Heligator Spotlights Local Experimental Music

The Cincinnati-based label's latest release 'Siyavakashela vol. 1' focuses on the local Experimental music scene. Plus, Salsa on the Square kicks off this week and No Response returns to Woodward Theater.

click to enlarge Heligator Records’ "Siyavakashela vol. 1" - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
Heligator Records’ "Siyavakashela vol. 1"
Heligator Records is a unique Cincinnati-based label, not only because of the experimental nature of the music releases, but also due to its origins and primary purpose. With its releases since its 2013 beginnings, the label has provided exposure to Drone, Ambient, Noise and other progressive types of sound artists from Cincinnati and beyond. But the label was created by Ryan Hall to help continuously fund a library he and his wife created for the Malindza Refugee Camp in the town of Mpaka (in the southern African country Swaziland) while volunteering for the Peace Corps. All money generated from the purchase of digital music from Heligator (visit heligatorrecords.bandcamp.com to check out/purchase from the catalog) goes to sustaining the library, which provides various educational resources for the camp’s residents.

Heligator’s latest release, Siyavakashela vol. 1 – Cincinnati, focuses squarely on the Queen City’s Experimental music scene. The 19-track compilation kicks off with pioneering Cincinnati artist John Bender’s glitchy, pulsating Electronic track “” and then takes off in numerous unanticipated directions — from the dynamic Post Punk of Amanda’s Scanner and Stella and the scraping noisescapes of Dyon McCratney (from the bands Mardou, Vacation and Sleeves) and Alex York to the ambient guitar drone of Pete Fosco and twinkling, atmospheric dreamland of Zijnzijn Zijnzijn!’s “Aurels.” The album also includes the distorted psychedelic Pop of “Dancing Like a Little Flower” by Vero (the solo project of Leggy’s Veronique Allaer) and the sweeping, swirling “Technicolor” by the trio Nanny (featuring vocal contributions from Molly Sullivan). 

This Monday, the label celebrates the release of Siyavakashela (which means “We are visitors” in Siswati) with an event at The Listing Loon (4124 Hamilton Ave., Northside, facebook.com/thelistingloon). The free show begins at 9 p.m. and includes performances by Bender and Nanny, as well as visiting Denver artists X Box Live and French Kettle Station. Limited-edition CD-R versions of the compilation will be available; each includes two prints of photos taken at the Malindza camp by Vanessa Bordin. The CD-R is also available to order through Heligator’s Bandcamp site

More Local Notes

• The popular and free Salsa on the Square concerts/dances return to Fountain Square this Thursday and run every Thursday throughout the summer until Sept. 28. The series is now in its 10th year and features a rotating lineup of local and occasionally touring Salsa, Latin Jazz, Merengue and Cumbia bands, as well as free dance lessons. This Thursday’s opening concert features local greats Tropicoso; future performers include Son Del CaribeKandelaZumba and Grupo Tumbao. Shows begin at 7 p.m. each week. Visit myfountainsquare.com for the full lineup rundown. 

• On June 16 and 17, the experimental music festival No Response returns to the Woodward Theater for its second-annual event, this year featuring the iconic Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (of Psychic TV fame) performing with Edley ODowd on opening night and long-running Japanese Noise group Hijokaidan headlining the second night. This Thursday, No Response organizers host a benefit show to help cover the costs of the festival at The Mockbee (2260 Central Parkway, Brighton, facebook.com/themockbee). Cincinnati experimental music heavyweights Wasteland Jazz Ensemble and John Bender are joined by CriptostreichelnPisswater PreachersDroneflower and Kneeplay for the 8 p.m. event. Admission is $5. 

For more on No Response, visit noresponsefestival.com. Tickets are available now at cincyticket.com

• Remember April? That was awesome. Especially the local music released. Visit citybeat.com to check out our monthly playlist of music released by local acts. April’s playlist features great tracks from Modern AquaticR. RingMoonbowSons of SilvertonThe Upset VictoryFriday GiantsLantanaYoung ButtaSiren SuitYosiah JohnsonTalk MouthThe Night Divided and more. You’ll also find links to our previous playlists in the post. 

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected] 

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