Top Jungle Producer Attacked
Philly drum’n’bass DJ Jordana LeSesne was assaulted early last Wednesday morning while leaving a small Kent, Ohio, club where she had just spun. According to eyewitnesses, a man police have identified as Matthew Gostlin, 26, of Akron, Ohio, ran up and punched Jordana in the face, knocking her to the ground, splitting her lip, and leaving her jaw and nose swollen. The attacker had lifted his foot above her head when a fan—George Meesig of Cleveland—shoved him away.
Widely regarded as the top U.S. drum’n’bass producer, Jordana has released three albums for Jungle Sky under the moniker 1.8.7. Two years ago, the DJ set the dance music community abuzz when “Joe,” as she was then known, announced his intention to become “Jordana.” Last week, e-mail groups and bulletin boards again worked overtime, as party kids from coast to coast got the news. Some fans posting on record store Breakbeat Science’s popular message board (breakbeatscience.com/lounge) have labeled the attack a hate crime, but the motivations remain unclear. According to Meesig, the assailant was joined by another man before the two were picked up by a green Jeep Cherokee. The second man told Meesig, “This is personal. He [Jordana] knows what it’s about. He had it coming to him.”
It’s possible the remark refers to “Get Lucky,” an Akron party Jordana was booked to play last March 19. The party was shut down, according to the DJ, and she didn’t spin, but when some representatives of “Get Lucky” came to take her to the airport, they instead drove her to “a shack in the middle of nowhere and said, ‘You’re playing here.’ ” Jordana said she convinced them to let her go. According to Doug Smiley, booking agent for Jungle Sky’s parent company Liquid Sky, “Get Lucky” was promoted by Richard Diaz and “someone named Matt” of Reflective Collective Entertainment, whose address—356 Spicer Street in Akron—matches the one on the summons issued to Matthew Gostlin. Jordana declined to speculate about the possible connection.
Whatever the case, the assault capped a hell of a week for Jordana. The previous Friday, she’d been mugged in midtown Manhattan while on her way to spin at the Cooler. Jordana has canceled the remaining dates of her tour, and is contemplating the anonymity of a 9-to-5 job. “I’m not wanting to spend the rest of my life identifying as ‘transgendered DJ,’ ” says Jordana. “I’d rather spend the rest of my life identifying as a woman.” —Bill Werde
From Under the Floorboards
A decade or so back, Kurt Cobain serenaded the rock underground in toto with the promise that “our little group has always been, and always will, until the end”—a notion that didn’t exactly pan out. But for folks with less grandiose expectations—epitomized by pre-indie-revolution vets like the duos that shared the Mercury Lounge stage February 20—the sounds from under the floorboards are still reverberating.
Openers Sue Garner and Rick Brown know how to divine those noises—and translate them into a dizzying array of tongues, from neobeatnik No Wave (like their rendition of Don Cherry’s “Trans Love Airways”) to contortionistic country (“Hillbilly in a Can”). Along the way, Garner’s honeyed voice and Brown’s piquant percussion—which celebrated space in both the Sun Ra and John Cage senses—fired a passel of slinky swamp stomps that could teach P.J. Harvey a thing or two about the blues. At set’s end, they crept into the sultry “A Life,” in which Garner, facing her drummer husband, delivered the ultimate in postbohemian self-analysis. “I’ve got nothin’ but you, can’t you see,” she sang. “And as far as I can see, you’ve got nothin’ but me. We call that a life.” A Hallmark valentine? Hardly: On this evening, the sentiment resounded like an ode to some secret sonic society—although Wynonna could probably still have a hit with it.
Headliners Tara Key and Rick Rizzo, playing a full set together for the first time to commemorate their recent collaboration Dark Edson Tiger, didn’t translate quite as well—in part because neither seemed interested in playing to their strengths at the onset. Rather than pepper the crowd with wild-and-woolly solos, the guitar heroes concentrated instead on unspooling reams of Frippertronic ambience. While engaging enough for a few minutes, the noodling dragged on oppressively, breaking only when the guests joined in, nudging Key out of her peaceable reverie. Once loosened up and turned to 11, Key and Rizzo’s full band generated considerable fireworks, erecting a wall of wail that split the difference between Magazine and Molly Hatchet. —David Sprague
Home Is Where the Art Is
Why the hell are you wasting your time in Manhattan with its tiny sweatbox clubs and galleries as soulless as a Benetton ad? There’s a less stifling world across the bridge in Brooklyn: The majestic St. Ann’s, the Euro-noirish Galapagos, and the cavernous Anchorage should be proof enough for even the most jaded hipster, but none of these match the Cave, a Williamsburg venue that aggressively combines all manner of media. It’s one thing to buy an abandoned garage and turn it into a gallery/performance space, but Shige Moriya, along with a group of other artists, also decided to call it home. In such an intimate atmosphere, the vibe has none of Manhattan’s cliquishness—artists collaborating spontaneously is what you’d expect from the West Coast.
For the Cave’s February 24 show, fellow artists and thrill seekers made their way through the gallery maze. Sharon Dunn’s huge fiber sculptures led you into the corridor, where couches and abstract paintings adorned the area. Susanne Wimmer’s prints of body-sized heads were accompanied by a Korean woman in traditional garb playing a stringed instrument called a kayagum. Later, a guitar-violin duo, improvising wildly, joined the sweet, mellow tones of saxophonist Sabir Mateen and the mad drumming of Shige himself and anyone else who wanted to join in. In another studio, action painter Naoki Iwakawa attacked his work of sticks, toilet paper, paint, and dust, like a master chef performing a mad ritual, accompanied by Pere Ubu/DNA bassist Tim Wright’s cymbalom (an electrified gypsy instrument), which produced wah-wah, feedback, and koto-like tones. Most satisfyingly, the two played off each other’s work, creating an unlikely synergy.
Dazzling as the whole spectacle was, not everything meshed. But that’s the price you pay for experimentation. Breaking free from the worn-out models of conventional galleries and spaces, the Cave proves that different arts and media can not only coexist but enhance each other. —Jason Gross