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Album Premiere: Live in Oakland by Dax Pierson

Dax Pierson
19 July 2019

Dax Pierson – Photo Credit: Michael Daddona

Dax Pierson is a storied musician and producer who has called the East Bay home for 20 years. A co-founder of the bands Subtle and 13 & God, he was also a touring member of left-of-center hip hop group Themselves and an associate of the Anticon collective.

In 2005, while on tour with Subtle, his van encountered black ice in the middle of the country and flipped over, leaving Dax quadriplegic, with a spinal cord injury in the 5th and 6th vertebrae. With his individual fingers now paralyzed, Dax has switched to using a laptop controlled with iPad apps in order to produce music.

His past 14 years have been spent exploring the possibilities that technology could offer, often with time-consuming learning curves — the fruits of which can now be heard in Live in Oakland, an inventive and immersive album that The Big Takeover is proud to host the premiere of today, on the day of its release..

Aesthetically, Live In Oakland blends heavy, multi-layered polyrhythmic percussion with sharp, mechanized, arpeggiated synth lines, meticulously sequenced transitions, and geometric time changes which dramatically stop, start, and pivot on an invisible dime. Field recordings, manipulated voice samples, and swelling synthesizers create unexplored caverns of ambient textures accentuated by bright percussion and synth leads.

The A side was recorded at the legendary Oakland DIY venue LCM (Life Changing Ministries) and the B-side was captured more recently at the 3-day Stasis Festival at Pro Arts Gallery in downtown Oakland. While studio productions of many of these tracks exist, this live paring of Pierson’s work serves as an intimate and focused glimpse into the intensity and veracity that the tracks possess, especially within a live, free-form setting.

The performances stand both on their own as individual live sets, but they also operate as a continuum, and the result is a sonically deep, compositionally and conceptually complex offering from one of the Bay Area’s most hardworking, esoteric, and innovative producers.

“Don’t take your physical abilities for granted, for you can lose them, with a snap of the neck,” Pierson chants as he explores the evolving soundscape of life for disabled artists through his outing Live in Oakland.

Written, performed, and produced by Dax Wentworth Pierson
Live at LCM recorded by Raub Roy and live at Stasis recorded by Michael Buchanan
Mastered by Jay Fields, DAX Logo by Lockwood 51.
Illustration by Julia Mazawa

PRE-ORDER Live in Oakland:

Ratskin Records Facebook
Dax Pierson at Ratskin Records Website