The Washington Post

Psychedelic go-go from... Portland?

Some days, the Internet can feel like and endless trove of musical riches — like on Friday, when a friend linked me to Pinks Quieter, an artist blending airy new age music with the thump and pop of D.C. go-go.

Who was behind this funky, daydreamy, unexpectedly righteous stuff?

Turns out, Pinks Quieter is the alias of Charlie Salas-Humara, 38, of Portland, Ore., a musician who, after years of touring in prog-rock bands The Planet The and Panther, currently releases most of his material under another alias, Grapefruit.

After buying the self-titled Pinks Quieter album on Bandcamp — the artist-friendly online music store — I tracked down Salas-Humara to ask how a guy living in the Pacific-Northwest came up with the most psychedelic go-go album we’ve ever heard.

When did you first discover go-go music?  

I grew up in Chicago, listening to a lot of hardcore and punk. Getting into all these bands, you’d see these flyers from back in the day, and D.C. bands like Trouble Funk would [play] some of these hardcore shows .... I thought, “Who the hell is Trouble Funk?” So after doing some research, I got into Trouble Funk, and Rare Essence, and Chuck Brown, and all these guys. So I’ve been obsessed with it for a while.

How did you find the records back then? This was pre-Internet.

I had a lot of friends’ older brothers who were really obsessed with record collecting. And Reckless Records [the long-standing Chicago record store] had some of those records back in the day.

How did the Pinks Quieter music come to be?

I kind of do kraut-y, new age-y kind of stuff and I was like, “I wonder if I could marry the two and do a psychedelic go-go thing without destroying the go-go vibe?” So for [the Pinks Quieter] record, I just sampled YouTube – street musicians and random live go-go stuff I found… And then I played my own percussion over it and added keyboard or guitar.

And that was earlier this year?

 The weird thing is that it was right during the time when Chuck Brown died.  I had made a couple of songs and then he died and I was like, “Aw man, I gotta finish this.” … I tried to find some people to put it out, but in Portland, no one knows what go-go music is. At all. I passed it around to a few of my friends and they were just like, “I don’t get it.” So I was like, “Eh, I’ll put it up on Bandcamp.” And little by little, it’s gotten a little attention from experimental [music] blogs. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve ever done. I love go-go.

Chris Richards has been the Post's pop music critic since 2009. He's recently written about the bliss of summer songs, the woe of festival fatigue and a guide on how to KonMari your record collection.


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