Monday, January 7, 2013

French Radio/Thomas Carnacki-Subterranean Arthouse, Berkeley, 1/6/13

Disaster Amnesiac trekked over to Berkeley in the cold of the evening to take in a few hours of great, chilled Electro-Acoustic sounds from some of the S.F. Bay Area's premier practitioners of said form.
Opening act Thomas Carnacki and His Merry Band of Musical Miscreants played one long piece, made up of quiet tones, coaxed from any and all manner of objects: coffee grinders, earrings, torn paper, computer programs, stones, driftwood. Their sound reminded me of cave paintings, in that despite the lack of "light" (in this case, overt changes in the structure), attentive listening was rewarded with all manner of mental coloration. Much as with the reading of philosophy or poetry, the music that Carnacki's group made placed certain burdens on those being exposed to them, with the payoff being heightened perceptions. As usual, Cheryl Leonard's lovely aesthetic sense was delightful, her rig being made up of a glass bowl, sand, driftwood, and stones!
After a brief pause, French Radio began their set, playing the soundtrack to and film by Jerry Smith. Bay Area legend Bruce Anderson played really great Minimal/Maximal guitar, throughout the four-part film, sustained two note phrases washing over the listener/viewer, as the film's watery shots pulsed out. Disaster Amnesiac took particular delight in hearing his trademark sound paired with old footage of S.F.'s Ocean Beach. Vocalist AC Way seemed to be pulling from the Black Metal form, his abstract vocals taking on the chilly alienated tones of that late 20th Century Norse tradition. Their narrow bandwidth worked well with Anderson's understated, broad atmospheres. Jim Kaiser coaxed low tones from a bicycle wheel and spokes with a bow and used pedals to make sound and noise.
All told, it was a fun way to prepare for the work week, and a fine first live musical experience for the New Year!


Unknown said...

Thanks much for the lovely review of last night's show, but I must make the correction that Jerry Smith was responsible for the video, and not myself. I believe the footage he used was found at the Prelinger Archives, but unfortunately did not get to see more than spare glimpses at it while playing.
Thank you again, and I'm glad that you enjoyed the night out.

Mark Pino On Drums said...

James-thanks for clarifying that. It was a fun gig. You guys sounded rad. Will amend blog.