Pioneer Works Presents: Ata Kak and Ghösh at Market Hotel

Pioneer Works is pleased to present Ata Kak and Ghösh at Market Hotel this April 1, 2022.

Ata Kak is the Ghanaian electronic/rap/highlife icon who kick-started the Awesome Tapes From Africa phenomenon. After a long wait, he is finally embarking on his first ever tour of the US.

Ata Kak’s Obaa Sima cassette was first self-released in Ghana in 1994 to little recognition or interest. Yet when American musicologist Brian Shimkovitz stumbled upon the tape at a street stall in Cape Coast, Ghana eight years later, it became the stimulus for him to launch the Awesome Tapes from Africa blog. As he wrote in his inaugural post: “This is it. The song is called ‘Moma Yendodo.’ You may never hear anything like this elsewhere. No one I know in Ghana listens to this frenetic leftfield rap madness.”

The music on the recording—an amalgam of highlife, Twi language rap, funk, hip-hop, and electronica—traverses a pop music landscape that encapsulates international modes while reflecting contemporary Ghanaian music of the period. Presented with the sweaty passion of a Prince record and the lo-fi recording charm of early Chicago house music, Obaa Sima's joyous soul and casual brilliance made the enigmatic Ata Kak an underground internet sensation and party-starter the world over. After more than a decade of searching, Brian finally tracked down the singer and released the LP officially in March 2015.

“Its positive shine, relentless energy, and alien earworm choruses feel like a portal to an alternate reality, where the sounds of South Africa’s Shangaan electro, Mali’s Balani Show, Syria’s dabke, British grime, and Portuguese kuduro all sweat together.” – FACT Magazine

Ghösh is a disco cabal, a “political party” if you dig what they're saying, a band—they're a wild sonic collage, a quasi post-grunge, post-industrial mash-up, all wrapped up in the chaos and entropic funk of a warped and screwed Public Enemy demo tape and a fax machine shredded in a Cuisinart. Their songs are an iridescent kind of noisy digital alchemy layered in dense charging breakbeats and splattered in raucous dayglo, laser-beamed transmissions from the future at the last protest march of the revolution.

Symphony Spell (vocals/lyrics) and Zachary Fairbrother (various instruments/samplers), the two cyborgs that form Ghösh, bonded over their love for jungle, techno, rap and nu metal to create songs that bang in tantric visions of sight and sound. Their aesthetic is ripped from the screenshots of Republican nightmares and projected wide in shimmering hologram, scored by the last dancefloor clearing sound blasts from a party on Cybertron, all couched in the lyrical intensity of a 2008 myspace page co-owned by Audre Lorde and Missy Elliot.

On ALIEN NATION, the group's latest EP, Ghösh bangs out five anthemic bursts of anti-government, pro-hoe kinesis. In a world ravaged by systemic racism, errant and unchecked capitalism, anti-queer sentiment and police brutality, Ghösh posits that “all our friends are terrorists” with the same chromatic energy they flex for butt moving and body grooving. Underlying all the gay-os, from “Slammafied Buddhafied Funk”'s Jock Jams riffs and Blade Runner-y synthlines, to “I Wanna Rock”'s robotic AC/DC meets HBCU-drumline backbeat—is a deliberate, immersive approach to song writing; every noise, every bleep and bloop is a cognitive, talismanic choice, every sample a guiding mantra, woven into a shambolic web with punk rock ferocity. Though their approach is unorthodox, on ALIEN NATION Ghösh ultimately asks the age old question: Do you wanna rock? In twelve minutes the answer is wildly, emphatically, affirmed.

Presented in partnership with Market Hotel.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and ID are required for entry to this event. For more information, please review Market Hotel's COVID-19 Health and Safety Policy here.