Gigs, dance, art

May 18th, 2009: ID M Theft Able – Audrey Chen / Erik Minkkinen / Suicide Motörhead / Simon Queheillard / Chrisanthemes Forever

@espace en cours

Chrisanthemes Forever actually did two short sets outside, with the second one halfway through the event. I couldn’t really see much of what they were using, but I guess that included zither, toy piano, harmonica and some recorded snippets. I was told there was a cool visual side to their act, but I’m just too vertically challenged for that part. I thought it was uneven, with some parts I couldn’t make much sense of but with a few very nice moments as well. It felt fresh and unpretentious, with tips the balance to these sets being strongly on the good side.

Simon Queheillard used an acoustic guitar in a very interesting way. Part of the appeal was in the small motor he used on the strings most of the time, yielding something between picking and ebow that was really good and new to me, and enhanced by the way he would enhance or cut short the resonating by the way he held his instrument. All this could easily have been an empty display of mastery, but he put those sound generating skills to good use by weaving some actual good music from these materials. I don’t think I had heard him before — though he could easily have been part of a project I did see — but he seems to be someone I might want to keep an eye out for.

Acts like Suicide Motörhead are always dicey for me because the performance art side of it just goes way over my head — not seeing much of that sure didn’t help. The tape playing looked promising, but even though it had its moment I felt it was running in circles a little bit, and dragged on more than was necessary. I just can’t know whether it made sense for the people up front who could see what was going on.

Erik Minkkinen used effects and a radio, and of course the latter had me very interested. I like his guitar playing a lot, but that was something a little different which proved just as interesting. It’s all about sound for me, and the source matters less than what he does with it. That was a pretty good set, with some parts more about pure sound transformation and warping, and some others almost rhythmic — though that might be a stretch. Inventive and both consistent with what I’ve heard of his music as well as with a slightly different feel from the change of material. Even though I have a pretty good general idea of what he will sound like, there are enough twists on that baseline to keep me interested in what he’s doing.

Audrey Chen and ID M Theft Able played last and I just loved their set. Both were very adept at using the full range of possibilities that voice can have, enhanced by complementary sounds from a little effects and more. For Audrey Chen that meant her cello, which she used both conventionally and less though, dragging some ballish thing along its back to generate a rich drone. For the other it was scratching and rubbing sounds and bowing a license plate. For me the voices were key and the most interesting component, but the rest was quite good as well. I liked Audrey Chen better, both for her wider range of voice sounds and for the unusual instrument in these parts. But ID M Theft Able was really just as good, even though I thought he the license plate thing a bit too often. Then again, that’s not a big deal because the best thing about this set was that I thought each enhanced what the other was doing. That takes some listening, which I always appreciate.


May 22, 2009 - Posted by | Music | , , , , , ,

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