Profile: Sesshin No-Fi

Sesshin is a Japanese terms that translates to “one mind” and is used by Zen Buddhists to describe periods of intense meditation. These extended periods of deep meditation can lead to spiritual experiences akin to enlightenment, which for some can be a very traumatic experience. But experienced practitioners have reported feelings of inner calm and a heightening of the senses. No-Fi is a combination of the genres “No Wave” and “Lo-Fi” and is a term used to describe media created outside of conventional standards. No-Fi is an extraordinarily diverse aesthetic, covering many mediums other than just music, such as video manipulation. It has been suggested that No-Fi music is: on the edge of losing control or collapsing into non-music, nihilistic, mocking of convention, unclean, containing “natural” noises and various sonic artifacts, such as natural reverb and echoes, distortion, tape-hiss and/or feedback, lack of sound-picture clarity, improvisation, and the use of noise as an “instrument”.

Sesshin No-Fi started 2 years ago after a chance meeting between Doug Kallmeyer (bass), Ben Broeking (turntables) and Dempsey Hamilton (drums).  DJ No-Fi, a local bedroom DJ, had responded to Doug Kallmeyer’s craigslist ad looking for musicians interested in playing dub music and after sending Doug a dub mix he had made they decided they were on the same page.  After a couple improvisational sessions it was obvious that there was a musical connection between these musicians.  Since then the group has become more of a collective and has evolved, expanding and contracting as musicians and guests sit in with the band.  Instruments and people come and go but Doug and Ben have always been at the core of the group. The group has coined the term “Babylonian Bebop” to describe it’s genre defying sound that sounds both archaic and familiar at the same time.  Since it’s inception Sesshin No-Fi has played many live shows in the DMV, from local rock venues like Iota, Velvelt Lounge and DC9 to more experimental venues like Art-O-Matic, The Fridge and Electric Possible.  Each show has featured a different lineup and each show has been an experiment in collective improvisation.  Live video projection done by local artist Monika Stroik has been just as much a part of the live experience as the music.  Local artists who have at one point shared the stage with Sesshin No-Fi include Jason Tremblay, Ted Zook, Rachel Panay, Mike Sebastian, Todd Miller, DJ Acre, and Louie Rozier The group is currently recording and will self release their debut album on vinyl later this year.  The group is also actively seeking gigs around the DC area and also always looking for musicians interested in collaboration.  Send inquiries to sesshinnofi@gmail.com

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