Sunday, June 13, 2010

Electric Moon-Gazing

What better way to start off a new blog than to review a performance of some of my favorite Hiroshima musicians at my favorite Hiroshima Venue?

Last night I went to see the Stabilo-organized event called 月を見ながらエレクトリック at Organ-za.

First up was a two-member group called Chockee.ko who were joined by a wigged and faux-bespectacled Goto Izumi decked out in nerd attire. The set started out with DJ "Chockee" starting a roaring hiss of white noise followed by a field recording of frog chirping. After a slow build of sound he slowly began to bring in beats using the classic Roland 808 sequencer, followed the Jazz guitar-wielding other member of the group (I didn't catch his name) playing Cornelius-style delayed guitar riffs. After several minutes of slowly building, Izumi joined in with improvised accordion from the back corner rounding out a sound reminiscent of Boards of Canada or the more spare side of Mogwai.

Next up was the band Master God, side project(?) of the electronic artist Hideride, whom I had met last year at Yokogawa Cinema's screening of the film "Noize." Watching them set up the stage, I felt a bit disappointed to see they were a two guitar, bass, and drums four-piece when I was there for an electronic show. But as the drummer started an (obviously Hideride-programmed) electronic glitch beat over psychadelic loops, I knew I had judged them too quickly. Hideride began a reverb-soaked delayed guitar riff as the drums and bass came in over washed-out slow-soaring female vocals eventually building towards the loud, distorted, tritone-filled crash of a full shoegaze space-out.
I love shoegaze and I love the electronics used in this music, so for me it was a good show. But, watching the band playing along with music that might as well have been on a cd definitely detracted from the live experience. Even if they had stuck a dude behind the laptop to just push stop and play while bobbing his head would have made it seem more exciting. But then I know from experience how difficult it is to translate this kind of music, so I am no one to criticize.

The next act did seem to figure out how to implement all the beats and loops and delays into a live performance, but I can't quite say it was as enjoyable.
Inoue Tsuneyoshi had a set up with lots of pedals and a midi controller all connected somehow to his electric guitar so that the guitar itself became a midi controller. Every string he played would also trigger beat loops and synths which he then modified using his pedals. The setup was fascinating, but I couldn't quite get into what he was doing. For one, his sense of rhythm was beyond me. He was either playing in very odd time signatures or else purposefully not playing in any at all. Either way, I couldn't follow.

Last up was Stabilo doing an electronic set with just his laptop. He played four or five songs not on his previous ep, which I assume were new. These songs sounded more along the lines of his performance at last years "Noize" event which implement a lot of glitch-static beats and odd rhythms with slow-building backwards guitar samples. These new songs sounded a bit less melodic than on those of his last ep, but as always, every song seemed perfectly put together and expertly processed.

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