30 09 2009
#2324

SUNN O))) vs ATHENS

LiveReviews

2 days ago

Sunn O)))

Sunday, Sept. 27 @ Seney-Stovall Chapel

From the outside, the Seney-Stovall chapel looks like an elegant Chic-fil-a dwarf house, except 30 times the size. Inside, the chapel looks more like a Methodist church – cream walls, nice wooden seats, and a red velvet curtained stage that takes up a large portion of the floor. There’s also a balcony and a chandelier. This evening that stage was lined with a backdrop of human-sized amplifiers, which would soon emit colossal wattages of “Drone Metal/Doom.”

These labels, however, are a little too ambiguous – essentially what we’re talking about is heavy fields of sound – fields capable of rattling light fixtures loose from the ceiling, and vibrating floors, walls, and handrails. I even noticed my vision clipping occasionally, but I’ll get back to that.

Now, reimagine the chapel and add a small table to the center of the stage. This table has a small synthesizer and a small computer on it (my best assumption – there were black boxes there). Okay, fast forward through the opening band, who, to their credit, were at the right place at the right time (sorta kidding). They played hard, and as a two-piece (guitar, drums) “Doom” band, they made a good go of it. They are in another league entirely than the subject at hand though.

It’s now 9:45 p.m., and the chapel is densely filled with fog; the house lights have just gone off and two green spotlights at the front of the stage illuminate a periodically reappearing burst of cloudiness. Conversations with production crew reveal that the building’s smoke detectors have been tampered with in the hopes of preventing sonic and civil-servantly interference. A long time passes before anything other than the retarded mechanical hiss of the smoke machine and the occasional cough are heard, and unfortunately the first sounds heard are not of bass thunder, but laughter and jeers invoking drum solos and Skynrd songs – you know the stuff. More of this for a while, then, from the stage: “Sorry, we’re having technical difficulties.” Uggh. Then, maybe two fog clicks later, the spotlights melted red and a wave of sound got the building shaking.

The fog was so thick at this point that from the balcony I was only able to make out two figures on stage – one with a guitar, and one who appeared to simply be standing at the small table I mentioned earlier. Both were wearing hooded, full-length black cloaks.

For anywhere between the next, say, four and 15 minutes, modulating drones moved like fat ghosts through the building, manipulating not only the air and surrounding physical structures, but also the physiological vessel as a result. Somewhere during this time another black-robed creature (this one with additional red turban, erased face, and long blonde hair) emerged and took up residence in the intermittently emerging fog cloud. Time would reveal this to be a singer/narrator/screamer/arm-dancer/sorcerer/priest? Shortly, there was a distracting flash of bright white light. Then again. The sound was so encompassing at this time that it took a second to realize that the fire alarms were blinking. Then a little bit later, when the sound decrescendoed a bit, the alarms’ buzzing became audible. These alarms persisted for the next 40-45 minutes, until the very minute the show ended (perhaps because of the opening of the chapel’s two massive wooden doors).

Now the tricky part: The fire alarms made sense. I can see the argument otherwise, but I liked it, and feel that the overall presentation was only about three perecent hindered because of their existence, if at all. Only twice did I wish that they weren’t on, and on those occasions for maybe a second or two. I really had the sense that it all fit together appropriately, and from differing vantage points different alarm sounds were audible, which was a neat interactive experience. The alarms seemed simultaneously like an angry metronome and the building enjoying a prolonged and long-overdue orgasm.

So within the previously mentioned 45 minutes, Sunn O))) continued much as it began – crafting and eliciting heavy ass waves of sound with shifting modalities and rolling tubes of feedback; Different organs and architecture vibrating with different harmonizations during a general loosening of Time. It’s like medicine in the sense that the band presents many different arrangements/pairings of tone, and each designates a wholly differing atomic situation (this really is music theory/physics in practice, it seems). Each varying wave frequency has a unique effect on the surrounding energy landscapes, so follow this train of thought and you have a method. Sunn O))) guides its craft on a journey through these primal, subtle landscapes with enough wattage to reach even the most preoccupied person in the house.

So that’s what happened all set – variations on this theme through a “dark” (woodsy/pagan/celtic/spiritual?) approach, with no ostensible break in the whole set. The narrative was intriguing -- though I can’t say I have much background, basically what happened was that the red-turbaned creature went away around midpoint and a giant burlap sack creature smeared with blood replaced him in the spirit fog. This burlap sack creature had maybe two white faces (one of a wolf and one with vacant eyes?), an inverted christmas tree of black, orange-sized nodules sprouting from the “mouth” area, and several large sticks climbing from the top of the head. The sack/woods creature did more howling and throat singing than the turbaned one, who did more invocation/preaching/narrating, and it looked really weird, so I liked it.

This whole production was a loaded sensory experience, and in the end quite refreshing actually – I felt very light cycling home in the surprisingly cold night – though, in further retrospect, I would like to see that set without the contribution of unplanned fire alarms and their save-the-deaf-too flashing lights (which, to close the reference above, sort of behaved like strobe lights, and when i was looking at the geometric pattern on the navy blue carpet, changes in the room’s sound coupled with the strobe effect produced an ocular skipping where clumps of the carpet would sort of jump around – and I didn’t indulge in any recreational substances prior to or during the show).

To close, I’ll defend the idea that the band was able to incorporate the unexpected into the aesthetic, and perhaps themselves enjoyed the renegade dynamics at least a bit: It certainly sounded like there was an appropriate give and take, and most of the time the alarms were inaudible because the music was so dominating anyway. Seriously, no complaints about the alarms – it sounds worse in writing. This was a treat of mythic proportions.

*Tonight Sunn O))) will be performing a special, one-time-only set at Seney-Stovall that will not be seen anywhere else on their tour.

Tony Floyd

from flagpole.com

29 09 2009
#2323

SUNN O))) vs NYer

Set List: Sunn O))) at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, September 22, 2009
—Sasha Frere-Jones

Hey, Bono, you’re doing it wrong.

On the season premiere of that show everybody watches on Hulu, U2 played an extra, V.I.P.-style song under the credits, replacing the traditional closing where the cast stands around awkwardly waving. (This may have allowed host Megan Fox to escape before anyone touched her or tried to give her a rose.) In addition to a pair of off-kilter performances of songs from “No Line On The Horizon”—a big, blowsy album that doesn’t translate to the stage as well as the band’s leaner work—U2 performed “Ultraviolet (Light My Way),” from “Achtung Baby.” To make the performance more magical, Bono swung around on a fluorescent microphonic ring that hung from the ceiling, and then sang into it, because it was a microphone. His jacket was covered in dozens of miniature red lasers that shot into the crowd and distracted them from trying to remember what album “Ultraviolet” is from. (Apparently, the crowd got a performance of “With or Without You” after the broadcast ended, because U2 hates people who watch TV.)

Bono is not Attila Csihar. That guy shooting laser beams out of his hands is Attila Csihar. You are not as metal as he is, and neither is Bono, even if Csihar is both Hungarian and vegetarian.

Csihar sings with Sunn O))) and the legendary Norwegian black metal band Mayhem. Long before Csihar joined Mayhem, the band’s second vocalist, Dead, committed suicide, and their guitarist, Euronymous, was murdered by his bandmate Count Grisnackh, in 1993. Csihar probably doesn’t have to worry about being killed by anyone in Sunn O))). The core members of the band, Americans Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley, are largely peaceful, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any violence in their music.

Sunn O)))’s performance last week at Brooklyn’s Masonic Temple may be the loudest show I’ve ever seen. I saw a Ramones show in the late eighties that might have come close, though that music mostly took place in an upper midrange that Sunn O))) doesn’t visit much. The median sound for Sunn O))) is a low chord, pitched below standard tuning, that blows through the crowd like a humid wind and stays in your body like that liquid they make you drink before you go through the CAT-scan machine. Standing in front of the stage on Tuesday night felt like a teen-age dare. How long could I stand to have my organs palpated? How could I tear myself away? Would the volume loosen up kinked muscles? Sterilize me? The intense physicality of Sunn O)))’s music makes it seem like any number of things might be happening to you and only a forensic reconstruction will reveal exactly what did happen.

Over the course of twelve years, Sunn O))) have devised something that operates to the side of, or behind, music: their sound eats up space and time. After the show was over, my head felt like a bag of blueberry muffins that had been left under a bench for three days. I walked down Vanderbilt Avenue towards my house, sweaty and bereft of the ability to echolocate.

Low-budget theater is part of the current Sunn O))) show. The opening? A recording of monk chants playing while chemical smoke filled up the room for twenty minutes. When nothing on stage was visible except a microphone stand and the top of an enormous speaker assembly, the band entered. (The smoke machines continued, intermittently, all night.) Anderson, O’Malley and additional musician Steve Moore (a trained jazz pianist who has “never heard Slayer’s ‘Reign In Blood’ ”) began to play, all in monks robes. After we had adjusted to the deep tissue massage of their sound, Csihar entered in robes to perform “Agartha,” the first song on the latest Sunn O))) album, “Monoliths & Dimensions.” In heavily accented English, Csihar recited a set of lyrics about “the riddle of clouds,” stones, sky, and Eskimos. Eskimos!

Csihar left and then returned in a robe covered with reflective shards and a headband ringed by reflective spikes. Csihar pointed the laser-fingers at his own outfit and then the crowd, getting more mileage out of the get-up than you would expect. (From my vantage point, the lasers looked like everyday office pointers sewed into black gloves, four on each hand.) His final outfit, an “earth mask” designed by Egyptian artist Nader Sadek made Csihar look like the victim of violence and some light gardening.

Each “song” (a paltry term here) lasted at least twenty minutes. Reaching 2 A.M. with Sunn O))) was not a lark. Yet I would have gone back the next night, had it been possible. The immersion Sunn O))) offers is like nothing else. (A series of photographs by Andrew Parks of Self-Titled magazine will help explain exactly what the assault looked like.)

A few days later, I emailed O’Malley, and this is what he wrote back:

"Being in that space definitely put a frame around the music and our presence within and beside it. The mystery was amplified and there is certainly something both forbidden and off access to modern though in a place like that. We discussed the importance of temple to freeze time, or to rather to bypass it. The masons lay metaphysical cornerstones in physical locations."

O’Malley also revealed that the band doesn’t rehearse much, partially because he lives in France and Anderson lives in Los Angeles.

"It’s a free music, but the structures are written to a point. Since the geography doesn’t permit rehearsal, it doesn’t happen unless there’s an event like a tour. Mostly the sounds develop themselves along the arc of continuity."

(Fauxlaroid by Nikola Tamindzic, other photographs by Aeric Meredith-Goujon.)

from www.newyorker.com

29 09 2009
#2322

New GRAVETEMPLE art

via Justin Bartlett
Live CDR & shirt artworks

29 09 2009
#2321

Cameron Jamie vs Athens

Cameron Jamie

Barking Tar: New Ink Works

October 8 - November 13, 2009

Opening reception: October 8, 2009

Bernier/Eliades Gallery
11 Eptachalkou Street
Athens, GR-118 51
Tel: +30 210 3413936-7

Girl Reading A Dog Magazine
2009
ink on paper
120 x80 cm

28 09 2009
#2320

SUNN O))) vs Asheville

Photos: Mark Hepp

27 09 2009
#2319

Mathilde Darel

Exposition

Mathilde Darel
Photographies 2008-2009

Vernissage le vendredi 9 octobre à 18H30

Artothèque municipale de Grenoble - Bibliothèque Kateb Yacine- Centre commercial Grand'Place

Exposition du 6 octobre au 14 novembre 2009

26 09 2009
#2318
25 09 2009
#2317

Ambarchi live 1009

Wed Oct 7
Oren Ambarchi/Rob Mayson/Matt Skitz Sanders
@ Stutter
Horse Bazaar
397 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne
Australia
www.horsebazaar.com.au

Wed Oct 14
Oren Ambarchi & Stephen O'Malley duo
Kairos/Almost Cinema 09
@ Vooruit
Kunstencentrum Vooruit vzw,
Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23,
9000 Gent
Belgium
http://vooruit.be/en

Thu Oct 15
Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim duo
+ Keiji Haino/Tony Conrad, Norbert Moslang & more
@ Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival
Salle des fêtes du Casino de Montbenon
Lausanne
Switzerland
http://www.luff.ch/en/

Sat Oct 17
Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim a/v duo
+ Thomas Brinkmann, Arnold Dreyblatt
@ Impakt Festival
Theater Kikker, Main Hall
Ganzenmarkt 14, Utrecht
Postbus 185
3500 AD Utrecht
The Netherlands
http://www.impakt.nl/

Sun Oct 18
Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim a/v duo
@ Levontin 7
Tel Aviv
Israel
http://www.myspace.com/levontine7

Mon Oct 19
Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim duo
+ Magik Markers
@ Levontin 7
Tel Aviv
Israel
http://www.myspace.com/levontine7

Tue Oct 20
Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim duo (TBC)
@ Uganda
Aristobulus 4,
Jerusalem
Israel
http://uganda.co.il/

Wed Oct 21
Oren Ambarchi solo
+ Manuel Mota
@ Netwerk - Center For Contemporary Art
Houtkaai,
B-9300
Aalst
Belgium
http://www.netwerk-art.be/en/home

Thu Oct 22
Oren Ambarchi & Robbie Avenaim duo
+ Jan Jelinek, Jon Hopkins, Davide Rossi
@ Bimhuis
Piet Heinkade 3
1019 BR Amsterdam
The Netherlands
http://www.bimhuis.nl/

Sat Oct 24
Oren Ambarchi & Robert Piotrowicz duo
+ Greg Kelley/Jason Lescalleet, Bertrand Gauguet / Thomas Lehn / Franz Hautzinger, John Tilbury, Robbie Avenaim & more
@ Densites Festival
Pole culturel,
rue de Bonnétage,
55160 Fresnes-en-Woevre
France
http://www.vudunoeuf.asso.fr/

Sun Oct 25
Oren Ambarchi solo
+ Pow Ensemble
@ Utmark
Bergen Kunsthall
Rasmus Meyers allé 5,
5015 Bergen
Norway
http://www.kunsthall.no/default_e.asp

Tue Oct 27
Oren Ambarchi solo
@ Bla
Brenneriveien 9c
0182 Oslo
Norway
http://www.blaaoslo.no/

Sat Oct 31
Oren Ambarchi solo (playing Alan Lamb's Wires)
+ Alan Lamb, Dave Noyze, Garry Bradbury, Robin Fox
@ Wired Open Day
Wired Lab Site
(somewhere near) Cootamundra, NSW
Australia

_________________
"My days are darker than your nights"

- Oren Ambarchi

25 09 2009
#2316

KTL vs Music Gallery Toronto 2008

Pics: Bryan Walker
astralra.blogspot.com

25 09 2009
#2315

144

Residents of Allahabad, India, stand in front of 144 loudspeakers during a competition to find who is playing the loudest.

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