It was the early evening in Northeast L.A. on Saturday, when a mass of indie-clad, artsy music lovers was seen coming into and out of the two-story Space Ark Gallery – a building that at one point was meeting grounds for the revolutionary EZLN.That night’s function, though, and its happenings were anything but clandestine.

Saturday’s event was hosted by {amar}, an independent record label based on a grass roots approach to the music scene – for the time being spanning mainly across the L.A. music scene.

The all-day festival did its job in terms of entertainment, even to those who showed up in the evening, only to witness the amalgam of music, painting, photography, film, and spoken word.

The music was a mess of noise a la jam-bands, with each band fastening the tour of electronic noise-barrage; some more controlled than others, most of interest and some that just didn’t follow through.

PCC student Alex Olmair, 20, bass player, with his band Naima Earth left their musical imprint that night with their practiced instrumentation and lead vocalist and percussionist Josue Castro’s display of frenzied dance moves and theatrics.

A stellar drum solo by drummer Richard Connine, during an improvised premier of a song, was a highlight of the night.
During the intervals between bands films were projected on the wall ranging from surreal, interpretive pieces, to a documentary spreading community awareness.

The band Seasons presented the most accessible kind of music for the night, equipped with extended choruses that often broke into instrumental breakdowns.

“[{amar}] introduces you into this whole community where everybody helps each other,” said Olmair. “They open up the door for you. They also bring you closer to the visual side of what is art,” he added.

Olmair was referring to the fact that most {amar} shows take place at art galleries and lofts, allowing artists across all media to become part of what has come to be known as the {amar} collective.

“We try to have as many events as we can handle,” said Chris Wallace, 45, who resides with four roommates at the Space Ark Gallery.

“As long as we’re able to keep this place open, we [will continue to allow] the community to express itself the way it needs to,” said Brian Kadoya, also a resident of the gallery.

To become a part of {amar} collective, “It’s as simple as sending an email,” said Olmair. “MySpace is a really good tool for this type of thing, I think,” he added.

{amar} music will be reaching Irvine, Agoura Hills, Long Beach, and Santa Cruz in coming months.

An extended list of future shows by {amar} artists can be found at

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