Gigs, dance, art

May 26th, 2010: Penthotal / Sgure / Miho – Erik Minkkinen / Zaraz Wam Zagram / Emmanuelle Gibello


Those two weeks had taken a toll, I was probably too tired and burned out for another night out. But I just wanted to go back to this place, they could definitely get kicked out any day now. I ended up chatting way to much and not focusing enough on the music, my bad.

I usually like what Emmanuelle Gibello does, and this time was no exception, with those sounds of night and rain. But I was just too tired to appreciate the details, I was too busy fighting the urge to nod off. Maybe that’s why I didn’t like Zaraz Wam Zagram as much as usual too, I would have liked the tapes to be more in front but I may have missed that part. Erik Minkkinen joined Miho for my favorite set of the event, a nice sound texture from guitar and electronics that had some cycles and drones, a nice mix between static and dynamic. Sgure brushing his teeth with contact mics was a fun take on the latter, and the set was short enough not to overextend the idea. I didn’t last until the end of the Penthotal set. Turning on a radio then plugging in effects and stuff while playing it and loops of earlier sounds was nice at first, but it was just too much of the same for too long and I gave up.

May 30, 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

January 19th, 2010: Alexandre Bellenger – En Progrès

@société de curiosités

I had missed the first installment of the series because of another show, but I had heard serious praise about it. That’s a misleading post title, by the way, as he only played the second part, but I’m feeling lazy.

The first part was called DD5, with Julien Skrobek and Quentin Dubost on guitar. Long silences with occasional chords or notes. Too much silence for me, often defeating the buildup of expectation. Then again it’s a fine line and I liked the awkwardness of trying to keep still and silent while picking up the background noise. Awkward because it still wasn’t long enough to take over. But I wasn’t won over.

The second and longest one — Perlaboration — was marred by a couple of technical breakdowns along the way. And I wish I hadn’t paid attention to the explanations beforehand, as they made its progress too predictable. Unless those expectations guided my perception. At first there was a lot going on and I really liked some of the sounds and their wide range. Unfortunately when it got quieter and bell-like I ran into my own technical difficulties: a recent and not completely healed ear infection added a layer of crackling static that pretty much ruined the end for me. I’d like another shot at it because I did like some elements but missed so much of the big picture.

The last — Decades after J.C. — was my favorite. The introduction made sense in helping me pick up some things, but I managed to ignore the details at times too. Six musicians: Quentin Dubost and Antoine Marroncles on gong, Miho and Dan Warburton on rainstick, and Julien Skrobek and Stromvarx on turntables. The blueprint called for sections of continuous or intermittent playing by each, but even though it was sometimes obvious, the process didn’t take over the music. The trekkiesish samples were a bit jarring, but did lighten up the whole, though that too quickly became irrelevant. Maybe having more people helped, but I think it’s also about the process showing a confidence I like: the confidence to write part of the music but let some of it undefined.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Music | , , , , , , | Leave a comment