Back again the following night in the vaulted ceilings of The Showbox ballroom, the scene on hand was a very different affair than the night before. Truly a world away from the playfully melancholic lingering in the haze of disco nostalgia heard some 20 hours previous, this was direct engagement with a jagged, friction and conflict-filled worldview. Which should be expected from the realpolitik of Infernal Noise Brigade founder and DJ/Rupture cohort Filastine. The Subversive showcase continued with the battered torrential raining down of distortion, flanged synth and processed electro-acoustic instrumentation offered up by Warp’s Chris Clark. Eschewing his most recent recordings for a more decidedly confrontational sound, Clark’s hour-plus set patrolled the dual frontier of extreme decibels and an ever unwinding structural dysfunction moored to the lashing hammer of a beat. Awash in a liberal dose of reverb and delay treatments amidst cascading distortion and submerged melodies, not since his own touring of the Turning Dragon LP in 2008 have audiences been subject to such hair-raising (literally, the db levels were bewildering) deconstruction of the form. By further processing away the sterile, reflective surfaces of techno’s modernist gleam, its façade has been chiseled away to reveal a raw, unfettered, messily organic and rapturous core.
There is possibly no more fitting representation of the charismatic showman, media commentator and composer that is Dan Deacon‘s contribution to Liam Lynch’s 2006 video “Drinking Out of Cups”. Sarah Silverman‘s promotion of the video at the time putting him on the map amidst a deluge of online dialog concerning Deacon’s familiarity with Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (which apparently he’s not). Certainly making for the strange beginnings of a musical career. This is after all the electronic artist who composed an entire track from nothing but samples of Woody Woodpecker’s laugh, regularly references deep trivia from the lives of DC comic book characters, waxes lyrical on that week’s cavalcade of memes and pantomimes rage at what autocorrect does to the title of his most recent album, “Gliss Riffer”. He is much a product of the online age as a refection of its paradoxes, particularly on stage rattling off a healthy dose of 21st century lyrical self-awareness amidst playful jabs of warped synths and hammering percussion in psychedelic, patterned loops.
Decibel itself often presents an interesting conundrum; how to navigate being in multiple locations simultaneously. Outside of experimentation at the fringe of theoretical physics, there aren’t many examples of this being done successfully. So Ghostly’s Lusine and the Domino label’s Bob Moses were wholly missed along with 3/4 of the Liminality showcase, even with having made a science of the 2 mile distance between venues. The 20 minute traversing of the city’s scape got us in the door at Neumos in time to witness the most recent iteration Adam Freeland‘s decades spanning, remix-studded career. The most recent of his reinventions of self, The Acid finds him in the company of composer and videographer Steve Nalepa and Australian songwriter Ry Cuming as a electronically charged band proper. Helpful points of reference are LCD Soundsystem‘s live setup or late New Order, this is a definition of “band” characterized as much by the interplay of musicianship, live percussion and lyrical passages as it is black boxes and studio trickery. It’s elementary that their synthesis of extended stretches of groove oriented electronic journeying, swelling electric instrumentation and souring vocal verses would find a home on Daniel Miller’s legendary Mute Records. Decades of individual experience have honed Freeland, Cuming and Nalepa into a a three-force body with the strength of traditional musicianship on which to build boundary pushing forays that serve a songwriting nucleus. On stage the confidence and collective assurance of their sound left one with the head-nodding assurance of thoroughly modern band in their prime. By the conclusion of their melodic, groove propelled set the room had attained elevations on a different plateau from the night’s visceral irruptions, dissonance and gloriously spastic nimiety.
Stay tuned for further coverage…
Words by Jefferson Petrey for Headphone Commute