DJ Dials and Gray Area presents
Telefon Tel Aviv Live
After the untimely cancellation of their performance last March, Telefon Tel Aviv returns to Gray Area to perform a new live audiovisual performance. Josh Eustis combines atmospheric soundscapes with visceral, ambient visuals touring on the album “Dreams Are Not Enough,” released in September 2019 on Ghostly International. The album and performance are seen through the lens of a dream, both in terms of its sound and its emotional content. Fears are processed and long-held desires are realized. The album and track titles refer to a recurring dream Eustis has, based on a "murky incident during a family vacation to a remote Alabama coastline.
Telefon Tel Aviv is an experimental electronic duo formed in 1999 by two New Orleans high-school friends, Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper. Following years of playing in various local bands and learning the ropes of electronic music production, Eustis and Cooper wrote the demos for what would become Telefon Tel Aviv in 1999. After sending them to John Hughes III, who operated the Chicago-based Hefty Records, they were offered an album deal in January 2000. They spent the rest of that year writing their debut album, Fahrenheit Fair Enough, released in September 2001, as well as the soundtrack for the movie New Port South, written by Hughes’ brother James and released the same year.
Shaped by a diverse set of influences that included British electronic music (Autechre, Aphex Twin, Jega) and Black American music (house, techno, bounce rap), Telefon Tel Aviv were the latest in a growing lineup of American musicians that sought to carve their own lane and add something meaningful to a growing international conversation about what the meeting point between hip-hop, soul, and electronic music could be. But while Eustis and Cooper emerged within a specific context that provided their continuing work with a solid foundation, they spent the next decade taking risks and grappling with the idea of what an electronic duo could be.
In 2004, they released their second LP, Map Of What Is Effortless, a bold attempt at solidifying the romantic elements of their debut into a modern r&b sound and featuring vocal contributions from Damon Aaron and Lindsay Anderson. Three years later, Hefty released a compilation of Telefon Tel Aviv remixes that included their take on Nine Inch Nails, Ammoncontact, Slicker, and Apparat among others.
In 2009, ten years after they first began working together, the duo returned with Immolate Yourself, via Ellen Alien’s BPitch Control label. Darker and synth-driven, this third album took yet another dramatic left turn, this time towards a more unabashedly pop-minded sound.
In between the German and U.S. release of Immolate, Charles Cooper passed away unexpectedly. Following Cooper’s death the Telefon Tel Aviv project went on hold. In 2014, Eustis released a solo album on Audraglint Recordings as Sons of Magdalene called Move To Pain. After years of self-doubt, Eustis decided to revive the Telefon Tel Aviv alias in 2016. This return coincides with a reissue of the debut album on Ghostly International and Eustis’ first live shows under the name, which began in the spring of 2016 with a North American tour alongside Moderat. New material under the Telefon Tel Aviv moniker is currently being written.
Noah Cunningham is a talented DJ, concert promoter, editor, animator, cinematographer, and video artist. Noah spins music under the name DJ Dials, and for the last 14 years he’s been mixing songs from genres such as dubstep, ‘90s rap and throwback electronic, playing alongside well-known artists Thom Yorke, The Roots, SBTRKT and several others.
Chasms was formed by Jess Labrador and Shannon Madden. Following 2016's On the Legs of Love Purified and the recent "Divine Illusion" single, The Mirage pushes the band's ethereal sound into the murky depths of dub. Marking a sonic shift for the project, The Mirage finds the duo trading in chaotic bursts of noise for understated minimalism that's still characteristically melancholic and potent with emotion. Labrador's drum production is as deft as ever with an expanded range of electronic samples and tape-delay-induced polyrhythms. Layered with Madden's persistently dubby bass, Labrador's sparse guitar and gliding soprano float above a labyrinth of hypnotic sequences. These dub-laced dirges signify growth within the band, heard in their command of repetition, space, and effects to build a pervasive mood that's often utterly heartbreaking.
DJ CZ (aka Chris Zaldua) is a writer, DJ, party promoter, and music obsessive based in San Francisco, CA. He co-founded two event series (Surface Tension, Vague Terrain) and a record label (Left Hand Path), all focusing on the liminal, the interstitial, and the in-between. His writing has been published in Resident Advisor, XLR8R, FACT Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, KQED, Red Bull Music Academy, Noisey/Vice, and beyond. Recent DJ mix highlights include recorded podcasts for The Bunker New York, Mysteries of the Deep, and Honey Soundsystem.