Sunday, February 1, 2015

Vessel's new album "Punish, Honey" & West Coast Tour with Container: Feb 4 - 7 | Pharmakon's new album "Bestial Burden" & US Tour: Jan 18 - Feb 27

Next week and later in the month, two shows of note at the done-right underground venue that is Kremwerk. The Spectrum Spools label operated by John Elliott of Emeralds has established itself as the hub of all things analog electronics, electro-kosmische and synth psychedelic, which is exactly what we can expect to hear from Container's opening set for Vessel next Thursday. "Punish, Honey" the newest released by Sebastian Gainsborough under his Vessel moniker on the Tri-Angle label is another of his collisions of melodicism, smeared noise and folded rhythm structures. His work shares company with the label’s particular brand of warped melodic misery inspired in-part as much by hip-hop’s screwed brigade as by the distorted abstractions of shoegaze. A sound epitomized in the labels roster of excellent releases by Forest Swords, Holy Other, Haxan Cloak, Evian Christ and oOoOO. It is curiously appropriate that this sound is being referred to as ‘drag’ - by degrees it all shares a weighty physicality that’s as hazily euphoric as it is crushingly abate. Or as The Guardian's Scott Wright puts it, "Inspired by Hip-Hop's Screwed Brigade, 'Drag's Heavy Atmospherics and Tormented Outlook are Pure Musical Entropy".

The third week of February sees the return of Sacred Bones artist Margaret Chardiet aka Pharmakon. After an opening set this past fall touring with the progenitors of 90's noise and Metal, Godflesh and Cut Hands she's back to perform from her newest, "Bestial Burden". Chardiet's approach to making a physical, carnally voluminous noise that harks back to Industrial music's earliest beginnings was detailed in a great interview in the October issue of The Wire. A sound the audience for Decibel 2013's "Night Vessel" showcase with Zola Jesus & Jim Thirlwell obviously didn't anticipate. Unlike much of current noise and underground tape culture's love of an obfuscated, subterranean doom, Pharmakon's music is anything but crepuscular. Decibel's unsuspecting audience was witness to a bright ultra-high definition noise, manifest with explicit compositional punctuation and performative abandon. The roar of her vocal howl mirrored by the wining, twisting torrent of contact-microphone amplified sheet metal. Her approach positioning her as a musical godchild of sorts to Japan’s performance extremophile, Masonna. Anyone who’s seen (and felt) Maso Yamazaki’s live incarnation knows what a compliment this is. Photo credit: Christopher Grady