Kinda cyborgy

Open-eared Soundwave Festival appeals to our "Humanities." plus: Recloose, Red Baraat, more parties

Or are we dancer? The Soundwave Festival holds us in its humanoid embrace

SUPER EGO Hi, my name is Paris Hilton. I'm a DJ. I have a new song out called "Afrojack" with Rihanna. Want to experience it? Close your eyes. Lay on something soft, like grass, or a lamb, or Perez Hilton's dumpster bag of excised stomach. Journey with me back in time to 2007. Can't you feel the tiny fingers embroidering the pockets of your half-bleached jeans, the douche-mousse dripping down your Gucci wraparounds, the gaudy wheeze of MySpace deflating slowly underfoot, the background throb of masked insurgents? Can't you hear the gentle buzz of Britney's flaxen hair fall, her greenish umbrella tap-tap-tapping at your car window? Quickly, now, hold my chihuahua Tinkerbell, I'm fading, fading rapidly into the animated gifs, Ed Hardy tramp stamps, hot-pink Hummers, and reality programming challenges of your constantly refreshing mind.... Oh, how ew!

Delete, delete, delete.

Paris's debut on the decks last month, melting down mostly and dragging up all the celebucrap of history's tackiest decade (OK, OK the foppish 1670s were pretty bad), was yet another meme-ready sign of well-played Mayan prediction. 2012 Apocalypse! It's here! And it's wearing sparkly tuxedo lapels and flubbing the EQ levels!

But Earth's supposed obliteration countdown can also inspire, and lead to some more, er, sophisticated sonic expressions, especially concerning the intersection of humanity and technology.

"With the Mayan calendar ending this year and all the crackpot end-of-times theories, I thought, 'this is a perfect time for an inward reflection of who we are and where we're going. And also an opportunity to renew or hit the reset button on our own humanity.'" That's Alan So, dreamy executive and artistic director of the glorious Soundwave Festival (Thu/5-September 30,, explaining to me over email the genesis of its 2012 theme: "Humanities."

The bi-annual, three-month-long Soundwave takes over the city with a heady onslaught of sonic explorations, many of the electronic, installation-based variety, but also incorporating nifty biophysical elements and experiential live performances. This installment promises some truly cosmic haps.

The fest kicks off at the Cal Academy's great Nightlife weekly on Thu/5 (6pm-10pm, $12. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., SF., with techno-audial treats like Jay Kreimer's 'Born Wireless' empathic facial responder, Stephen Hurrel's live sounds of the moving Earth, and The Cellar Ensemble's sound-light oracle instrument, plus guitarist Danny Paul Grody "playing the skies of the Aurora Borealis in a mini-planetarium" and artist Shannon O'Malley giving out tastes of her satiric-disastrous Apocalypse Cakes.

Footage from last year's Soundwave:

More Soundwave 5 summer tantalizers: "Tension" at the Battery Townsend military bunker in Marin, which pairs riveting strings compositions with extreme resonance; "The Human Bionic" series at the Lab featuring Joe Cantrell's Sounding Body, an audience interactive performance that uses brainwaves to conduct sound; and Canadian folk artist Diana Burgoyne's interactive performances using intense-looking analogue-circuitry masks. The physical body is transcended, too: Andrea Williams and Lee Pembleton's "SleepWalks" encourages participants to snooze (bring your sleeping bag) while the artists play music for their dreams, and "Revelation Zen," a collaboration with the Zen Center attempts to breach dimensions both inner and outer.

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