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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: Idris Ackamoor celebrates 50 visionary years...

Under the Stars: Idris Ackamoor celebrates 50 visionary years of cosmic jazz

Plus: Post-punk power trio Orion's Belte swing by, Los Bitchos are back (in 'Daria' shorts?), more music news

Under the Stars is a quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, opinions, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes, thinking outside the margins. We guarantee attending any of the shows below will result in a glide in your giddy-up and a smile in your get-down.

We proceed.

IDRIS ACKAMOOR AND THE PYRAMIDS 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, “AFRO FUTURISTIC DREAMS,” MARCH 17 & 18 AT THE PRESIDIO THEATER

This legacy San Francisco-based band is living proof that time is still a flat circle. 

Idris Ackamoor, a former student of legendary pianist Cecil Taylor and a sort of spiritual disciple of Sun Ra, brings whatever it takes to get the message across. Dub, prog, and global soul are just a few of the genres that have fueled his output over the years through the lens of jazz.

In honor of his half-century in the performing arts, which began with the formation of his legendary band The Pyramids in 1972, Ackamoor will give the American premiere of forthcoming commemorative double-album Afro Futuristic Dreams in two performances at the Presidio Theatre, SF. It’s free to the public who make reservations here.

When The Pyramids took the stage at the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival two summers ago, they not only marched, they swayed, ya feel me, with dignified timbre, in time to the beat of the drum, energized the crowd—getting asses up off lawns and moving in the air. Ackamoor glistened in an iridescent cape that changed colors with each wind gust, sounded regal on the sax, and delivered his message with clarity. On such a special occasion, their 50th anniversay, I’d expect the same level of vigor from this wiry unit.

The performance, an homage to the contemporary Afrofuturism movement that has embraced science-fiction writers Octavia Butler and Samuel R. Delany, as well as musician Sun Ra, contains Ackamoor’s first music written for orchestral musicians. Under the direction of original Pyramids co-founder Margaux Simmons and presented by Cultural Odyssey, he will perform on saxophones, keytar, piano, vocals, spoken word, and percussion with a string quartet, additional horn section, multiple vocalists, and his band.

ORIONS BELTE AT THE CHAPEL, MARCH 24

This Oslo-based power trio does in fact paint by splotches. Band members Chris Holm, Øyvind Blomstrøm, and recruited drummer Kim Åge Furuhaug cite various influences such as Nigerian ’70s rock, postcards from the French Riviera, Formula One races at the Monza track in Italy, and when Joe Frazier beat Muhammad Ali in the “Fight of the Century” in 1971. 

Vision board like a mug, Mang.

But it all comes together in the seven-plus minute post-punk standout “Atlantic Surfing” from their 2018 debut, the largely unnoticed showpiece Mint. The Norwegian experimental group, who play mostly instrumentals, claimed that the song’s inspiration came from a widescreen/Autobahn-style idea that was lying around. The trio’s atonal ideas blend with newly composed riffs, pedal steel noise tracks, and flutes leaping from the mixing engineers’ Mellotron.

There are stretches where this band coexists with the groove-centric Houston-based Khruangbin. Other times, you can hear hints of The Mattson 2 Meets Chaz Bundick project. However, the Belte enjoys stretching out into jangly indie-pop swaths where things can get weird. Orions Belte’s greatest strength is its ability to charge into the unknown.

Get tickets here.

93 ’TIL INFINITY, “THEME” (ECSTATIC)

Subscribe to Shawn Reynaldo’s First Floor newsletter if you’re a fan of electronic music to the point of obsession. Buddy, he’s an insider who keeps everyone up to date.

He recently mentioned the Ecstatic label from London, which released “Theme,” a chopped and screwed ambient reimagining of the Souls of Mischief 93 ‘Til Infinity classic.

It’s a crushing machine. Fully instrumental, moving at a snail’s pace, where chord changes and gossamer inflections twinkle brighter when there’s no hurry.

Built for the chill room, micro-dosing, or simply catching a Kodachrome sunset, this boss arrangement gives smiles and vibes like the weed man used to.

Buy it here and get open.

LOS BITCHOS AT THE CHAPEL APRIL 18

Prepare your “Daria” cartoon character shorts and Eddie Van Halen cheesy guitar moves for the all-woman instrumental four-piece charmsicle of Anatolian rock.

Los Bitchos is returning. You can make all the necessary preparations by dropping off all that little dick energy at the corner of “Bitch don’t kill my vibe”.

This tornado of turnt, hailing from Australia, Uruguay, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, has played their retro-futuristic blend of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych, and surf guitar joints at over 100 shows across 20 countries since their debut album Let The Festivities Begin!, released last February.

The sold-out concert erupted when they took the stage at The Chapel last June, with lead guitarist Serra Petale dressed in the aforementioned “Daria” shorts.

This incredibly talented group, which included Petrale on guitar, Agustina Ruiz on piano, Josefine Jonsson on bass, Nic Crawshaw on drums, and Ryan Fitzgibbon on guitar, had already won.

It was a night, packed to the rafters, that just kept going, fueled by wacky groove bombs and loosely based disco romps.

You don’t want to miss out on this one-night-only engagement.

Get your shorts out of the dryer and buy your tickets here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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