiosity of natural phenomena permeates the album, represented most directly through the narrative device of light. The word features prominently on the wistful, soft-washed "Marion," which finds a harmonic guide in the hammered dulcimer. Samples ebb and flow beneath Mullarney's crystalline voice and a bed of feathery, pneumatic production, projecting into the mix at moments of brightness and clarity.
“Losing My Mind” is the duo’s boldest sonic departure. On the somber ballad, Mullarney sings of stability, whether romantic or spiritual, and the comfort in knowing someone remains in the absence of light. Written on piano, the song first swelled into a full-bodied arrangement before reverting to its original shell, as Gossett explains. “I came back from a trip and Tom had a new edit that was completely stripped back. Sometimes it just takes those infinite iterations to finally crack the code.”
With each iterative breakthrough, Beacon expanded the spectrum of these recordings as well as their possibilities in the live setting. The material can be played straight or in previous variations, enhanced by the recent addition of a drummer to their live band. “When you're writing music with that in mind, there are definitely certain tracks that we were like, ‘that's a bigger sound.’ It's going to occupy more space,” adds Gossett. Another epiphany came in the spring of 2017 when Beacon joined Tycho at Coachella and for dates in Europe, with Mullarney experimenting as the band’s first ever vocalist. “Just doing things at that scale, and at that point in the record, was really validating,” says Mullarney. “We came back with confidence to finish stuff. And to say that's next, it has to be.”
Two models exemplifying this mode are “Be My Organ” and “On Ice.” The latter is a smoke-filled still-life. Notes arpeggiate along a cool, motorik beat as Mullarney repeats “you’re not moving,” his vocals vaporized and echoed. The former elevates on a percussive build – one of the many fills from Tycho drummer Rory O'Connor - reaching its peak in the final strobe-lit minute. Then there’s a late album flourish, “The Road,” which, through pinwheeling repetitions beamed into four-on-the-floor framework, folds vibrating wavelengths into a symphony of fragmentary energies.
Russell, the mystic, believed in balance, a rhythmic exchange “between all pairs of opposite expressions.” On Gravity Pairs, Beacon channel the philosophy with pure pop mystique, slicing through dense and foggy dance and electronic music apparatuses to create something familiar but unique, melodic but cathartic. Rippling through these songs are iridescent synthesizer lines, stoic piano phrasing, dazzling percussion, posh harpsichord, understated xylophone, and a crisp voice in complete control. Taken as a whole, in their various combinations and compressions, these complementary and secondary tones unlock the lushest field of color, a universe of light.
Venue Information:
Cameo Gallery
93 N. 6th St.
Brooklyn, NY, 11211