Distal releases 'Retrograde Space Opera,' launches Anarchostar label

Retrograde Space Opera leans toward a gauntlet of 808 handshakes, modernistic electro-funk, and lazer hip-hop.


  • Courtesy Distal

First as a DJ, then as a producer, Michael Rathbun has used his alter ego Distal to champion more seismic, off-center facets of electronic production, including breakbeat ’ardkore, gabber, breakcore, drill ‘n’ bass, dubstep, and Detroit techno. Now he’s released a psychedelic, decentralist, sci-fi concept album, Retrograde Space Opera, the follow-up to 2012’s Civilization, and used the occasion to launch his own Anarchostar label, which will center on the fringes. The cut-up, shifting percussion, and bright timbres of Retrograde Space Opera lean toward a gauntlet of 808 handshakes, modernistic electro-funk, and lazer hip-hop, while Anarchostar interfaces the vector aesthetic of Argentinian artist Freschore with a futuristic enfranchisement narrative that will slowly unfurl across releases.

You can currently check out the album digitally on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc., pick it up locally at Criminal Records and beATLab, or get it by mail from Bleep and Kudos Records. Even better, you can bring sacks of pennies to the album release party at 529 on Thurs., Oct. 23. Expect Distal to roll plenty of snares, push an abundance of jeep-beat subbass, and rock the cowbell when he celebrates the album’s release. Also on the bill is original ATL IDM patchbay provocateur and sound-design deviant Richard Devine performing an all-modular synthesizer set (though if there’s enough audience demand he’s hinted he might rock an iPad banjo solo, so shout “Splay Fleabird!” with enthusiasm). Wild of Night and Ba-kuura round out the night.

Watch the Oct. 23 edition of CL for a full feature on Distal, Anarchostar, maximized minimalism, and growing up in the perception-altering age of computer networking.

$8-$10. 9 p.m. 529, 529 Flat Shoals Ave. 404-228-6769. www.529atlanta.com.