counterfnord

Gigs, dance, art

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

@tunnel

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.

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

November 5th, 2009: Hair Police / Haine

@instants chavirés

<rant>Hair Police was supposed to play in another venue, but they called it off a few days before because of what they called insufficient booking. It’s not the first time La Maroquinerie does this, and it just makes me less likely to go there: I don’t like the late call one bit because of how it’s putting the musicians in a tough spot on short notice, and this also means they’re plain unreliable and I’ll actually be reluctant to book early because of that. The latter probably means the people I most want to hear will be even less likely to play, which is not a welcome development. The whole situation sucks, and I might just be enough of a coward to avoid the place from now on just to avoid dealing with it. I would have liked to see to Anti Pop Consortium, but I didn’t because of the venue’s attitude.</rant>

Just as I expected, Haine turned out to be familiar faces — Hendrick Hegray and Lionel Fernandez. I’ve been pretty impressed by both these guys over the past months, their solo performances have easily beaten my expectations. In a sense that led me to conflicting thoughts about this set. On the one hand, it was quite below those newly inflated expectations, closer to what I thought they were doing before. On the other hand, it was clearly better than what I would have expected one year ago. Neither matter, what does to is that I enjoyed the set. Maybe in a low brow way, but it wasn’t just screaming through effects and banging a guitar around. It wasn’t written down, but not random either, there was enough common ground to have the whole thing teeter without crashing down. It wouldn’t have mattered because their energy would have been enough, but still, the thing kinda held together. As loud noise goes, I don’t think it did much more, but it did. I’m sure they could get a better mix of keyboard, quote-unquote voice and guitar, but there was a spontaneous immediacy about this set that I just liked.

Hair Police went on to show why I consider myself lucky that they could find this backup plan. At first I thought it sounded very close to Haine, and maybe that was intentional from either, but with effects and voice/screams. As the set went on, adding guitar and drums just took the thing to another level. Still noise, but with just enough contrasting elements to make it more interesting without unsettling the whole. In that respect the more simple drumming was the most efficient in my opinion. Having a guy holding pedal-like electronics in a band like a guitar seemed gimmicky at first but ended up making sense because I think it reinforce the physical engagement side of the performance, which a was a big part of what I liked about it. Having he bent over his gear on the side just wouldn’t have cut it that well. The more they played, the more they sounded like a band, there was some unity taking shape beyond the raw discharge that first took precedence due to the harsh sounds and general loudness. That’s the real silver lining to their being forced to reschedule here, because they probably would have played for half that time in the original place at best, probably less.

So it turned out well enough for me, with a longer set, cheaper entrance and drinks. But I guess Hair Police were paid less, and on principle alone, it still isn’t right, and I still hold that grudge.

November 11, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

June 28th, 2009: Elwis Presley Lieben Toten / Antilles / Damien Schultz / Mr Marcaille / Projet Piscine / aka_bondage

A pretty good start with a diverse set by aka_bondage. Sometimes close to noise, sometimes percussive, featuring loops, samples and his trademark stringed antlers. He used a bow when the latter was involved, and that might have been my favorite part — though the first one was real cool as well. I know he’s been around for a while, but I had only heard him as part of a bigger project not that long ago, so that was a nice discovery for me.

Back when I first heard Projet Piscine, I was surprised at my liking them despite a eightiesish sound. I don’t whether they evolved or I just paid more attention, but except for a very Cureish bass sound during one song, it’s really not that dated. I was actually more thinking about mid-nineties Sonic Youth during their set, for some reason that isn’t all that clear to me. It definitely has something to do with the singer’s inflections at times. Anyway, it’s not a big deal because whatever influences showed up, those were integrated into something definitely theirs and current. And though they do have a rather consistent sound, their songs are not alike, that kept me interested throughout. I went to my original post about them and read that I wondered whether they were good or I was in a good mood. This time my mood was sour and I their set was my favorite anyway, so that pretty much settles it. In between I had heard them once for a very short set, botched in a way but that I liked a lot because it was rougher. Another promising thing about them is that people who have told me about them don’t agree much on what they like about them; I take that to mean I still missed a lot and will hear new things the next time.

Mr Marcaille brough something totally different, basically playing metal on cello. Throw in some serious feedback and drum kicks, and it was indeed metal, the cello bringing a different touch but not straying into some ironic fusion at all. As is often the case with metal, I did enjoy it at first, but kinda lost interest toward the end. A bit too much of the same thing, that’s all. But cool enough for a while.

Damien Schultz is always challenging for me, because I don’t like words, so I have a hard time getting into spoken word acts. I just tend to block out the words and focus on the flow. He’s suitably relentless and rather on the fast side, which help. Not my favorite performance of his, but not a poor one either.

I was quite impressed by Antilles. I had last seen them two years ago, but hadn’t quite got it at the time. Erik Minkkinen was just as creative as usual, this time his guitar was flat on a table and he started by playing a beat that was close in role to bass even though the effects made it sound more synth-like. Again, I really liked what Lionel Fernandez did, I once thought he was too loud and assertive, but I’ve changed my mind in the past year or so. He’s probably both, but the difference is I get it now. The drummer was a big part of why I liked this set, in that he not just grounding the thing but really had an equal part. The whole had an almost trance like quality, especially the encore, driven with a rich sound with featured clear sounds and a dense texture.

Elwis Presley Lieben Toten saw their set impaired by technical difficulties and cut short by curfew. Laptop, guitar, megaphone and power tools for an electro-punk hybrid that had cool moments but I just had a problem with the beats. Hard to say with those less than ideal conditions, and their playing last probably didn’t help, so I’d probably like a second look.

July 2, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 20th, 2009: Metalking / Headwar / Lionel Fernandez

@instants chavires

First time I saw Lionel Fernandez on his own, and in a way it was almost exactly what I expected of him yet not a disappointing set. It did sound very close to what I expected from a third of Sister Iodine, but the interesting part is that I guess I didn’t give him enough credit for the overall sound of that project. I do like Minkkinen better, but his solo set brought home that he’s responsible for more of the interesting thing in that one that I thought. Too loud and assertive for me though, in that it got in the way at times, especially in the beginning. I thought the set ran maybe five or ten minutes too long in that it ran out of steam toward the end, but nonetheless pretty good and eye-opening.

Headwar took a while getting really started in my opinion, but they do have something going there. I think they’re at their best in their most punk moments, provided they stray a little from the canon. I mean they’re very good at the high energy stuff, but it would be a waste to let the other things they can do fall by the wayside. The little twists make it interesting, whether it’s a repetitive keyboard riff or the bass player hitting some drums for a while. These moments had me liking half the songs a lot, but then the other half didn’t strike that balance and sounded either too run-of-the-mill punkish or too artyish to me. Half real good is more than I expected based on what I remembered of them, and just good enough period.

Metalking is basically some noisish sounds with some film with lense and speed changes thrown in. The good side was that both elements were related but slavishly so, with enough leeway to avoid being monodimensional, yet it was quite obvious neither would have been the same on its own. As far as I’m concerned, it was nonetheless a bit too predictable, though they avoided the most obvious pitfalls. I guess I was a lost cause anyway because I much prefer digital videos to the analog stuff. Makes no sense when put together with my fondness for tape, but that’s just the way it is. I couldn’t get beyond that particular barrier.

May 23, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment

March 6th, 2009: Sister Iodine / Helicoptere Sanglante

@instants chavirés

A gig for the release of Sister Iodine‘s LP on Hendrik Hegray’s Premier Sang label. The sleeve and clear vinyl look great, and the sound is amazingly good, so grab it while it lasts.

I thought Hélicoptère Sanglante’s set took a long time to get going, with just a slowish beat box and some overly rich keyboard note once in a while. But the second part was cool enough, harsher in a more noise vein which just suits me better. Not my favorite performance of his by any means though.

Sister Iodine’s set was much better, of course, even though I still prefer their previous time in the same place. But the sound was great, loud enough to have a physical presence going, but not so much as to be painful or to drown out some parts. A bit too consistent for me, but that’s just negativity because the fact is I was surprised when the set ended. The encore was my favorite part, but I could have used some more of that stuff. It did take me a little while to get beyond the initial noise overload, but then the sound was full of little twists. I’d say most of that is due to Erik Minkkinen, but that’s just me being partial. Anyway it was a good set, and the record is really good, so that was a good evening for me.

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

January 31st, 2009: U.S. Girls / Minitel / Opera Mort

@pixi

Another try, with mixed results.  I’m not sure I can pinpoint what will trigger that annoying effect, but I can’t wait to get rid of it. It did show up at times during Opera Mort’s set, and that’s a shame because I was really enjoying that one. They even threw in some voice processing, and the music felt just right, without any trace of pretense, interesting with taking itself too seriously. Then my ear started acting up and spoiled the end of the set. I hope I can catch them another time.

Much worse with Minitel, my internal feedback drowned out theirs, and got infuriatingly loud whenever Erik Minkkinen got close to an amp. That set was just ruined for me.

But it went away completely during U.S. Girls‘ set, a good thing because she’s the one I was most curious about and also the one I’d have a hard time seeing again. I had heard her session on the station last year and wondered what she would sound live. I liked it better this way and being in a basement felt very appriopriate because the heavy echo and muffled beats had me thinking of hearing some distant music underground in a tunnel or sewers. It does sound the same throughout, so I guess I wouldn’t listen to this too often, but it’s nice once in a while and definitely more interesting to experience live.

February 3, 2009 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

June 14th, 2008: Kobra Matal / Jeune fille orrible / Lubriphikatttor / David Fenech

@glaz’art / coord

That’s actually the first set of a festival and three fourth of another gig. I’m putting them together because I went from one to the other and was not able to enjoy them as well as I could have because of hearing issues. So I don’t have a lot to say.

David Fenech‘s set started great, with his playing records, recording loops and layering a bunch of these to great effect. That’s what I like most in his performances, anyway, this piling up topped with vocals that have the good idea to avoid words. Problem is I went mono about halfway through, which proved very distracting.

Then I took off to get to the other gig, where I had the nice surprise to learn that Charles from Blue Sabbath Black Fiji would be playing as well, so that both of them would be featured, if separately. Lubriphikatttor started quite late, but it was pretty good. I still think their performance in February was better overall, more cohesive — even though that’s a strong word — but there were a bunch of great moments and they sounded just great. Unfortunately, what I first thought were overloaded speakers crackling was actually an early sign of an ear infection acting up, and that unwanted additional noise kinda spoiled the fun halfway through.

So maybe I was not in the best mood for Jeune fille orrible, with their dragging of furniture and banging of stuff. I usually don’t really like that kind of thing though, and had thoughts of calling it quits then because I thought Kobra Matal would be more of the same. Turned out it was not the case at all, and seemed like a good blend of my favorite kind of noise. I’m even more annoyed at my missing out on most of it because I liked a lot what Lionel Fernandez was doing, which is usually not the case. By then it was really late and it was clear my ear was going to spoil the evening, so I left before Charles played. Which just sucks.

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment