Bok Bok the incredible


DJ Bok Bok rocks

kitties ‘n’ grime!

The venerable Bubblin’ and Dropping Gems crews in PDX brought UK deejay Bok Bok to Holocene on Friday night, 3/22/13. It was an evening of pure genius, to be sure. The words Bok Bok (Alex Sushon) himself used to describe a recent on-air BBC1 mix of his was “raw and uncompromising club music.” Until this weekend, the ‘clubbiest’ set I’d seen to date was M.A.N.D.Y. years ago at the defunct club 2410. But Bok Bok now takes the cake as clubbiest, making one feel transported to dark London underground caverns some years in the future, or like Paz de la Huerta all fried up in Tokyo in ‘Enter the Void’.

Now, I have little idea how dj’s create their mixes; it’s all a glorious mystery to me, but Bok Bok’s deconstruction & composition skills are clearly on the cutting edge. I think much of the mixing was done live, with all kinds of awesome noisemaking machines. He lays down a basic funky jam or addictive samba drum track or what have you, chops it up and adds so many detailed, perfectly syncopated synthy rhythms, satifyingly loud and crystalline noises and heavy bass that the gestalt sum is a wholly new, unbridled composition with a steely, existential and terrifying feel. The sharpness, heaviness and abstract scariness are exactly what bass music is all about, but I’ve really only seen a few dj’s who craft it this well. (I mean, maybe I need to get out more, but this guy is an ACE.) Raw and uncompromising are definitely the words for it. And in addition to being cerebrally fascinating, the entire set was body-rocking. So liberating. Not a single overbearing moment despite the intensity. I’m so hooked; been listening only to the long mixes on Bok Bok’s Night Slugs label since Friday. I just want to live in London for a while and see this guy and his bassy/grimy friends demolish it every week and then jaunt over to Berghain in Berlin every once in a while to catch one of Ben Klock’s six-hour sets. If I posted “Sometimes I just want to be a European raver” on Facebook, people would relate, right?

One can only keep thanking the local favorite guys ‘n’ gals for bringing such amazing urban music to the valley here and priming the crowds with their intelligent opening sets. It’s really a public service.

(video courtesy of dj Lincolnup!)

Night Slugs website:

Plenty of mixes on that site & on soundcloud, including this shorter mix for B.TRAITS on BBC1 radio, which has been on repeat. And here’s Bok Bok’s remix of a MikeQ remix of Egyptrixx – ! Way.

Cool interview from And another at SPIN. We could not possibly give more word-ups to this quote from Bok Bok:
My favorite sets in the past few years have been ones where I’ve played for seven hours. It’s about immersiveness; it’s about trying to give people a richer club experience — not something disposable that they can just get drunk to. Well, they should still get drunk! They should still get crazy. Then they can come away with a feeling that they maybe have experienced something a little more interesting and deeper than your average club night, hopefully.


p.s. I couldn’t see most of the opening sets because I was @ defunkt, also tearing it up blackbox style. One can’t really pretend to be a Londoner by clubbing alone. One must attend the theater as well.