Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Weekend Of Krautrock, Psychedelia And Dub

     Friday, 7.27.12. Incredible show hosted by the Rat and Raven and booked by Michelle "Mama Casserole" of Comet Tavern booking fame. This tribute to krautrock featured the talents of heavy hitters such as Blue Light Curtain, Midday Veil, Terminal Fuzz Terror, Jupe Jupe, DJ Veins and Explorateur, and a dude from the Low Hums (doing a cover of "It's a Rainy Day (Sunshine Girl)" to open the show).  Films were projected on the walls, depicting live concert footage by Can, Amon Duul, Faust, etc, and German themed specials rolled out of the kitchen all night long. Perhaps the height of the night was BLC's cover of "Trance Europe Express" by Kraftwerk, just stunning...
     An amazing night of undisputed talent should have drawn a much larger crowd. Heed my words, people, Michelle will be doing this again, and you should be sure not to miss the next installment.
     Saturday, 7.28.12,  the trip continued as Dull Knife and Peaking Lights took the stage at Barboza, beneath Neumoes. This was my first visit to this newish venue and I was favorably impressed. Small but not cramped, intimate and appropriately lit for a drone dub excursion into otherworldly states.
     Dull Knife played what may be the best set I have ever seen them do, trading deep, reverbed drones and hazed out ritualistic vocals, at times reminding me of Ain Soph. The set built layer upon layer of sounds, bass and treble struggling for hegemony, and slowly subsided after reaching peak trance mode.  Truly stunning sounds from these local treasures.
     Peaking Lights opened with a compelling, head nodding track that sounded like nothing so much as a mash-up of Throbbing Gristle and Lee Perry, dark, dubby, and irresistible. The quality dropped a little after this, and sound problems complicated things, but as much as I prefer their earlier, more drone oriented work, this was a pretty stellar performance from these cats.
Setting the tone...
Low Hums dude kills it with a one man band Faust cover.

Deep crates of heady vibes From Dave and Valerie.


Jupe Jupe. These Punks and skins nailed it.

More "Kraftwerk"

Not much light at Barboza, but Dull Knife seem comfortable in the dark...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Review: Monster Planet July 9 2012

     Monster Planet is an ongoing monthly event held on a Monday night at the Can Can in the Pike Street Market. It's conceptually simple, yet brilliant. Several improvisers at a time provide a live soundtrack to strange B movies shown on the wall. Synthesizers, field recordings, and other sound sources are employed. The live soundtrack is continuous and improvisers drop in and out as they please, producing an epic collage as the night (and films) unravel. The Can Can is an awesome place for this event, dark, cozy and conducive to sipping a cocktail while trippy psychedelic sights and sounds stimulate the imagination. I was hipped to this incredible night by my friend and musical partner in crime Skoi Sirius, who played the first one I attended.
Monster Planet sounds like this.

Joy Von Spain focuses on the film.
     The line up was top notch: Joy Von Spain, Noisepoetnobody, Mel Sky, Chris Hogan, and Gel-Sol. I think some other, unlisted, artists sat in as well (I know I saw the mighty Vance Galloway at the synths for a bit). Monster Planet 3:4 Rage Of Aquarius, was zombie themed, with Killing Frenzy providing the visual montage. Gilmoresque, blues/psych guitar intertwined with sparkling drones and shimmering sound waves from synthesizers. Gentle, abstract piano notes floated over beds of electronic reverberations. Voices whispered in and out of the mix. MP provides a brilliant context for free improvisation and the players get to really work out on long form ideas. This night is a blessing for Seattleites looking for challenging cultural moments in this city. If you Haven't gone yet, do!

Read more HERE:

Download their new mix (and donate) HERE:

Gel-Sol info HERE: (hey, Gel-Sol, follow this Blogspot page):

Joy Von Spain HERE:

Noisepoetnobody HERE:

Sunday, July 8, 2012

     Karnak Temples, Mood Organ and Geist and the Sacred Ensemble at the Rat & Raven 7.7.12

     Last night the Rat & Raven venue in the University District played host to a killer lineup. I missed Particle Being Trio as I had to leave early but I did pick up their new release on Debacle Records.  The Rat & Raven has been a real blessing for the Ave., hosting a variety of diverse shows, and last night's was one of their best yet.
     Karnak Temples took the stage first. This newish project by Adam Svenson of Dull Knife and Little Claw  is getting a lot of respectful attention from a lot of discerning ears. On solo electric guitar, Adam crafts whirling psychedelic storms of sound. Sitting in a chair, hunched over his guitar, Saucony clad feet rocking him back and forth in response to the immense physicality of his playing, he held the room spellbound with dazzling picking married to sheets of amorphous feedback and distortion. A lot of people mention Tom Carter in the same breath as Karnak Temples, and with good reason. 
     Mood Organ played next, sporting some sleek new gear. His 25 minute or so set was a compelling journey into the depths of sound synthesis. It started out minimal and clear, repetitive rhythmic motifs rising and falling .  Soon more layers emerged, filling out the piece with a dense, abstract collage of bleeps, drones and shrieks. At one point it sounded like a male voice screaming as the crescendos built and built. From head nodding rhythmic pulses to squalling Merzbowesque cacophony, this was a wide ranging and challenging set. Superb!  
     Geist and the Sacred Ensemble continue to hone their craft and their live sets get better and better. From free improv to tight, tribal breakdowns, their mixture of bass, electric and acoustic guitar and drums is almost religious in its hypnotic intensity, lending truth to their name. Comparable to none, and playing pretty often these days, Geist are a must see. Below are more fuzzy cell phone pics to dazzle your eyes...

Karnak Temples.

Mood Organ setting up.

Mood Organ.

Geist raise spirits...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

                  Cathartech & Noisepoetnobody "Split Cassette" Review

     This is a lovely edition. A high quality tape, metal screws and all, housed in a sleeve with vertiginous, hazy artwork that matches the haunting sounds contained within. There is no label name or catalogue number, so I'm not sure who is responsible for this release, or how many copies were made, but it is very much worth your time to find a copy if you love synth, drone, and classical industrial soundtracks.
     Starting with a faint, heartbeat-like pulse gradually encased in fuzzy layers of subterranean drone and crackle, Noisepoet evokes the menacing, paranoid atmosphere of some early Sterile Records releases. Appropriately titled "Nervous", this opening track fades into shimmering rays of suffocated light as the motorik pulse of "Popular" picks up the tempo but keeps the industrial atmosphere intact. A keening electrical hum limns the rhythmic background. Synths chirp and skitter like stones on the surface of a pond. Casey's compositional skills shine here, as he subtly layers sounds, putting minimal elements into relation with one another in a manner that delivers a cohesive narrative. "Negligent" closes the A side with an arrythmic mosaic of machine chirps and bass pulses that is completely absorbing and nervously meditative. Casey has a large body of work under his belt, so there is much to choose from. But this one is a must have for anyone who wants a solid showcase of his compositional strengths and textural strategies.
     Cathartech steps up for the B-side with a high lonesome drone of mournful electricity, sounding like a close miked circuit breaker. Behind this austere hum what sound like insects and birds offer a counterpoint to the technological sounds. The contrast creates a beautifully affective mood as more layers arrive. Over the course of this side, "The Electric Tuvan" captivates, like that moment when an alarm clock interrupts a dream, but extended into a long form timestretch. The layers and volume build and build, shaking the walls, as the piece rises to a dramatic conclusion, rich with emotion, and ends abruptly.
     Overall, a sophisticated and moving collaboration by two of Seattle's finest craftsmen. Go get this!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

              Cafe Racer Benefit at Rat and Raven 6.30.12 with Quasi Mojo

Last night Rat and Raven played host to a benefit for Cafe Racer. I arrived just as it began and walked in on a set by Danny The Street. I was intrigued that their name referenced a Grant Morrison comic and was happy to see what they were all about. They were all about good, guitar and Alesis driven 90's rock/postpunk, with a distinct Peter Murphy influence via the frontman. Nice!
     Next up was the group I was waiting for, Quasi Mojo, the curiously named trio of Mark Ostrowski, Bill Horist, and Wally Shoup. These names should need no introduction, as all three members have been mainstays of avant jazz/experimental music and improvisation in Seattle for years and years. Bill is a spectacular guitarist capable of almost any type of idiom or soundscape, and he was on fire last night coaxing wild feedback, sibilant drones and skronky chords from his guitar and effects set-up. Mark listened and answered with a percussive response that ranged from delicate cymbal filligree to bombastic bass waves. Amidst this controlled chaos, Wally roared and riffed like a volcano, reminding everyone in the room that the best saxophonist in Seattle was posing an immediate threat to their eardrums. This trio worked so well because all three members have very open ears, listening as hard as they played. A wonderful set for a very good cause. Kudos to all who organized and played this event!

Rat and Raven

Ostrowski: Force of nature

Danny The Street

Horist implodes and explodes.

Bill brings it!