Sunday, February 13, 2005

a proper downtempo album by a jamband

STS9- Artifact

"Tokyo (radio edit)"

I have featured many of the new-school, electronic style jambands on this site. Disco Biscuits, Lotus, Brothers Past, The New Deal, The Bays, The Egg, and more. Each of them has their own style and some have vocals which could lead into a 20 minute techno, house, drum and bass, or even a dub jam. Others play all instrumental live electronic music with the focus on their improvisation skills. Another band that I have liked for a while is Sound Tribe Sector Nine or STS9. This band has evolved a lot over the last few years and now has more of a "live downtempo" sound rather than only rocking instrumental jams. Now, they still are a jamband but they have been mixing it up and adding some new effects and techniques that I really like. They have been doing less improv, and more beat-oriented songs with the laptops. This is something that some of their older fans are not happy about because some of their jams do not rock as hard or peak like they may have in the past, however other people (like me) love the new direction and change.

First of all the drummer, Zach Velmer, is a MACHINE. In my opinion he is the leader of the band and he can bang out drum and bass beats that will make you think they are programmed. Maybe he is a robot, who knows, but I guarantee if you see them live he will blow your mind. The guitar player, bass player and keyboard player have all added laptops with programs like Reason 2.5 running which they use to add samples, loops, and other sounds which give the sound a more "electronic" feel. They have also played sets with an all midi electronic setup which is drums, keys, and laptops only and no guitar. They are going to be playing a "live pa" style set like this at the WMC along with LTJ Bukem and many other D'N'B artists one day and they are playing with Mark Farina another night.

You can stream and also download shows from and here is the link to a show where they played an all electronic set: 10/31/04

So this leads me to their best work yet which is their new studio album, "Artifact". The album has the same feel as any K+D, Tosca, Dzihan and Kamien release. Deep, melodic grooves with great effects on the live instruments they use. I am really, really impressed by this album and I am excited that this band put out an electronic dowtempo album this good. I think this release is as good as many of the downtempo albums that I love and use to DJ. This is one step closer to a fusion between the jamband fans and the clubbers. The track I posted is the radio edit and the album version is much longer.

Read more about STS9 HERE and check the tour dates because they are great live.

1 comment:

DK said...

Not only do I agree with everything that you have mentioned about STS9, I would also go one further and say that if you are into K&D, Sofa Surfers, etc., then now would be the best time to get into STS9, as they are certainly experimenting in that direction. Their live shows are definitely inching towards the stricter adherences of electronic music and getting away from some of the jamband trappings, especially with the addition of G4's for everyone. During one of their most recent shows, they even covered a Boards of Canada song (Roygbiv). And Zach Velmer, their drummer...he is ridiculous. There is a reason why they call this man the Robotic Chipmunk. He might be the best drummer ever, but you really just have to see him live to believe. Having been in attendance at the 10/31/04 show you mention, I can attest to your recommendation of that show. As Perry Farrell said of STS9: 'This band plays in the future tense.'