Alan Watts (b. 1915) was a Bay Area philosopher who popularized Zen Buddhism in America. After publishing The Way of Zen in 1957, he appeared in several Kerouac novels. Flash forward fifty-four years to a smoky basement in Bushwick. Brooklynites M. Watts, J. Watts, and P. Watts are at the DIY venue Xpo 929, smoking weed and lighting incense, messing with an MPC drum machine and riffing out distorted guitar textures. They’re doing their best to drown out the teenage emo-core show upstairs. They fittingly call themselves “Alan Watts.”
The trio’s debut Thank You, Spectral Void EP is an organic and loosely poppy take on pulsating, industrial darkwave. Their sprawling, gloomy "Spectral Void" loads warped, subtly screeching guitars over a Suicide drive of steady bass and schizophrenic beats, worthy of repeat plays. “It reminds me of the Factory Records shift to club music and ecstasy,” bassist P. Watts tells me. “The sweet spot right between ‘Closer’ and Happy Mondays.” Meanwhile, guitarist M. Watts says, “we channel alien airwaves through a microwave oven attached to a bus.” Alan — who said, “in music, one doesn’t make the end of the composition the point of the composition” — would approve.
Grab “Spectral Void” below, plus check the entire EP at Soundcloud. Thank You, Spectral Void drops as a limited pressing tape on House of Aragon in the near future. Alan Watts plays 6/28 with Hubble at The Silent Barn (Queens, NY).