Dancing in Your Sleep: Label Microcosm Calms the Nerves

For some people, the term avant-garde might conjure images of dancers leaping dourly across a black stage to an abstract, absurdist soundtrack. But as Ezekiel Honig—the owner and brains behind local electronic label Microcosm—points out, what is considered avant-garde depends on your point of entry. For a die-hard fan of drum'n'bass, Honig's genre of choice before starting Microcosm, Honig's brand of spatial ambient electronic music, might seem downright weird. "It's in the eye or ear of the beholder," he says. "It depends on the perspective of the listener. It might be really boring background music to someone. But to another person, it's really exciting, with a lot of layers, and has a lot of depth."

The 28-year-old producer has two full-length CDs on his label (which also includes releases by artists Socks and Sandals and Someone Else), People Places and Things, and his collaboration with Morgan Packard, Early Morning Migration. The two discs inhabit an REM-like dream state—what sounds like water leaking trickles over the vibrating hum of a synth while rhythms fade and reappear without warning. For the average dance music enthusiast expecting a four-four kick and an orgasmic buildup, Honig's records—in which sound stretches across a barren landscape with seemingly nothing happening for miles—might test their patience. But if you stick around, you'll be rewarded. The final effect is mesmerizing, calming, and befitting of moments in life when you want to contemplate and reflect, or when you want to do absolutely no thinking at all. "My music, it's not really party time stuff," says Honig. "It's driving in your car, going to sleep kind of stuff." (Hopefully, we pointed out, not at the same time.)

Honig and the Microcosm crew can be found at their monthly Shark Attack! on March 28 and April 25 at Stay, 244 East Houston Street, 212-982-3532.

Honing in on Ezekiel Honig
photo: Richard Mitchell
Honing in on Ezekiel Honig

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