Lightning began in 2012 in the Sonoran Desert outside of Tucson, AZ when artist/musicians Seth Olinsky and Ali Beletic removed themselves from the conservative, middle of the road hipster culture of the late 00’s to begin again artistically in the sun and raw ancient Americanism of the desert. There, amongst the beat desert poet scene and active architecture community, they dove deeply into their study of ancient blues forms, primitive wilderness skills, and epic guitar solos, whilst Ali explored her installation work lightning ice and lakes on fire, and hiding drummers all around the desert. They came out on the other side with several LPs worth of 21st century soulful rock n roll music and the aching desire and commitment to find a bunch of people that want to have fun.
This of course required research into the 20th century history of fun-havery, which meant they needed a catalog of interviews and extended storytelling from the established icons of artistic fun, hence the Lightning Magazine. Simultaneously they organized a community of bold rebellious souls that still turn their guitars up louder than is necessary, hence Lightning Records.
Lightning is founded as a culture of participation, an inside out approach to releasing music and art into the world.
Lightning released its first records in 2013, Cy Dune’s blazing ep No Recognize, and the debut LP by legendary Japanese guitarist Shinji Masuko, Boredoms guitarist/drone maker and DMBQ founder’s new project Moan. These albums were praised by critics from Pitchfork, AD HOC, Noisey, and more, and set the stage for the 2014 20 Artist Series and accompanying first 4 Lightning Magazines.
Lightning’s first quarter features new releases from Brooklyn’s infamous primordial rock legends People of the North (Oneida), mythic songwriter Wooden Wand, desert outlaw Ohioan, primitive futurist guitar poet William Tyler, and proto rebel rocker Cy Dune. The first issue of Lightning Magazine features contributions from post minimalist composer Rhys Chatham, Guggenheim Fellow and experimental filmmaker Bill Daniel, infamous street art visionary Aaron Rose, earth artist Katsuhisa Sakai, beatnik freerider Surfer Chris, dirtbiker Derek Gibson, and other sub-cultural free thinkers.
Lightning’s events and happenings started with the initial experiments and happenings in the Sonoran desert, and have since taken place all over the American Southwest - in 2014 they hosted events on a 100 acre desert plot with High Desert Test Sites in California, one in Three Points, AZ, and one at the Joshua Tree Highlands Art Residency Ranch - and have been known to include earth art, archery, coffee roasting experiments, amplifier installations, paintball, dirt biking, large scale mineral sculptures, and just plain hanging out. Future happenings are in the plans now for Mexico City, Alaska, LA, Italy, Bali, and Japan.