Gigs, dance, art

March 30th, 2011: France Sauvage / Justice Yeldham / Napalm Jazz

@instants chavirés

Napalm Jazz were better than I expected, but that’s all on me. I’m getting eager to move away from this noise thing, but at the same time I keep running into people who make me linger. Napalm Jazz just extended that list. The pedals and contact mics are just tools, but there’s something primal, direct and honest in a take-it-or-leave-it way about their music that I think is worth enduring the routine. Once in a while, it’s more than worth it, it’s downright cleansing.

This was my fourth time hearing Justice Yeldham, and I intentionally stress “hearing”. Reading about his music as a kind of freak show is getting to pet peeve level with me. Sure, he might bite a slice of glass of that plate he’s playing or smash it on his face, but there’s so much more to it. So I didn’t even look at him. And it’s at least as good that way. He displays amazing control of his instrument — and glass and contact mic are an instrument in his hands — and I think it’s really worth listening to. There are rhythmic and melodic parts in there, and it’s really music. And when he broke the glass, it made sense too, because the reduced area changed the pitch. I suspect he doesn’t even need to do that anymore, but the expectation of this is part of his act by now. He plays with that too, so it’s not a bad thing.

France Sauvage sounded almost mainstream after these, especially with a drummer. But there was much more to it than that. Even when the beat was at its most repetitive and trance-like, their music packs an unpredictable undertow I emphatically recommend yielding to. I think there’s always something going on in there, and even though I chose my own level, other people probably got something quite different from their performance. Which to me is a very good thing. This time I was more interested in the electronics that were going against the flow. Another time I might like better another part of what they do. Maybe someday I’ll get enlightened enough to take it all in. Until then I can still expect to find something to latch on to no matter why state of mind. It’s that rich.

April 2, 2011 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

September 11th, 2010: France Sauvage / Oso El Roto / Fusiller / Ero Babaa


A surprisingly quiet set from Ero Babaa. The good side is that it was a little bit more interesting than usual on the musical side, but the drawback was that it was more like two threads side by side. Then again, maybe that was just me not being used to that.

Fusiller’s set was pretty cool. Not really alien to what he does as part of Opera Mort, but I got the feeling it didn’t go as far as it could/should have. I’d like to hear him play with TG for some reason.

As usual with Oso El Roto, I suspect whether I like the set or not is really mostly about my own mindset. I guess I was in the right mood. His starting outside on voice only was nice. Some of his songs are familiar to me by now, and I don’t like that much. I guess I shouldn’t see him too often then.

At first I didn’t like France Sauvage, but by now I think I get it. I remember them being more elaborate somehow, but I like their intensity. Maybe it was always there and nothing changed but my perception. No matter why, I like them a lot now.

September 29, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

April 23rd, 2010: Antilles / France Sauvage / La Ligne Claire / MAH


I was not feeling too well and almost skipped this one, but I really wanted to hear MAH — Miho, Alexandre Bellenger, and Hendrik Hegray — and all those canceled gigs because of that ash thing made me eager to hear some live music. MAH was pretty good, with axes of stability from rhythmic samples and a drone-like line beneath, that got ditched progressively, but not completely. More like a change of focus. Interesting though not totally up to its potential. This may be the point though.

I guess I wasn’t in the right mood for La Ligne Claire. They bring a lot of energy to the table, and I like their DIY feel. But I just lacked the energy myself to take it all in as it should, and that made me feel I missed the mark. Happens.

I think I finally got why so many people have been praising France Sauvage for a while now. Third time’s the charm, it’s about time. I was quite impressed by their use of records as samples, but the whole thing was both driven and interesting, with a sound personal enough to set them apart. I’m officially punching my ticket for that particular bandwagon.

While I’m on the subject of finally seeing the light, I thought several times while Antilles were playing that Lionel Fernandez wasn’t loud enough. I only caught the start of their set though, I chickened out and left to catch a train home. What I did hear wasn’t their best set in my opinion. There was this relentless pounding, but something seemed missing. That when it dawned on me that I’d grown to like Fernandez’ play, which would have shocked me a couple of years ago. Maybe I’m not too set in my ways to learn something, yet.

April 25, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

December 14th, 2008: Ich Bin / A.H. Kraken / Joelle Leandre / Gol & Charles Hayward / France Sauvage / Claus Van Bebber & Michael Vorfeld


Final day of Sonic Protest, in a relatively new place. It’s huge and cold, but maybe the latter will improve with use. I was really exhausted by then, and having heard so much in that week pretty much spoiled the experience on that day. The long waits between sets didn’t really improve things.

Claus Van Bebber and Michael Vorfeld go the event started, and unfortunately it was the kind of improvised music that requires more focus than I could muster there and then. I still liked what Van Bebber did with his three turntables, but I would have to hear him in a smaller venue to appreciate that better. Vorfeld’s percussions just struck me as too conventional — in that particular genre — and I just couldn’t pay enough attention to override that first impression. This one’s definitely on me.

It’s the second time I see France Sauvage, and again I was just not in the right frame of mind. The electronics, screams, drums and all should add up to music I like though. I didn’t because it seemed to me to be something I’ve heard many times before. I’d just like to hear them properly before giving up.

Gol & Charles Hayward were probably my favorite set of the day, at least if I focus on the first part of it. From an introduction with Hayward wandering around before settling behind the drums, it built up from separate sounds to a cohesive one with many changes and things generally happening. The second part was frustrating before they kinda got settled and took far less chances. Or maybe I missed the details and the too steady drumming fooled me. Anyway I thought they were underachieving in that second part.

Joëlle Léandre has a very impressive way of being one with her double bass. Her play is quite straightforward for improvised music — no tricks beyond occasionally slapping the box — but I actually appreciated that. She already does a lot without adding those anyway. She might not be breaking new ground, but she’s so good at what she does that it didn’t matter. I had never heard her before, so maybe I would get tired of it in the long run, but I’ll worry about that if and when.

A.H. Kraken took the day in a totally different direction. Solid punk rock with all as it should be, just low brow enough for me at that time. Definitely weird seeing them in such a clean arty space, but they didn’t seem to care about that and the crowd did go wild. Nothing particularly stood out for me in their music, but I was down to basic perception anyway, and it felt just right.

I guess I should have left early during Ich Bin’s set. It was quite fun during the first song, but it grew old amazingly quick. One trick pony. Their looks and generally their set fit the concept real well, but it was just too monotonous for me. People went real wild, I just went real bored.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment