Like the city itself, Pittsburgh's dark-electronic music scene encompasses both the clangor of the Industrial Revolution and the buzz-and-click of the Information Age. A consistent mover in that cyber-punk community is Jim Semonik, who's put in a decade of both concert promotion (as Distortion Productions) and live performance, with electro-industrial band Rein[forced]. Semonik's dedication didn't waver during his bout with cancer last year, and he's eager to give back to the medical wizards who saved his life with an anthology called Electronic Saviors: Industrial Music to Cure Cancer.
Saviors has become a monumental undertaking: a four-CD box-set plus a downloadable fifth album, due in February 2010 on goth-industrial juggernaut Metropolis Records. The 80-plus artist lineup includes industrial/EBM legends Combichrist, Chemlab, Suicide Commando, 16 Volt and Leather Strip, and a contingent of local acts like Prometheus Burning and Semonik's group. "It took 90 percent of my free time for the last eight months," Semonik recalls, "but it was well worth it considering the tracks I got -- there's not one filler on the whole thing."
Semonik's also presenting an all-ages concert this Thu., Sept. 10, at Downtown's Pegasus Lounge -- the "Ruina" tour, starring coldwavers Psyclon Nine and futurepop icons Imperative Reaction, Metropolis acts from Los Angeles. "Imperative will bring the VNV Nation crowd," Semonik says, while "Psyclon will draw those into dark electro and black metal, because that's the direction their new CD is going. So you'll hear two different aspects of the dark-electronic scene."
Not to say there isn't a third: breakcore. Not familiar with that genre? Get your aural hymen popped when the "Breakcore Gives Me Wood" tour penetrates Kopec's bar in Lawrenceville on Sat., Sep. 12. Organized by Dave Crimm, who runs the Thaco Records label and performs under the name 8Cylinder, the show stops here en route to a Detroit's annual Schizophrenia fest, which locals Xanopticon and Prometheus Burning have graced in the past.
The show's lineup includes local dubstepper Simon Slum, perennial Galactic AssDragon finalist Vasculator and Greensburg newcomer Nate Cake, supporting two Belgian headliners -- Sickboy and Droon, "excitable dudes who jump around and want everyone to have a good time," Crimm says. "It's not chin-scratching stuff at all, but it's also not just your ordinary rave music.
"Their crew puts on giant squat parties in abandoned buildings in Ghent, and a thousand people come out. [Xanopticon] has rocked them before. It's all breakcore and hardcore electronics, but with a punk edge -- everyone's in hoodies and dreadlocks, and they just wild out."