Nectar and dissent 

Lorin continues to go deep, in music and politics

Who: DJ Lorin

What: Soul Kitchen

Where: Tommy Africa’s

When: Sunday, Dec. 14

The DJ/Producer is an enigmatic persona, but none so much as Lorin. Hailing from San Francisco, the artist/activist and general freakadelic sonic wizard is as unclassifiable as his lush, woozy, deep bass-infused breakbeat and psy-hop tracks. A session with Lorin on the decks is like stepping into another dimension. You don’t listen to Lorin; you absorb him. You infuse the ‘bassnectar’, after which his groove collective and general life philosophy is named, through your skin and your mind right down, deep down, to your spiritual core.

While now one of the most respected names in electronic production, Lorin spent his formative years not in U.K. clubs, but in San Francisco jam spaces, playing and listening to the hardest, heaviest speed metal, rocking out.

"I fell in love with churning massive music when I was 12 or 13," he remembers. "I kind of slipped further and further into it until I was almost consumed by the underground grindcore/black metal scene in Cali during my high school years. We had a wicked hole-in-the-wall rehearsal space and jammed nearly every day. I played guitar in the main band, but plenty of bass, drums and vocals in other random bands. We used to throw rages in the basement of the Cupertino Public Library."

In the same way he has been able to fuse elements in the studio, he is a unique living link between the angriest hardest music and ethereal floating tracks that incorporate voices quoting children’s poet Shel Silverstein’s "once I spoke the language of the flowers."

"Don't get me wrong: it was hard, dark, expressive music," says Lorin. "But I have always been a gentle, kind-hearted person. I just like my music to be extremely deep."

He doesn’t thrash guitars anymore, but he does get more animated behind the decks than many of his contemporaries. The live Lorin sound plays off the audience’s energy and the DJ’s prankster side.

"I am compelled to constantly evolve and experiment," he says. "In terms of performance, I have a love affair with psychedelia and I find ‘psychedelic’ to be anything unexpected, absurd, and uncalled for. So if I am playing to a bunch of breakbeat heads I’ll drop Notorious B.I.G. and watch them get nasty. And if I’m playing for a bunch of sweetheart hippies I’ll ease them in with some dub and organic ethnic-hop, and then drop the raunchiest bass line imaginable on them. Musically, once I have their trust, it’s all a ride."

His daring at the decks mirrors his daring in expressing his disdain for his country’s current government. The two often merge in tracks sampling Noam Chomsky, and the iconic "Not In Our Name" speech by Saul Williams.

The activist says he’s not an anarchist, supporting representational democracy in a culture of transparency and accountability. But he speaks frankly about what he sees as abuses of power and a disease of corporate interest and influence in his country’s current Republican regime. In the same way his mind is able to see a correlation between So-Cal grindcore and psy-hop, he also relates politics to music.

"It’s the same for music and democracy," he muses. "Music loses novelty so quickly and there is a correlation between its loss of novelty and its loss of power and appeal. I encourage evolution in music, and I also push the envelope in everyday social life. I think dissenting the flaws in one's government is a very natural side effect of evolution, the mechanisms within us wanting to constantly improve society and iron out the kinks. The Republicans, Bush and the corporations are a bunch of kinks and they are gonna get ironed out, or smashed, or both."

Whether you agree with his politics or not, you can check out Lorin’s DJ set this Sunday night at Tommy Africa’s Soul Kitchen, Whistler’s longest running club night at 11 years and counting. Doors at 9:30 p.m.

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