counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

May 5th, 2008: Otomo Yoshihide & some guys / Martin Tétreault & eRikm

@instants chavirés

Another gig related to the Musique Action festival, unfortunately I couldn’t attend the second one because of a scheduling conflicts. I seem to always get one when Sachiko M plays anyway.

I was that fond of the opening set. It started pretty well, with eRikm going a series of smooth and compelling noise bits on turntables while Martin Tétreault was holding his own in a harsher way. I’m fine with the latter’s approach of using the turntable itself as a source of sound, and his harsh fireworks had very nice moments, but I didn’t feel they were bringing much to each other. I already had this feeling with previous collaborative efforts featuring eRikm, I feel he’s best when paired with an acoustic musician with a very different sound; whereas when they’re as close as this time, he tends to blend in too much for my taste.

Anyway, the second set delivered the goods, with an unusual setup that really brought something to performance. A lot of people making noise, many of them familiar faces — the unequally magnificent seven?. Alexandre Bellenger (guitar) and Strom Varx (laptop) were the only ones on the stage proper. Otomo Yoshihide had his turtable and mixing board just in front of it, on a side, faced by Jean-Philippe Gross on a landing upstairs (electronics probably, I couldn’t see). FRed Nipi and his analog synth were on a side pretty much in the middle (next to the bar, figures), Philémon had his table of effects and boards in the back, with Arnaud Rivière further back and up on a platform with both his battered turntable and drumkit. So they had us surrounded.

Moving around was often the best way to hear what some were doing and to get a kind of band-scanning effect, but for the most part I just hovered around the middle and let it all mix. It was not that loud, but nonetheless a physical experience. Once I got used to the wall of noise, I could make out a lot of small details, both the difference among performers, changes in what each was doing and a kind of overall direction — not always, but it happened. The drums were rarely used and that was just as well because they were too distinct — a good jarring effect when used sparingly. There were some great moments — most of them musical — which is already a nice feat with so many improvisers generating a whole lot of noise. I do thing the setup added to the performance, having them all lined up on stage would probably not have worked that well. I don’t really care about why, but I had a good time and got to experience something new, or at least something familiar in an eye-opening way.

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May 6, 2008 - Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , ,

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