Kush Arora powers an electro Carnival at Elbo Room 

click to enlarge DJ Kush Arora, appearing at Dub Mission at the Elbo Room on Sunday, is promoting his new EP, “The Carioca Bass.” - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • DJ Kush Arora, appearing at Dub Mission at the Elbo Room on Sunday, is promoting his new EP, “The Carioca Bass.”

Didn’t make it to Brazil for Carnival this month? Cut loose Sunday at the Mission’s Elbo Room with leading dread-bass DJ Kush Arora spinning alongside electro-reggae spitter MC Zulu.

Just back from India and supporting his new Little Owl Recordings EP, “The Carioca Bass,” Arora is planning a night of global electronic dance music including Jamaican dancehall, tropical-influenced sounds and his own heavy-hitting brand of dread-bass.

Arora will run the rhythms and dub live, while Chicago-based Panamanian MC Zulu does his thing.

“His militant voice and flexibility with any type of riddim you throw his way makes him stand as an entity unto his own, and he has finally been recognized as one of the most influential men in the dread-bass sound,” Arora says of Zulu.

Arora, 31, who resides in the Market Street-Van Ness Avenue area,  is no slouch himself. Raised in the East Bay, he moved to The City in 2004 and worked on sound design for David Lynch and game versions of “Lord of the Rings” before becoming a leading architect of San Francisco’s bass-heavy, global EDM sound.

Kush spent a “bananas” 2012 playing shows with Mega Banton and working with Snoop Lion producer Stereotyp in Vienna and with Jahdan.

Last year, he also began the bi-monthly show “Surya Dub Radio,” which broadcasts from 10 p.m. to midnight Mondays on KPFA.  

Arora also spent a fair amount of time touring with Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Brazil native and baile-funk queen Zuzuka Poderosa, which led to the new EP.

“I was inspired by her vocals, and Brazilian baile-funk music,” he says, calling “The Carioca Bass” an explosive, knocking, maximalist two-track collaboration.

Arora’s not trying to copy baile-funk, he says. “I’m not from Rio or the favela, I’m a Bay guy. I just wanted to make a record that expanded the boundaries of the sound.”

Padding out the EP, official remixes come from Kush’s tropical-bass favorites such as Sonora, HxdB and Chrissy Murderbot.

In 2013, Arora will return to his roots with a new industrial, tribal and experimental electronic live show. Though he’ll circle the globe, San Francisco will remain home base.

“All the most cutting-edge music in the country keeps coming out of this place and I can’t leave it,” he says. “We might not get paid a lot, have the fanciest nightclubs, or anything like that, but as far as talent goes, we run things!”

Kush Arora, MC Zulu at Dub Mission

  • Where: Elbo Room, 647 Valencia St., S.F.
  • When: 9 p.m. Sunday
  • Tickets: $8 to $11
  • Contact: (415) 552-7788, www.elbo.com

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David Downs

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