Riki is the Los Angeles based dark synth-pop outfit commandeered by the mysterious Niff Nawor, a visual artist and musician active in the deathrock / anarcho-punk scenes of the California bay area (formerly a member of Crimson Scarlet), before founding her solo endeavor as Riki in 2017.
Riki returns with her 2nd simulacrum of pitch-perfect synth-pop, aptly titled for the precious substance it is: Gold. Inspired by notions of symbolic power, letting go, and transmutable realms of the heart, the album further refines her rare gift for making swooning melancholia as anthemic as it atmospheric. Working with Telefon Tel Aviv co-founder Josh Eustis at his Pasadena studio, the sessions unfolded fluidly and fruitfully, focusing on “quieter moments” and refining the record’s palette and voice. Occasional interruption from a nearby flock of wild parrots infused a mood of California dreaming, purple sunsets dissolving into deepening neon night.
Like all the most elusive pop, Riki’s songcraft is simultaneously direct and oblique, dynamic and detached, shifting from sparkling chorus to elliptical outro according to its own poetic logic. She characterizes her lyrical muse as “very much what’s going on in my life, things I wanted to say but didn’t have the platform.” This subcurrent of dream fulfillment animates the melodies with a specificity and immediacy that transcends her pantheon of 80’s influences: from Saâda Bonaire and Strawberry Switchblade to Bryan Ferry, Bananarama, and beyond. Gold skews less dance floor than her instant classic 2020 debut but taken as a collection it’s equally stirring, stylish, and exquisitely produced. Evocatively layered arrangements of drum machinery, sequencer, fretless bass, grey sky guitar, saxophone, and FX, anchored by Riki’s singular voice, alternately widescreen and wounded, yearning beyond time for ecstasies both fleeting and forever: “Thought I knew you, but you’ve gone far away / it’s not in your nature to stay / but the thought that I need you, grows stronger every day / the colors begin / to change.”
With touring support for Post Present Medium recording artist DREAM_MEGA.
Last Glacial Maximum is the debut full length from Dream_Mega, the recording project of Los Angeles-based artist/musician Joel Kyack. Across six songs, the album unfolds like a set of auditory hallucinations that are at once alien, funereal, triumphant, and life-affirming. Situated somewhere between the lysergic bedroom crunk of Black Zone Myth Chant’s “Straight Cassette,” the fourth world punk sensibilities of Sublime Frequencies and Glitterbeat Records, and the homespun terror of early Hanson Records, Dream_Mega’s sound is something entirelynew—like Terry Riley doing Cro Mags covers using Uncle Sleazy’s gear, or God making a trap record.The album’s opener, “Cost of the Feast,” sets the tone with a sublime mix of opiated flutes and synths, an Apache beat slowed down to around 8bpm, and vocals that may well be delivered by the floating head from Zardoz, coming down from a hellacious ayahuasca bender. The album’s climax occurs in the title track, all eight and a half minutes of terrifying drones, howls, and a percussive beatdown that most closely resembles the drumming style Kyack has refined in some of the best American Freak Rock outfits of the last 300 years (see: the end-of-HC-as-we-know-it fuckery of Providence, RI’s Landed for a prime example). I have no idea what this song is about, and I don’t care to know: it sounds and feels like Fitzcarraldo—if the mountain in Fitzcarraldo had a lot to say about what was going on all around it, that is—and that’s enough for me.
Bar opens at 6pm. Music starts at 9pm with @gothnightarcata stalwart DJ SATANICA, who will be spinning the finest gems in the front room all night long! 21+
Have an issue with this listing? Report it here.