Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Fortieth Day - Debut

Thanks to everyone who came out to support the show last night! It was great to see the room filled up like that on a Tuesday night. Thanks to our friends, for being there at our first show in front of an audience; thanks to Paul and Elastic, for hosting us; thanks to Blake and Brian, for including us in this edition of Triage. Thanks to the other bands, for the great sets and for having us involved. Special thanks to Lisa, for the hard work that went into preparing the video that meshed so well with what Isidro and I are trying to do with this band. It was a really fun night, and the mix of sounds, styles, and volumes progressed really well from the ultra-subtle sounds that On + Sylvain Chauveau opened with - through the well-balanced modular synth operations from Abduction - onto our sound and vision overload.

Here is what Blake Edwards posted on the iheartnoise board today:


revue: The Fortieth Day et al @ Elastic 2.20

A pleasantly solid turnout for this show--around 45 people turned out and packed Elastic.
On and Sylvain Chauveau started off the evening with small tides of ground hum-esque sounds intermittently nudged by peaks of guitar notes wavering and echoing and some small forays into high frequency tones. This evolved for about 15 minutes and didn’t really grab me: it was more like something I’d prefer to listen to at home were I in an Eliane Radigue mood. The second half of the set, although still on the quiet side, opened up some more sounds and was definitely more engaging, adding the xylophone, the guitars (either the body being tapped or echo-y drawn out drone washes, plus some scraping percussion, bowed metals (xylophone again) and a metal bowl resonating on top of the snare drum. Had they just given me the second half it would’ve been a really solid set, but the wind up just took a little long for my tastes,
Abduction was up next. Neil and Michael were armed with two modular synths and a bouquet of patch cables and brought a near flawless 1970s sci fi soundtrack into elastic. There were dramatic hissy phases, blurbly water sounds, saw waves plodding through some sort of echo and (minor) flange combo, and a nice variety of drones—high tone, mid tone, low tone, and fuzz—sometimes weaving among one another and sometimes running parallel. It was like Forbidden Planet met Dick Hyman a lot of the time, and that’s a solid combo for these ears. There were a few ending points I would’ve been happy with them taking (Neil told me later he thought they went a little long), and I think they could’ve stood to be a bit louder; I would definitely like to see them at a venue like the Bottle to really turn the volume on.
Fortieth Day may be the best thing I’ve seen Mark involved in. Before charges of hyperbole are flung, I will qualify that the first two cassettes I got from Mark didn’t smash me over the head—they were nice, but I didn’t get a lot of structure / direction out of them; maybe the recording quality, maybe my playback volume, I’m not sure. However, the live experience was superlative: the textures between the guitars and synth were really well mixed; there was a serious palette of sound—multiple shades of feedback, low end grumbles and chugs, distortions, machine hum, and, yes, even fleeting guitar notes—and Mark mixed and balanced them (I didn’t see Isidro with a mixer, so he may have been mixing as well with pedal adjustments) in a way that the whole beast was always lurching and stretching different directions.
Whereas the cassettes I have felt a little more shapeless, this set seemed to be the result of some definitely thought out execution; I came away with the sense that Mark and Isidro knew what feedback, gristly hail, and bass grind worked together, how to segue between them, and they used the material at their disposal to magnificent ends. Lisa’s video manipulation also worked really well; some more abstract “decaying” films, some negatives of lava flow and clouds, gritty footage or car headlights in a black frame in the dead of night. It created a great atmosphere that I wish could have been projected on a 50 foot screen in a pitch black theater with the band not visible at all.
I’m definitely looking forward to hearing them at the Bottle for the Z’EV show in April.