Wherever You Go There You Are with Rusty Sunsets

In March, the BFF studio, like almost everything else, closed down. But the shows went on with DJ’s broadcasting from home.

Just this past week, with community support, BFF created a pop up studio at San Francisco’s Ferry Building, where guests can safely join DJ’s through a window and listeners can stop by and say hello. The visibility is really exciting and brings us out into the world which is...insert long deep sigh ...much needed.

Something so many BFF DJ’s miss is the ability to sit in our quirky studio in the Mission and talk about music with fellow DJ’s, musicians, and friends. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent in that magical little space, designed like a Jules Verne-esque cozy library on the inside of an explorer’s wrecked ship. Each week I discovered new details in a book spine or curio on the shelf, while feeling the joy of sharing ideas, music, and space with other humans I really like. This place felt like home to so many of us and, by extension, our listeners could join us there across the ether.

Sometimes, with guitar chords and auxiliary cables spinning spider webs in the space, we even had live performances on air - imagine a miniaturized NPR Tiny Desk show.

In July 2019, Ben Ward, host of No Magic Radio, had one such performance by Oakland musician Cara Esten, who releases music as Rusty Sunsets.

On her album Disambiguation Station, Cara breaks from her own traditions both musically and conceptually. Built around a self-imposed creative constraint, the album demonstrates that even when artists seek to move away from the familiar, we still discover our core personal themes calling out to us within the new terrain.

In No Magic fashion, the conversation flows with reverie through history lessons, self-discovery, climate change, apocalypse, love, and longing for a sense of home. Listening, I’m reminded of the adage “wherever you go, there you are.”

Music––whether listening or creating––is its own kind of travel, through time and space. It’s a conversation between the deeply personal and the worlds and histories we inhabit.

But first, we have to get all the wires sorted out.

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