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Hello. my name is Kris, I am Astrals’ graphic designer, web designer and occasionally help out on product design such as the LE5 and LE7 lifevest. I also have a life outside this, which involves DJ’ing, photographing nature and Hippie Watching, which is an internationally appreciated form of people watching used to pass time at festivals. It can be done without the Guides I’ve written, but… why reinvent the wheel?, plus the sales of it help perpetuate the cycle of me going to festivals to charge hippies to make fun of them. This gastank ain’t gonna fill itself, SON! The below photos illustrate some of the uses people have found for the guides at festivals

The Guides in action

The Guides in action

Ephraim Hippie Watching

Ephraim Hippie Watching

ZsaZsa training the next generation of Hippie Watchers.

ZsaZsa training the next generation of Hippie Watchers.

I was asked by Bryan if I would be interested in trading a pair of the soon to be released Bakers for a humorous Jaded Review style review of them. Of course, I said yes, because who doesn’t want to trade gear for something they were going to do anyways? Now… to figure out how to somehow make the fact that I went to a party relevant to a shoe review.

I ran into my first dilemma – I have to assume most readers of this blog are not familiar with the west coast festival culture and the jenga-like towering mountain of nonsense these hippies have built their summer yurts on. I imagine it’s imilar to when you try to explain the river rat lifestyle to normals they look at you as if you politely asked them whether they would mind if you ate their dog. So, before I get into the shoe review, I feel it’s only fair to explain the environment they will be used in first.

For this unavoidably biased review I chose Photosynthesis Festival, which is one of the smaller festivals comparatively. It happens on the Northwest tip of Washingtons Olympic Penninsula on Makah Bay in the Nation of Makah. This is a Native America dry reservation with population of a few thousand.The Festival itself is a three day affair primarily centered around scaring local wildlife, small children and dogs by attempting to play techno loud enough to be heard from the moon using immense soundsystems.

This would be the third year in this location and leads to some very interesting encounters between the local Makah and hippies. It draws about 800 hippies and about 800 locals. The are itself is absolutely stunning – that is… when it’s not covered in clouds and misting. As an added bonus there is tons of smoked salmon and dungeness crabs around. To save needless typing – Everything south of this sentence is photo credit: me

Cape Flattery 5 Miles to the North of where the event was held. This is the northwest-most point in the US and where you can wrestle and tame your own winged rainbow covered spirit reptiles like in Avatar.

Cape Flattery 5 Miles to the North of where the event was held. This is the northwest-most point in the US and where you can wrestle and tame your own winged rainbow covered spirit reptiles like in Avatar.

Godrays.

Godrays.

The Gear:

I like gear. I like being appropriately ready for some crazy adventures while at festivals. Just past where the event is held there is five miles of jaw dropping tidal flats which connect up with Cape Flattery. We call this place CrabTown, which is an in-joke but knowing this will help explain a few things a bit below. These flats are covered in slippery kelp, crabs and all forms of beach detritus washed up from Japan and beyond. Even though Bryan only asked a Baker review, I brought my entire run of Astral shoes to give them all a try.

Essential Hippie Watching Gear: Left to right: Waterproof Ortlieb Vario panniers/backback, Go Ruck 1000d Cordura bag with Think Tank Camera system with 5dmkIII, 70-200 2.8II, 17-35 f2.8II and 50mm 1.4,  Watershed dry bag, and Packcubes.

Essential Hippie Watching Gear: Left to right: Waterproof Ortlieb Vario panniers/backback, Go Ruck 1000d Cordura bag with Think Tank Camera system with 5dmkIII, 70-200 2.8II, 17-35 f2.8II and 50mm 1.4, Watershed dry bag, and Packcubes.

The line of shoes Im testing this weekend. Front to back Black and Tan Porter, Green and Lime Brewer and Tuquoise Baker.

The line of shoes I tested this weekend. Front to back Black and Tan Porter, Green and Lime Brewer and Turquoise Baker.

Why am I here in the first place?

As mentioned before, I am a DJ which is another ludicrous profession where I press buttons which play other peoples music and dance around like I’m doing something of consequence. This time around I got a beach ‘showcase’ which means two friends and I all play in a three hour block. Since the three of us all have big hair we called it the Big Hair Showdown At Crabtown. This is the first place I tested the Bakers out. I can report that they are perfectly fine to DJ in, No trainwrecks or embarassing faceplants while dancing around. – see pictures below.

The Bakers 400d Cordura gives me peace of mind when walking through fields of crabs that throw their ‘come at me bro’ stance. We’ve later decided that this is not an aggressive stance; they are in fact throwing their claws  up in revelatory worship of you as an omnipotent deity.

The Bakers 400d Cordura gives me peace of mind when walking through fields of crabs that throw their claws up in their ‘Come at me, Bro’ stance. We’ve later decided that this is not an aggressive stance; they are in fact throwing their claws up in revelatory worship of you as an omnipotent deity. Either way, your feet are safe.

Flyer for The Bighair Showdown at Crabtown

The Tables have turned: the flyer for The Bighair Showdown at Crabtown

Essential Gear – Crabtown Anti-Social Club Flask for drinking whiskey on the sly in a dry reservation. shhhhh. Also Great for Childrens Birthday Parties, Funerals and parole hearings.

Essential Gear from 2011 – Crabtown Anti-Social Club Flask for drinking whiskey on the sly in a dry reservation. shhhhh. Also Great for Childrens Birthday Parties, Funerals and parole hearings.

The Baker – Performance Review

Now that I’ve regaled you with three pages of uncut nonsense… Let’s actually talk about this shoe. The Baker is a slip-on shoe with upcycled and regrooved tire tread sole, 400D Cordura upper and soft cushy midsole. It has the flushport in the back and mid-sole drain ports you are familiar with from the first two releases of Astrals’ shoe line. Since a majority of my time at a festival is spent either in a circle talking or walking somewhere else to stand in a circle to talk, comfort is important and the Bakers bring it. Of the three semi-technical shoes I brought it was the best fit for the wide range of activities I found myself participating in and also let the least sand and dirt in.These activities are explained and illustrated below

Other shoes make bold claims – but for my money the Baker is the only shoe I would trust for mission critical performance while operating a bike powered smoothie blender. p.s. Double Mountain: Hire me to write about your beer! I’m fucking killing it here.

Other shoes make bold claims – but for my money the Baker is the only shoe I would trust for mission critical performance while operating a bike powered organic smoothie blender. p.s. Double Mountain: Hire me to write about your beer! I’m fucking killing it here.

The Bakers excel at color coordinating with costumed Festival dogs. Ideal for accessorizing with a festival hottie – that is, ahrmm, if you aren’t happily married.

The Bakers excel at color coordinating with costumed Festival dogs. Ideal for accessorizing with a festival hottie – that is, ahrmm, if you aren’t happily married.

I ran across a sign advertising a workshop about “Monetizing Quantan Mechanics” which, frankly, I knew would be absolute gold; giving me a wealth of material to work off of for years. Apparently, if you buy these little holograms to put in your vehicles gastank it will not only clean the output of your car but it will also clean the input of the air going into your vehicle. These claims are backed up by revolutionary breakthroughs in the cutting edge field of ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. In fact, I believe I have a better understanding of Quantum theory than this guy for for two reasons: 1) I can spell it right 2) I know that most of the explanations of Quantum theory are simply oft-abused metaphors trying to explain the mathematics to people who don’t have a mathematical background about the illogical behaviors of sub-atomic particles. Not you know… Gastanks. </minirant>

The first step in monetizing anything – Try spelling it right. This was one of at least 6 workshops – the only thing worse at this festival was the dude who was trying to play saxaphone over everyones set.

The first step in monetizing anything – Try spelling it right. This was one of at least 6 workshops – the only thing worse at this festival was the tophat dude who was trying to play saxaphone over everyones set.

End of Festival Blow out sale on Holograms for your gas tank.

End of Festival Blow out sale on Holograms for your gas tank.

Turntable Bike soundsytem next to Holograms for your Gastank ‘workshop’ – The Joys of Hippie Watching – This shit writes itself.

Turntable Bike soundsytem next to Holograms for your Gastank ‘workshop’ – The Joys of Hippie Watching – This shit writes itself.

The Bakers performed well in all aspects of this. They work great running towards Quantum Snake Oil Salesmen so you don’t miss anything… Great for standing there, and great for running away after your brain absorbed a near-fatal dose of BS. Additionally, they would be excellent for pedaling that turntable bike soundsystem around.

It’s not all bad!

Lest you think that the festivals are filled with weird scams and dudes running around with a tophats and saxaphones let’s take a peak at a few of the better moments.

 

Main Stage in the evening with dancers and glow toy spinners.

Main Stage in the evening with dancers and glow toy spinners.

I took a bunch of these pictures because I figure kayakers and nature lovers would absolutely love the radiolarian/protozoan/diatom feeling of this glass piece.

I took a bunch of these pictures because I figure kayakers and nature lovers would absolutely love the radiolarian/protozoan/diatom feeling of this glass piece.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery. More next-level glass art featuring bubbles and kelp.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery. More next-level glass art featuring bubbles and kelp.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery - A collaboration between Alex Ubatuba and his partners whos name I stupidly didn't write down.

Inside the Tribe 13 Art Gallery – A collaboration between Alex Ubatuba and his partners whos name I stupidly didn’t write down.

Resin cast Romanesco brocolli flower

Resin cast Romanesco brocolli flower

Onward! To CRABTOWN!

Wel,l we didn’t goto the official crabtown – we went to another Tidal flat just north of Neah Bay (nicknamed New Crab Town) to look for fossilized crabs. I originally intended to test out and write about the Brewers here but my friend showed up with flipflops which is no way to explore tidal flats (doubly so since the last time we went it tore up his flipflops) So I gave him my Brewers and I went mucking about in the Bakers. All in all, the Baker performed fine but for the sort of crazy climbing and exploring I do I would much have preferred to have the Stealth rubber sole for traction and the shoelaces to keep it tight, which would have been really useful in the incredibly slick kelp fields. The tire tread did a surprisingly good job but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for everyone.

The wife, Alisha, flexing her crabtown steez while showing us this starfish breaking open a mussel. Astral Brewers in the back and hand wrought chain-mail bracelet I bartered for last summer.

The wife, Alisha, flexing her crabtown steez while showing us this starfish breaking open a mussel. Astral Brewers in the back and hand wrought chain-mail bracelet I bartered for last summer.

Crab!

I, for one, welcome our new crab overlords.

Wind Carved Sandstone.

Wind Carved Sandstone.

More awesome sandstone

More awesome sandstone

Seagrass, Mussels Bladderac and Seaweed.

Seagrass, Mussels Bladderac and Seaweed.

Tidal flats with seagrass and millions of little snails.

Tidal flats with seagrass and millions of little snails.

Lastly, The Spoils

After a good festival you end up with some good pile of junk to bring home to stack on your hippie altar. Here’s ours with some descriptions.

Festival Spoils - Including: Large Bismuth crystal & Melanite Andradite Crystal traded for some zines, 'Upgrade to Warlock Status' pin, 'Everyday is overtime for a Jedi Hustler' Money-clip, random Altar junk, Seal Vertabrae, Play money to make it rain whenever I deem necessary.

Festival Spoils – Including: Large Bismuth crystal & Melanite Andradite Crystal traded for some zines, ‘Upgrade to Warlock Status’ pin, ‘Everyday is overtime for a Jedi Hustler’ Money-clip, random Altar junk, Seal Vertabrae, Play money to make it rain whenever I deem necessary.

Thank you for reading this LOOOOOOOOOOONG article all the way to the end.


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as of 2013, Jack and I have been putting  Playground on for 6 years now. It’s a free outdoor dance party underneath the iconic and breathtakingly beautiful St. Johns Bridge in Portland. The very first one was a collective effort with Evan Bluetech, Rain PhuturePrimitive, Manoj, myself, Jack and Victor chipping in 50-100 bucks to throw a free park party. Since then it’s continued growing and gaining noteriety as a staple in the Portland electronic scene. It draws people from a wide variety of electronic sub-scenes and gets them to hang out in the sun all day. This fact is especially pronounced when you end up with my super jaded IDM nerd friends being actually hearing house music, Not to say they don’t complain or like it one bit, but one hopes with repeated exposure they will strengthen their resistance and not have such a strong reaction when they hear it.

Anyways, I’m really pleased with this recording/set. I’ve finally nailed down the tricky 110-117 bpm wonky balearic / cosmic disco vibe which I didn’t have any recordings of… until now. Of additional note is that this mix really spans the length of time I’ve been listening to electronic music starting with a tune from ’92-’93 and covering all the years in-between.

Tracklisting:

  1. Leftfield – Release the Pressure
  2. Gaudi – Sufani
  3. Adham Shaikh – Ciew Mewele by Issa Bagayogo (Dusty Foot Remix)
  4. Homerun – Perfect Storm
  5. Simian Mobile Disco Unit – Flea in your ear
  6. Baby Mammoth – Baroque n Roll
  7. God Within – The phoenix (Steal from the rich remix by Robbie)
  8. Flexe – Green Walls / Blue Sheets
  9. Kilowatts – Hammerstrings
  10. Daft Punk – Georgio Moroder (phidelity edit)
  11. Flexe – Programmable love songs
  12. Spirit Catcher – Ren Des Vous!
  13. Mystica – Bliss
  14. Simian Mobile Disco Unit – Are you in the Picture?
  15. The Polish Ambassador – Skinny Jeans
  16. Adam Freeland – Big Wednesday

 

Richard La Chapelle - Gracing the decks err control surface

Richard La Chapelle – Gracing the decks err control surface

Friends.

Friends.

This is the St Johns Bridge that this event happens under every year.

This is the St Johns Bridge that this event happens under every year.

Mercedes!

Mercedes!

Cynthia dancing with a not too amused pup.

Cynthia dancing with a not too amused pup.

The Park Rangers came by. Hopefully we get good marks this year.

The Park Rangers came by. Hopefully we get good marks this year.

Playground fundraising pint glasses sand blasted by yours truly with Art by Sienna Dawn

Playground fundraising pint glasses sand blasted by yours truly with Art by Sienna Dawn


The Big Hair Showdown at Crab Town

crabtown

 

I suppose this one warrants some explaining – What is CrabTown? It’s a place Sam, Jeremey (e.v.a.c.) and I went to three years ago and were blown away by the unbelievable nonsensicle creatures and coral the ocean vomited up on the tidal flats north of Makah Bay at the Photosynthesis festival in 2011. We were well impressed with all this and nicknamed this place Crab Town after an inside joke that began when we ran into either a dose of crabs – or a cast of crabs (depending on which obscure collective known you prefer). One of the crabs in the dose we nicknamed Emerald Tony owing to his bright green emerald coloring. and from there we started referring to the place as CrabTown.

This inside joke runs deep. Deeper than I have time to explain really (and frankly its too soon as the statute of limitations havent run out on some of the elements yet) but for now check out the photo of the flask that was created for those in the know.

20130710-224425.jpg

The Vitals
http://photosynthesisfestival.com/

our showcase listing
http://photosynthesisfestival.com/2012/news/new-this-year-beach-stage-crew-showcases/

our event facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/events/167659860068001/?fref=ts#

Photos facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/events/381904055238780/?fref=ts

Crab

 


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This is the uptempo set from Esthetic Evolution. I was honored to be part of a block with personal favorites of mine; Hedflux and Kilowatts.

Tracklisting:

  1. Intro – jnr Hacksaw – the truth is?
  2. Locussolus – Berghain (Darkroom mix) (phidelity edit)
  3. Tale of Us – Another Earth (phidelity edit)
  4. Byetone – Topas (phidelity edit)
  5. Ouisa – Absence of Essence
  6. Boris Brejcha – Der Krieg Der Maschinen (phidelity edit)
  7. Victor Ruiz – Generation (phidelity edit)
  8. Maetrik – Acid Uprock (phidelity edit)
  9. Mark Henning – You are digging into me
  10. Kolombo – Stanton (phidelity edit)
  11. Mylo – Drop the pressure (phidelity edit)
  12. j:Kenzo – Let it Move You
  13. French Fries – Space Alarm (phidelity edit)
  14. Afrika Bambaata – Planet Rock (tipper remix)
  15. j:Kenzo – Flying Saucer
  16. Nubreed – ionosphere (phidelity edit)
  17. J:kenzo – reconstruction (phidelity edit)
  18. One thing (phidelity edit)
  19. notions – digits (phidelity edit)
  20.  My Nu Leng -  damp (phidelity edit)
  21. freq nasty & blim desert music
  22. bitstream dragon 32 (phidelity edit)
  23. Si Begg – Future (phidelity edit)
  24. fletric – Leveler
  25. Bad Tango – Analogue hedgehog (phidelity edit)
  26. Jnr Hacksaw – the truth is (phidelity edit)
  27. Al Tourrettes – Badger
  28. Hypno – k2 (phidelity edit)
  29. Shackleton – New Dawn
  30. Mike Ink – Paroles (phidelity edit)
  31. Bassbin Twins – Exs

 

A nice scene just down the road from the party.

A nice scene just down the road from the party.

This is 9 I chose to put on the front of the flyer. I remember choosing something classy and I started with my favorite stand-in classy font - Eames Century Modern. It was a nice shock seeing it 20 feet tall made into a mini-golf course!

This is 9 I chose to put on the front of the flyer. I remember choosing something classy and I started with my favorite stand-in classy font – Eames Century Modern. It was a nice shock seeing it 20 feet tall made into a mini-golf course!

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There was a beige party set up in a recreation of an office. Oh chickenhed you so cray.

There was a beige party set up in a recreation of an office. Oh chickenhed you so cray.

Be sure to check out the downtempo set I also did this year.

 


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This was the 9th Esthetric Evolution which takes place deep in a beautiful Idaho valley 1.5 hours north of Boise. It is a really interesting blend of oldschool seasoned ravers and no holds barred youthful neo-raver types replete in faux fur and candy regalia. Jesiah of Chickenhed asked me to play on the ‘chill’ stage – in checking the main board to see who was playing when I noticed that, in the genre column, every single artist was listed as “psychedelic”, which gave me a chuckle as I’m not a big fan of the genre pigeonhole.

This set started off with a style I described to a friend as being the audio equivelant of “a monkey on the edge of your clawfoot bathtub performing a violin serenade for your bubblebath”. This style leads into weird and not quite relaxing psychedelic IDM glitch. There was a point where my wife, Alisha, thought I took it too far and said with that small amount of concern in her voice that wives are known for “This is a chill room – isn’t this a bit too crazy?” I responded that “It’s not a chill room – it’s the psychedelic stage and this is perfect… just listen to it… it sounds like your mind being flushed down a toilet!” I did eventually chill out a bit and played music that focused more on the beauty and less on the challenge.

I also did an uptempo set on Saturday evening at this festival.

Tracklisting:

  1. Unknown – Unknown (I’m working on it…)
  2. Robert Rich – Premonitions of circular clouds
  3. Atom ™ –  Weißes Rauschen (Zweiter Teil)
  4. Robag Whrume – Brücke Vier
  5. Bichi – Clouds Are Parceled Out Across My Vision
  6. Koan Sound – Green and Blue
  7. Boards of Canada – Dayvan Cowboy
  8. Tipper – Algae Bloom in Seven
  9. Kiln – Korsaire
  10. Autechre – Corc
  11. EU – Boloto
  12. Bogger – Error
  13. Bichi – I am the god of small changes scamming my way through the future
  14. Al Tourettes – Memory jogging
  15. Bitstream – Streamlining
  16. Bola – Veronex Cypher
  17. Skipsapiens – Doctor Silla
  18. Ochre – Low Gravity Freefall
  19. Mr Projectile – I am Here
  20. Bluetech – Escape

And below are some photos from the event, enjoy!

 

Wide Angle of the Chill Dome the night this was recorded.

Wide Angle of the Chill Dome the night this was recorded.

This is 9 I chose to put on the front of the flyer. I remember choosing something classy and I started with my favorite stand-in classy font - Eames Century Modern. It was a nice shock seeing it 20 feet tall made into a mini-golf course!

This is 9 I chose to put on the front of the flyer. I remember wanting to choose something classy and I started with my favorite stand-in classy font – Eames Century Modern. It was a nice shock seeing it 20 feet tall made into a mini-golf course!

There was a beige party set up in a recreation of an office. Oh chickenhed you so cray.

There was a beige party set up in a recreation of an office. Oh chickenhed you so cray.

A nice scene just down the road from the party.

A nice scene just down the road from the party.

 

 


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I’m stoked about the new product we launched over at Astral. It’s the latest in the series of Limited Edition jackets we make for the kayaking community (or the LE’s as they are called). This one is based on our newly redesigned for 2013 Greenjacket which is hands down the best rescue / Class V / whitewater jacket on the market and now with even more style.

This jacket represents our first, of hopefully many, collaborations with our world class team members. For this jacket we worked with Pat Keller, a known badass in the world of extreme kayaking and helped realized his vision for a custom jacket. The LE7 is a tribute to art and craft of Class V+ exploratory kayaking, where map interpretation and solid navigation skills are the foundations of a successful mission.I hand traced and redrew the topo several times which represents a special kayaking spot (it’s a secret, can’t tell) – the back represents a more head on view of a nice mountain scene with radiating sun lines. The red tailed hawk is a special bird to Pat (who’s nickname was Hawkeye growing up)  and he has some incredibly intense stories to tell about it that are unfortunately too personal to repeat without his consent.

They are going fast – 3/4 sold out on the first day of release so if you are reading this anytime past June 30th, it’s probably already sold out. Check out the photos below.

Front of the vest featuring topo line art handdrawn by yours truly.

Front of the vest featuring topo line art handdrawn by yours truly.

Side View Showing the rescue release

Side View Showing the rescue release and side pocket

Back showing line art by yours

Back showing line art and hawk by yours truly

Showing the awesome dropdown pocket

Showing the awesome dropdown pocket

Screenprinting the art on the back

Screenprinting the art on the back

 

red-tailed Hawk

red-tailed Hawk

This was the original idea (slated to be on a different model)

This was the original idea (slated to be on a different model)


I just received the second release of Astrals’ venture into the footwear realm, the Porter. This shoe is primarily for sailing and surfing. I’ve been wearing the Brewers for close to a year now and quite enjoy them for any time I’m going to be climbing around slippery rocks with my heavy bag of photography gear. As a point of personal pride the Brewers were recently awarded Gear of the Year by National Geographic. Check the site for more information (the site is also something I’ve put quite a lot of work into as of late)

I was involved in the packaging design and overall treatment. We designed a panoramic 360 degree tibetean art inspired nature scene which was to wrap around the inside of the box. See photos below

I’m about to finish painting the mountain scene on a window painting which I will also link here when its done.

Light-weight Cordura shoes built to withstand the rigors of surfing and getting chundered without loosing your shoes

Light-weight Cordura shoes built to withstand the rigors of surfing and getting chundered without losing your shoes

The open box with repeating geometric tissue paper

The open box with repeating geometric tissue paper

Its like christmas!

Its like christmas!

Inside sketch

Inside sketch

Sketch of mountain scene

Sketch of mountain scene


Next Level Music Video

The Vein – Magma – Shot by DVein

The Vein / Magma from Dvein on Vimeo.


Heres another Creators Project video: An interview with Casey Reas, the co-creator of the Processing Programming language along side Ben Fry. This video is a quick interview and shows some of his work.


This video simultaneously inspires me beyond anything else I’ve seen and makes me want to give up. This video is a peek into Benjamin Aranda and Chris Laschs’ studio, ideology and process regarding their generative approach to design using geometry, fractal structures and crystalline structures as a base for real world objects.