DJ Arora goes Afro-techno at the Elbo Room 

click to enlarge Kush Aurora
  • courtesy photo
  • DJ-producer Kush Aurora happily opens for this idol, Dr Israel, on Sunday.
Your Memorial Day weekend is about to get a lot more dubby.

On Sunday at Elbo Room, San Francisco global bass DJ and producer Kush Arora opens for Dr. Israel in an installment of the every-Sunday Dub Mission night produced by DJ Sep.

Arora is going to rock an Ableton-enabled set of loop-based bass music, with live dubbing on a drum machine, plus a couple of small custom Korg synths “for fun lasers and sirens and things,” he says.

Releasing music since 2004, Arora has been in a woodshed period lately, working a day job at and focusing on a tribal-industrial sound installation to debut later this year. Heavily into reggae, tropical and West African music, Arora also embraces industrial, dubstep and other heavy electronic sounds.

“For the last three or four years I’ve cast such a wide net with Brazilian, reggae, East Bay industrial,” he says. “People get confused.”

In 2013, Arora released a West African Kuduro record called “International Currency” with Jahdan Blakkamoore. This year, he collaborated with MC ZULU on “Witch Doctor,” and then did a remix with Bachelors of Science of “Carpenter” for Gappy Ranks.

He toured for a while but got bored. “I still like playing forward-thinking global cultural parties,” he says.

These days, he’s digging into a hybrid industrial, West African and Angolan sound that’s very rhythmic and fast, and almost analogous to heavy metal acts like Ministry. Arora has finished the fourth song of a suite of techno-African music for his upcoming installation.

“I want to make political music. … I want to have people walk into a space and be assaulted by rhythm,” he says. “It’s never going to be super-popular. But you have to come up with something and really own it and make a statement about it.“

Arora said Sunday night’s headliner, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Dr. Israel, is a legendary one-man band playing reggae, Latin reggae, baile funk, garage and West African stuff.

“He makes all his music and he dubs it live and sings and does all the music. There’s nobody who does that. … He’s like a hero to me. In junior high that was like my soundtrack. His albums from the ’90s were in my top 10 of what was cutting edge. It should be a really fun show.”


Dub Mission

with DJ Sep and Kush Arora opening for Dr. Israel Where: Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., S.F.

When: 9 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $8 to $11

Contact: (415) 552-7788,



So Stoked 14: The rave revival has Re-Con, John Beaver, Switchblade, No Left Turn, Saphyre, Mr. Brandon and Sneakerz along with Tranz Am, Raid Zero, Jiddu Proletariat, Wanderer, Sordid Skunk and Massive Production. 7 p.m., $15-$25. DNA Lounge, 375 11th St., S.F., (415) 626-1409,


Rich Medina: Fresh hip-hop is on the bill with headliner Medina and DJs King Most, Leydis & Mr. E, plus special guest performances by Martin Luther and more. 9 p.m., $10. Public Works, 161 Erie St., S.F., (415) 779-6757,


Sunight: This place to chill with friends has relaxing music, tea and special drinks, and surround sound with Big Phone, Willits and Manitous. 7 p.m., $5-$7. Public Works, 161 Erie St., S.F., (415) 779-6757,

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