Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Feb 05th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Conspiracy Theory

music_ConspiratorThe recruits and rumors behind a Disco Biscuits side-project
What does a working musician do during downtime? If you ask Conspirator founder and bassist Marc Brownstein, the words “down” and “time” exist in his vocabulary but never combine into one.

When not on the road with his home project, Philadelphia electronic jam band Disco Biscuits, Brownstein is a father of three and co-chair of the voter registration group Headcount, all while nurturing numerous side projects—one of which is Conspirator, the brainchild of Brownstein and Disco Biscuits keyboardist Aron Magner. Since 2004, Brownstein and Magner have been creating instrumental electronic jams slightly more stern than the playful Biscuits sound.

Conspirator's only studio release, 2005's The Key, carries an ambiance that teeters on the dark side with moments of club-energy drum and bass intermixed with New Age mystique. However, with no recorded tracks from the latest incarnation of Conspirator, which now has a full line-up, interested parties will have to catch the band when it makes a stop at Moe's Alley this Sunday, Feb. 13. Joining will be a rotating cast of all-star drummers of the jam band scene, including Lane Shaw from Pnuma Trio and Adam Deitch of Break Science. To the delight of a legion of locals, Brownstein hopes to recruit members of Santa Cruz's own Sound Tribe Sector 9 to join Conspirator for some California dates in light of their recently canceled tour due to the shocking cancer diagnosis of STS9 bassist David Murphy.

Brownstein himself was hit hard by the news of Murphy’s health battle. “It's weighing heavily on [the jam band] scene right now,” he says. “Our whole entire world is kind of in shock ... We're all kind of on the edge of our seats, waiting for more good news. All of our love and prayers are with his family and his band.”

Another official Conspirator member is RAQ guitarist Chris Michetti. The inclusion of Michetti, who filled in for Disco Biscuits guitarist Jon Gutwillig after he broke his hand last year, has stirred a frenzy of break-up rumors amongst the Biscuits' fan base.

“I love this rumor,” Brownstein says. “Our fans are bugging out, but what's better for a band than rumors that they're breaking up?” Still, Brownstein can’t help but admit, and perhaps gloat, that the Biscuits “are in it for the long haul.”

Michetti's guitar rock influence certainly brings new elements to Conspirator, which may or may not be well-received by fans.

“Once every five days or so, I'll get a 'Why did you add guitar to Conspirator?' message on my Facebook,” Brownstein says. “But I think, overwhelmingly, the vibe is 'Wow, Conspirator is turning into

a really, really sick band.'”

With an emphasis on abandoning the “press and play” electronica that compromises excitement for precision, Conspirator is committed to creating a unique show every night with a wide array of songs woven together with interchangeable elements. Brownstein boasts that Conspirator co-founder Aron Magner is largely to thank for the individuality of each show, calling him “a master in composing electronic music.”

“In terms of the songwriting, Aron is the glue that holds this whole thing together,” Brownstein says. “He runs the whole Conspirator show off his computer. He works on Ableton Live and, over the last few years, has really started to master the program and cut songs up into pieces so we can work them out. So every time, even though it is electronic, there's a little bit more performance going on and a little less just pressing play.”

And, of course, the live collaboration of other jam band masters is also a huge ingredient in Conspirator's explosive presence and energy.

“We're always open to bringing in guests,” Brownstein says. “That's kind of what the whole band was based on five years ago. A conspiracy. To conspire with these other musicians we've met in the scene.”


Conspirator performs at 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13, at Moe's Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $15. For more information, call 479-1854.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits