Since I tend to write capsule reviews of experimental music performances in DC, I suppose a recap of Sunday's event is in order, since I'd been hyping it for a few weeks. And not to toot my own (so to speak) but it was an enjoyable return to live performance after some time spent away from the muse... (& thanks to Marian for shootin' it)
The venue was a classroom in the basement of GWU's Phillips Hall, and even with acoustic buffers in the ceiling, it was a challenge to do any delicate mixing: The whole thing was mixed based on the reverberating roar of noise bouncing off the back of the room. But the PA seemed plenty loud enough, at least.
Mine (Blue Sausage Infant) was a 25-minute improvised set that began with darkly ambient tones and vocals, which mounted into a frenzy of rhythmic self-indulgence. Case in point:
It can be quite fun to amplify and distort the shit out of a pink toy guitar and violate it with an electric razor for a while, as a bhangra drum loop, short-wave static, tremolo-distorted harmonica loops, and moog synth waves do their thing on auto-pilot...
Eventually, the freakout wound down, and returned to the mellow dreamy stuff, with native american flute layered over breathing loops and meditation instructions... Totally self-indulgent and ripping good fun.
Next up was Field Shaman, whose expansive sonic textures filled the room with equal parts sound and silence, sweetness and tension... Using only guitar, cello, vocals, and a b'zillion effect pedals.
The effected cello provided a phasing wind for the guitar's rhythmic patterns and whispered words; very heady stuff; zero-gravity music. Calm, menacing, melancholy, and spacious.
Closing the show was Violet, with a typically minimal-yet-intense wall of sound, using the trusty turntable-with-aluminum foil (i think), autoharp, effects, and whatever-the-heck else he had hidden behind the podium. It began with a blistering, strong carpet of hairy, throbbing, rolling noise, chopping into quieter passages, building layers of turntable crackles and pops, eventually building a final mountain of roaring tones and piercing frequencies before the whole thing stopped suddenly...
A damned fine evening. Many thanks to Jeff Bagato for hosting the event, and for providing an outlet for unique local music. Further Blue Sausage Infant activities will be announced here. And for more info on future Electric Possible events, dig the site here.