Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Saturday Review

Written by Blake Edwards of Vertonen

BLOODYMINDED / BxC / Prurient / Carlos Giffoni

A solid turnout for this evening, and a great introduction to Flowesrhop for me. Bloodyminded, the sole local act, launched the evening headlong into a chasm of feedback and groan with what their first show since winter. Definitely one of the better sets I’ve heard, both in terms of balance between the synths and the vocals but also in the diversity of material; the last time I saw them (at the Bottle) I recall a lot more material from magnetism and some oddly clean synth sounds. Not to say it was a “return to form,” but I prefer the atmosphere I get from the “true crime” era material (and admittedly have a soft spot for “Chinatown.) There was only one point when mark’s microphone feedback completely overwhelmed the synths—i mean, literally clipped them right out of the mix—but that was a mere glitch (and, given the water pipe right at the front of the performance area, there could’ve been much worse). Oh yes: Ed’s vocals on “bound to die” were the clearest I’ve head from him; no dead mic from the bouquet of cables, just front and center Ed.
Prurient took the stage next and started with a gristly undulating synth sound that was striving to saw the room in half; his vocals eventually got in the water as well, mildly echoed / delayed screams that were pretty clear/understandable. This “piece” transformed into a smattering of variable distortions tweaked and flipped around (with some really nice quick segues between distortion), some abrasive feedback crescendos punching through, and then some wonderful rhythmic gristle-laced machine gun bursts in the last ten minutes that was probably some of the best Prurient I’ve heard. Face it kids: Dom’s a sweetheart and he delivers the audio sutures beautifully. I’m not saying he’s the noise world’s role model, but the lad’s got some serious pluses in his corner of the ring.
BXC was up next and started with a loose looped violin sample washed with some more frantic skittering over the strings, plucking at the bridge, tapping at the violin body, adjusting feedback. What I’m calling the “first piece” was layered with subtle manipulations that made a piece that could’ve seemed to go on for too long a nice float down the river. Eventually Spencer hit the distortion and turned the atmosphere about 180 degrees; it was like collapsing scaffolding recorded in double speed and up close, layers of grit and dirt clogging the sandpaper spinning at 50,000 RPM; delectable merzbowian strangling. For the “third” piece Spencer pulled out the two-bow action and watching him do this is always a joy, the violin pinned under his chin and him attacking the violin as if sharpening a razor blade at a shave shop. The sound was like cats mating in a dutch oven (howls bouncing off the walls) balanced with some fine distorted elements.
There was another short piece Spencer played maybe 5 minutes later (a guerilla addition?); from where I was sitting, I thought the short bursts might have been Carlos sound checking (until a friend said nope, Carlos is right there, and pointed at the merch table).
Carlos did play soon thereafter (after some guns ‘n’ roses) and holy castration: where prurient had set the tone for sawing the room in half, carlos completed it. i’m pretty sure his was the loudest set of the night and the gristly oscillation grinds and sweeps through the space were overwhelming and absolutely incredible. It was loud, it was dynamic, it was well-paced; it was probably the best set I’ve heard him do. Literally, he was pushing sound through the space and the people in the space; static chaos was going in one ear, grabbing parts of your cerebrum, and then coming out the other side and slapping you in the face upon the exit—and all just in time for something else to start working through your chest. Completely gratifying. At one point he had this horrifically high end oscillator siren sweep that was relentlessly spiraling higher and higher and faster and faster and I was about 5 seconds from putting my earplugs in but he began bringing in a field of distortion that slowly subsumed the high end.
Props also to all organizing components for keeping this show running smooth, smooth smooth (I think we were finished by midnight).