RBMA NYC: THE BUNKER X DEKMANTEL
ELECTRONIC EXCURSIONS WITH JUJU & JORDASH, JOEY ANDERSON, PALMS TRAX, ANTENES, CLAY WILSON, BRYAN KASENIC AND DEKMANTEL SOUNDSYSTEM
Amsterdam’s Dekmantel and New York City’s The Bunker are two of modern techno’s most respected institutions, and we’re excited to join them at Brooklyn’s Good Room for a night of dark and driving electronic music. A label, a party and a festival, Dekmantel has quickly emerged as one of Europe’s techno bastions. Their imprint has featured the likes of Joey Anderson, Juju & Jordash and RBMA 2014 alumnus Palms Trax among their ranks, all of whom will perform in the comfy, back-to-basics environs of this Greenpoint club. Support will come from the Dekmantel Soundsystem and Bunker founder and resident Bryan Kasenic, as well as Bunker affiliates Antenes and Clay Wilson.
Clay Wilson’s life story is, for the most part, a mystery. Little is known about the 24-year-old producer, who began turning heads with mesmerizing tracks from his home base in Brooklyn last year. The deeply psychedelic groove of Clay’s debut release for Brooklyn’s Styles Upon Styles’ Bangers and Ash series immediately caught our attention.
Before Wilson started making techno, he studied improvisation at music school in upstate New York. Wilson played bass, studying with noted jazz musicians who had worked with Ornette Coleman, Alice Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, and many artists who recorded for the ECM label. He counts Coleman, Coltrane, and Art Ensemble of Chicago among his major inspirations. You can sense the subtle traces of Wilson’s avant-garde jazz training in his techno. You can hear the shifting layers of intriguing textures in the music, his deep understanding of the low end, of arranging and composition, of form. “Understanding the foundation of form has allowed me to not worry so much about putting loops into a full ‘song’, which seems to be a common thing with electronic music,” he says. “I think the textures kind of come from trying to get away from standard musical ideas.”
While nerding out over our mutual love of fine craft beers and deep techno, we asked Wilson to create some music for our (then hypothetical) new label, and he obliged, in spades. Wilson was already a big fan of The Bunker, and a regular at our parties. He had already started making music before experiencing The Bunker, but the sound of the party inspired him massively, and helped him to refine his own aesthetic. He was deeply moved by Bunker sets by Voices From The Lake, Demdike Stare, Peter Van Hoesen, the Interdimensional Transmissions crew, Bee Mask, Atom™, Tobias, and many more.
Bryan Kasenic (aka Spinoza) is known in the electronic music world for founding The Bunker, playing adventurous DJ sets, launching an influential newsletter, and starting Beyond Booking.
Although Bryan’s peaktime sets consist mostly of techno and house, he loves all music, and has a past that cannot be pinned down to just one genre. He started DJing in 1996, playing psychedelic soundscapes in chillout rooms and on college radio shows (Carnegie Mellon, Rutgers, and New York University). Slowly but surely, he began to play more dancefloor friendly sets that incorporated his interest in the deeper spaces you can go to in the chillout room.
Bryan is also known for his many other roles in the electronic music scene. As a free service to the community, he began publishing Beyond NYC Events, a weekly email newsletter, in 1997. The newsletter became an influential way to promote interesting under-the-radar electronic music events to a large fan base in New York. In 2001, Kasenic oversaw the booking of all of the promoters at Openair, a DJ lounge in the East Village that quickly gained recognition for its forward-thinking music programming. At Openair, one of the promoters he worked with was Magda, who brought in techno luminaries like Zip, Daniel Bell, and John Tejada to play at her first residency in New York City. From 2000 to 2005, Spinoza helped DJ Olive and Jameson run The Agriculture, a record label dedicated to bringing homegrown laptop dub to the masses.
Bryan has thrown a ton of parties and weeklies in New York City, including a 5-year stint at Halcyon with the Undercity weekly. He has put most of his energy into The Bunker since January 2003, eventually turning it into the premier techno weekly in North America, which morphed into a bigger monthly party in 2009. In 2005, he started doing all the booking for the Wolf + Lamb Marcy Hotel in Williamsburg, helping to almost instantly transform it into the hottest after-hours spot New York City had seen in many years. Kasenic went on to curate and help throw many larger warehouse and loft parties with Wolf + Lamb. In 2008, he founded the House-n-Home loft party series with Anthony Parasole, which hosted many legendary loft parties at 12-turn-13 over the course of a year.
Through the Beyond Booking Agency, Kasenic has helped build the electronic music scene nationally by booking his friends and allies in other North American cities. As he has become busier with other projects, he reduced the Beyond roster to just The Bunker residents (Derek Plaslaiko, Eric Cloutier, Mike Servito, and himself) and a few friends, but continues to assist guest artists coming through The Bunker to connect with the right people in other cities.
Bryan produced three events for the inaugural Unsound Festival New York in February 2010, and followed with more in 2011 and 2012. Unsound, Poland’s most forward-thinking music festival, brought a bold and uniquely modern program of music to Kraków for seven years before producing a New York edition. Every Unsound Festival edition of The Bunker was highly successful, presenting a cross section of some of the most interesting (and sadly most under represented) electronic music artists from Eastern Europe and the US.
While Kasenic has played lots of big clubs like Panorama Bar, Twilo, Tunnel, and Vinyl/Arc, he honestly prefers small intimate rooms. He has DJed at big parties in New York for PS1 Warm Up, Resolute, Rhythmism, Madagascar Institute, Chengwin, Soundlab, Multipolyomni (at the Kitchen), Rubulad, Complacent, theDanger, the Lunatarium, and NYC Burningman Decompression. He’s also appeared in Berlin (Panorama Bar, Watergate, Tresor), Krakow & Warsaw (Unsound Festival), Seattle (Decibel Festival), Boulder (Communikey Festival), Chicago (Smart Bar, Sonotheque), Detroit (No Way Back, Oslo), Philadelphia (Rizumu, Inciting), Boston, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Montreal.
In January 2014, The Bunker celebrated it’s 11th Anniversary and launched a record label.