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D/B Recommended: Why? & Balam Acab @ Volksbühne Berlin | Monday, 15.10.2012

Let’s get some things out of the way. WHY? is a band — three Cincinnati-bred gentlemen who’ve shared a whole lotta past together.

Two of them are brothers. Yoni Wolf, who founded the project by his lonesome in 1998 is one of those. The other is Josiah Wolf, who first started hitting the skins at their father’s synagogue during worship service.

WHY?’s third fella is Doug McDiarmid, a high school friend born to French teachers, discovered by the Wolfs whilst playing guitar in a Steve Miller cover band.

Why? | Sod In the Seed

The project started awhile ago. Really, with Yoni in the synagogue basement on a forgotten four-track, recording bad poems and sloppy beats that none of us will ever hear. Flash forward through his monumental discovery of A Tribe Called Quest and his later untimely egress from art school and you’ll arrive at the next most pivotal moment.

The punctuated letters W-H-Y-? graduated from an enigmatic tag loopily scrawled across various Ohio surfaces to something printed on tapes, fliers, records and CDs. As a founding member of Anticon, Yoni had one of the first releases on the label: the Split EP! with Odd Nosdam, WHY?’s half a kaleidoscopic seven-song suite of sweetly sour song-rap.

Why? | These Hands

And then the albums began, with the cult-revered Oaklandazulasylum in 2003, documenting WHY?’s quickening march from an enticingly idiosyncratic outside-of-art, inside-the-bedroom experiment to the fiercely chopsy and wildly creative band of badasses they are today. 2005’s lauded Elephant Eyelash paved the way for tours, collabs and more albums.

Everyone comes into their own at different times. For WHY?, most agree that this happened across 2008 and 2009 with a pair of oddly engrossing stunners — the tightly rhythmic Alopecia and its quieter, kinda country cousin Eskimo Snow — which turned the oft-boxed music world on its hella gross cauliflower ear. Now, it happens to be 2012, so there’s a new EP called Sod in the Seed and a new LP, their fifth.

Balam Acab | Oh Why

The project of Ithaca, New York’s Alec Koone, Balam Acab – named after a Mayan demigod who created rainbows by piercing clouds with arrows – began as an experimental noise project while he was still a Pennsylvania high-school student.

He resuscitated the name a few years later as a music student at Ithaca College, incorporating dubstep, U.K. bass, and R&B elements into his atmospheric sounds, drawing comparisons to Grouper as well as drag/witch house artists such as Salem and White Ring.

Why? & Balam Acab  LIVE

Dj: Falko Teichmann

Monday, 15 October 2012 | 20:00 CET
Volksbühne | Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz | 10178 Berlin/Mitte

whywithaquestionmark.com | soundcloud.com/balamacab | volksbuehne-berlin.de