For the last couple of years the New York party BOUND has been the place to go for techno listeners who want more out of their nights out than just a dark room and a loud sound system. These are key components, don’t get me wrong, but Katie Rex, proprietor of the night, built it around the idea that more is possible. The BOUND website describes their philosophy as an attempt to create “sonic encounters and visual stimuli, with the exploration of pleasure & pain.”
What that means in practice kinda morphs from month-to-month, but looking at their flyers basically gives you an idea—restrictive leather, terrifying masks, promises of “dom experiences by Bitchfist and friends.” It would be gauche to describe in further detail, I will only say, if that sounds like your thing, it probably is and you should go.
But even if it isn’t Rex also is also a DJ and promoter of immaculate taste. Perhaps it’s that techno is intrinsically, structurally intertwined with the whole pain-is-ecstatic, delay-your-pleasures mentality that her party espouses, but she’s become adept choosing people to soundtrack the party that add to the sensory overload. In recent months, her parties have played host to some big guests from around the country and the world—electro-contortionist DJ Stingray stopped by last year, and Munich legend DJ Hell stops by the next party on January 18—but she also brings in the best from in and around the local scene. The spirit is generally fast, loud, and abrasive, but it can be basically anything from in-and-around the world of machine music. It’s anything-goes music, which is fitting.
All of this is why it’s exciting that today Rex and BOUND are sharing their first compilation, Auricular Discipline I, to celebrate their two-year anniversary. It’s a ten-track collection that—per the project’s Bandcamp page—all come from producers who have helped shape the sound and spirit of BOUND over the course of the last couple of years. Rex says via email that each artist here "embodies our vision in their own way."
"John Barera has been my low-key partner in crime in booking our massive Elsewhere line-ups," Rex explains. "Blush Response's sound is reminiscent of the industrial that soundtracked the fetish parties I 'grew up' attending, and Ghorba's sexuality and gender politics flow through her nightlife vision into daily activism.
It’s a rangy collection, bouncing from John Barera’s acidic and lighthearted opener to Auspex's machinic ambience to the feedback-laden industrial puttering of the closing track by Liminal Audio. It goes some places. Some of the scene’s best producers turn in real belters here—False Witness’ “Zechariah” is crushing and crackly in all the right ways and KILBOURNE’s speedy hardcore mutations are in rare form on “How to Get Into the Twin Palms (which is saying something, if you happened upon her 2018 EP Evnika, which is the sort of techno record that’ll make you want to punch through a brick wall).
It’s all killer stuff, and hey, even better it’s all for a good cause. The proceeds from the compilation benefit the Urban Justice Center's Sex Workers Project, which provides aid to sex workers who desperately need it. It’s a more urgent cause than ever in the era of SESTA/FOSTA, which made an already marginalized group of people even more vulnerable.
"Sex work is a field that employs every kind of person, but more specifically trans people, women, non-binary folks, and queer men," Rex says. "There are no laws or regulations that stand in support of sex workers that keep them safe or protect their basic human rights. With SESTA and FOSTA in effect, sex workers are again faced with a public initiative to demean them. It's important as we fight these classist, phobic, and discriminatory laws to ensure that every person has the right to good resources and supportive representation."
So go on and get buying over at the BOUND Bandcamp page. Then get to dancing. BOUND will also formally be celebrating their second anniversary on January 18 at Elsewhere in Brooklyn. The aforementioned DJ Hell will be joined by a cast of fellow purveyors of darkness, including Rex obviously, NE/RE/A and Blush Response (who appear on this comp), as well as Casey Spooner, Night Doll, and more. Tickets are available for that show now.
Auricular Discipline I tracklist:
1. John Barera - The Red Box
2. Juana - Discipline Issues
3. Russell E.L. Butler - Shoutout Hitachi
4. Ghorba - Hard Femme
5. Auspex - Godbrand
6. Ne/Re/A - We Conform
7. False Witness - Zechariah
8. Blush Response - HYMENOPTERA
9. Kilbourne - How To Get Into The Twin Palms
10. Liminal Audio - Les Cris de Maldoror