The bill at Death by Audio last night featured some of the best minds in noise/experimental electronics. The acts that performed are bound by similar goals, to create tapestries of complex and disorienting sound, but are all different in their approach and in the types of electronics/instruments they use. And thus, their affects are different, too. Where one act confounds, another grants clarity.
Nonhorse is G. Lucas Crane from Woods, and his set up was not a far jump from that which he uses in Woods. The mouthpiece microphone was there, to layer whatever vocals/mumbles he may utter with thick chaos, and the multiple cassette decks, too. Nonhorse makes music that is dizzying as a result of constant aural attacks. He’d move from one sound to another, one tape to the next, without hardly any build or concentrated energy. Quick bursts. A 15 minute stunner made time stand still. (Could it have only lasted 5?)
Ducktails played a mixed set. Starting on the ground with pedals, a keyboard and what seemed to be a sampler of sorts, and then moving up to the chair to play guitar over the sonic texture he’d created, Matt Mondanile makes a play out of one-acts. Each piece, or layer, is an important, nay crucial, part of the full attack. Ducktails set created a more blissful mood, one that had more melody to it, than Nonhorse’s. To conclude the set, Mondanile perhaps took a hint from his other band, Real Estate, and played a short and sweet pop-tune, which he sang over. But let’s not get confused here, the entire song was layered in noise.
Ecstatic Sunshine was up next. The sound of Matt Papich has changed since I last saw him, more than a year ago. And he’s now a one-man band. About a year ago Papich moved to Brooklyn to work with Joe Williams (aka White Williams). The result is Yesterday’s Work, released this past fall. It’s a staggering album, full of experimental guitars looping endlessly, linear song writing, all mixed up with heavy production, creating manipulated sound. It’s got a groove to it, and last night you could feel it ripple through the crowd. Papich moves with ease from guitar to sampler to mixer to “chaos pad,” making such a holy racket it seems definitive. A part of one particularly resonant song was so masterfully built that you could almost feel the collective swell of heartbeats, the tongues in the backs of peoples throats, choking, because it was nearly too much.
Also incorporated into his set are “field recordings,” some from Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio. The mix of “natural” and “unnatural” is crucial to Papich’s ideas on sound.
To close the show, Jason Urick played a laptop. This was the harshest set of the night. If the other acts were a tad muted, or less visceral and in your face, Urick made you forget that. A full onslaught is what he brought. I left before I exploded.