Thurs May 13
317 NW Broadway
Deep in his underground hiphop bunker, DJ Frane lights another, gets his head right, slides some wax on the decks, and starts a ritual he calls "High Chi." It's like Tai Chi, but different; High Chi involves making music according to his stoned whims.
"The purpose of this exercise," explains the 28-year-old producer, "is to remove the feelings of self-consciousness that stifle creative expression. [I hope to] achieve an intuitive state in which I can layer sounds automatically." "When I hear one sample, another sound or phrase will appear in my head and I'll just keep adding and subtracting layers until the track feels complete."
Frane's scientific method has resulted in two instrumental hiphop gems: Frane's Fantastic Boatride (1999) and Electric Garden of Delights (2003). Both bear the subtitle Beats to Blaze To, and one listen to each proves their creator's method is successful in engineering psychedelic visions. Folks may sleep on 'em now, but the crate diggers of the future will flip over their stunning sonics. Frane folds in bowls-full of psych rock, prog rock, astral jazz, even comedy-LP and porn-flick samples, all packed in tight for a trip into sublime headspace. But he grew up in LA and still lives near the Pacific; consequently, "There's a lot of laidback West Coast funk in my sound," Frane says.
For Frane, perhaps unsurprisingly, funk was huge from day one. "[The Bomb Squad, Dr. Dre and Yella] were the masters of sample-based music when I was first messing around with beats in the late '80s," he says, "and they were the only ones who could layer sample upon sample with that level of complexity and still have it come out sounding funky. My style basically evolved from that school of production, and I applied it to stonier melodic elements."
Frane inhales meaningfully and continues: "My first album [was] about the ocean and the new one is about a garden; the music is inspired by nature, but I also involve the natural world while I'm creating."
Put that in your pipe and smoke it, dude.