TVD Recommends: Future Times Presents Sal P of Liquid Liquid at Tropicalia, tonight (2/7)

If taken literally, the proverbial rule applied to books doesn’t apply: you might regret it if don’t judge a vinyl album by its cover. Sal P would tell you likewise. Moreover, he wouldn’t expect you to assess his music contrary to what it has become: part of the fabric of golden-age hip-hop and dance music.

DJ. Vegan chef. Sal P’s musical tastes are as eclectic as his resume. And his love of music flows to a new generation of funk-heads. Today, February 7, Sal P will bring his inimitable style of minimalist bass-fusion to the District. He took some time out of his schedule to chat with me in advance of his set at Tropicalia tonight.

Salvatore Principato is the percussionist and bebopish voice behind Liquid Liquid, a New York City-born band categorized as “no-wave.” Active before just before the genesis of MTV, Liquid Liquid is best known for “Cavern,” a bass-string-driven groove with an accelerated dub rhythm. Released by 99 Records, Cavern’s bassline is known to mainstream audiences as Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel’s “White Lines (Don’t Do It).”

Sal downplays my assumption of Liquid Liquid’s notoriety. “I never considered Liquid Liquid to be a group appreciated by the masses. It’s more like insiders [DJs, producers, venue owners] and deep music heads who have shown the most love.” After Liquid Liquid disbanded, Sal started Fist of Facts, another influential band in the downtown New York music scene of the mid-eighties.

Sal P grew up during an era of seismic musical change. As a child living in Northern New Jersey, Sal notes Lou Monte’s “Pepino the Italian Mouse” as one the earliest tracks he remembers listening to on vinyl. He recalls being mesmerized by the revolutions as the album played. “I was four or five years old. [I] would play the record over and over and watch the seven inch 45rpm go round and round.”

By the time he got to San Francisco later on in life, his musical tastes had progressed to punk. He reminisces on the punk rock scene in Northern California as a movement that “just arrived there when [he] did.” A lot of his own musical inspiration came from “going out to punk shows three to four days a week.” When he wasn’t going to punk shows, he would hang out at the Tower Records (formerly in Russian Hill, San Francisco). “They had a section of new 7 inch records, usually with photo covers. For some reason, everything I found there seemed like pure magic. I would often buy a record because it looked good. Still do.”

He is child of the “vinyl era.” I asked him what his first vinyl purchase was: “I think it was Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding Live at Monterey Pop.” Since we were on the subject of purchasing vinyl, he discussed record hunting:

“[Buying vinyl] depends. My preferred method is friends and colleagues giving me DJ promos or just a record they think I should own. But I go to various used record shops around NYC, which I frequent looking for a deal. Maybe Other Music [in NoHo] and Turntable Lab [in the East Village] for new music.”

Vegan cooking is a passion of Sal’s as well. And the New York DJ asserts his cuisine is not just an exercise to set to a soundtrack; it’s a way of life. “One thing I should mention,” Sal lays out, “listening to music for me is an event. I don’t do it casually. I tend to stop what I’m doing so that I can listen. So usually when I listen to music, I just listen to music.” In addition to touring and making vegan delights, Sal also maintains a cooking podcast, which includes musical interludes.

Although you won’t be able to enjoy his cuisine, you can feast on some “choice cuts” from both Sal and DJs from the Future Times label, who present the event tonight at Tropicalia.

9pm | $5 | 21+

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