In these days of hyperspecific microcasting, where there are satellite radio stations dedicated to Pink Floyd songs over 10 minutes long or Bob Dylan sans facial hair, it seems like the best strategy for artists would be to cast their sonic nets as wide as possible to attract the largest possible fanbase. For the past dozen years, that concept has worked pretty well for Sound Tribe Sector 9.
The Atlanta band coalesced in 1998 around an instrumental Drum and Bass sound that quickly evolved into a style that tended to embrace and incorporate an amazing array of genres, including Funk, Electronica, Trip Hop, Jazz, Soul and Rock. That early diversity has paid fascinating dividends, allowing STS9 to share stages with the likes of Tortoise, Perry Farrell and James Brown and draw a slavishly loyal following that unites fans of every musical stripe, particularly among the Jam and Dance communities.
Based in Santa Cruz for nearly a decade, STS9 has also embraced unique visual and philosophical elements. The band’s stage presentation includes an impressive light display and often features an artist creating a painting inspired by that performance. The quintet has espoused the benefits of crystals and the wisdom of switching to the Natural Time Calendar and has aligned itself with a number of charitable social causes, from reducing their carbon footprint through environmental partnerships to food drives with Conscious Alliance to ongoing New Orleans relief efforts.
STS9’s most recent album, Ad Explorata, was released last December with little fanfare and a fascinating back story about coded ham radio messages, covert government operations, a secret black ops bunker in Big Sur and how it all came to be reflected in the band’s seventh studio album. Whatever Sound Tribe Sector 9 is doing, regardless of methodology, it’s earning the band a growing legion of fans. Shows on their current tour are selling out with a frequency that should be alarming to anyone without a ticket.
Turn up, strap in, hold on: Sound Tribe Sector 9 is headed for the outer reaches of your inner space.
(Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.)