One year ago tomorrow, 36 artists, musicians and fans lost their lives in the Oakland Ghost Ship fire. It was a truly devastating loss for the Bay Area arts community, and for many of us personally here at Pandora HQ.
Oakland is still grieving. This tragedy has left the local music scene forever changed, as the voices of so many burgeoning artists — many of whom were just beginning to hit their stride — were silenced far too soon. It has also drawn attention to the need for safe, sanctioned spaces where artists outside the mainstream can perform, exhibit, create and celebrate.
To honor the anniversary of the fire, two Bay Area labels are releasing previously unheard music by several of the victims. These recordings celebrate a collective legacy and remind us just how much we will miss these artists.
Run the Length of Your Wildness is a weekly party held at Underground SF in San Francisco, and was the project of friends and 100% Silk lablemates Roche (Ben Winans) and Cherushii (Chelsea Faith). RTLOYW has become a hub for emerging electronic music in the Bay Area. After Cherushii’s passing, Roche teamed up with Hobo Camp Records to release a tribute to Cherushii and former Pandora employee Nackt (Johnny Igaz), who also died in the fire. Run the Length of Your Wildness is a four-song collection: two songs by artists we lost and two from friends who mourn their absence.
The record opens with Cherushii’s “The Industrial City.” True to Cherushii’s style, she weaves warm, intricate rhythms into playful synthetic experimentation. The track is wistful and a bit melancholic, encased in glassy resonance. Nackt finishes off side one with “Next,” a stunner that showcases his original talent, and paints a heartbreaking picture of what could have been a prolific career. Nackt demonstrates a natural ability to create truly moving and thoughtful techno music. It’s carefully nuanced, pulsing and propulsive, and a testament to his skill as an artist.
Side B begins with Roche’s “One for Cherushii,” and it’s simply beautiful. Dynamic and hypnotic, it requires repeat listens to take in all the subtle elements the surface with each successive spin. “All That’s Left” by David Last, Cherushii’s partner, closes out the record. It’s a melodic electro-style track, emblematic of the transformative and transportive power of dance music.
San Francisco label Left Hand Path has also released a collection of posthumous tracks by Nackt, titled Private Property Created Crime.
The tracks expertly meld techno, acid and electro, and are a perfect snapshot of Nackt’s musical journey. A former music analyst at Pandora, Igaz was deeply knowledgeable and passionate about music. He championed the local scene and committed himself to helping new artists get their music heard. He will be missed by all of us, forever.
You can listen to Run the Length of Your Wildness here.
You can also purchase a copy for yourself. All profits will be donated to the families of Chelsea Faith and Johnny Igaz.
Pick up Private Property Created Crime here.
To check out Nackt’s previous works or to donate to the families of the victims, please visit www.theysleepwelive.com.
And finally, our curators created a mixtape that showcases music by those who were impacted by the fire.