Friday, December 12, 2003

information wants to be free - day 2
samstag / 06.12.03 / saturday / december 6th:

01 - 20:30 - detritus [uk - symphonic downbeat]

-after sleeping the day away in order to recover from the previous 24hours and preparing for the night ahead we found a small pizza place across the road from the venue. keen to see detritus we turned up at the venue for 8.30, only to find that there was quite a queue building. though it turned out most of that was for the das ich gig in the building across the courtyard from the venue. so that when we did get inside it appeared that we were amongst the first to arrive and things were very much in the preparatory stages. the venue lights were still up and there was a lot of messing around with lights/videos and that kind of thing.
-it was a good while before everything was ready for detritus to take to the stage, which he did set up with his laptop and gear on a small table at the front of stage. dave talked later about some of the problems he had with soundcheck and with performance, and to some degree these showed. his set was at times to bass or beat heavy, grinding and solid, losing the subtlety present in the rest of the material he played. overall it was a good set, up beat, with dave clearly getting into it with periodic head nods.

02 - 21:30 - mago [sweden - poetic film music with an edge]

-detritus was followed by another ad noiseam band in the form of sanctum side project mago. the visuals that went with the performance were obviously band related, featuring the rabbit character from the threesomes album cover. their music was slow and doomy, and didn't really do very much for me, especially not with the kind of gothy vocals that went with it.

03 - 22:30 - xabec [germany - floating ambient, dry beats and clicks]

-this is the third time i have seen xabec live, following two previous years at maschinenfest. i think the first time i saw him was the best time, because he was more about the atmospheres and was entirely new to me. like the previous performance by xabec this had more of a beat influence than that first one. at times this doesn't entirely fit, though does have its moments, and even with that there were a couple of pieces which were obviously from his album on hands and catered more to the atmospheric and soundscapey parts of his sound.

04 - 23:30 - silk saw [belgium - pulsating soundtracks for emotional episodes]

-despite being listed next in running order, silk saw actually switched to after the 2nd gen performance. the last time i saw silk saw they were a definite highlight of the festival, however on this occasion the previous night's rob[u]rang set catered more to that sound. here the duo were more difficult, losing something to the sound problems of the weekend, which didn't particularly compliment the fact that they were going for an abstract build. this set had more in keeping with the claudicating live album than any of their other releases, with the long build before they hit their groove. but taking that on board and getting into the organic and difficult rut one started to get the proper appreciation for what they were doing, so that in the end it was a pretty cool set.

05 - 00:30 - 2nd gen/uniform [uk - fragmented hip-hop electronics and deep ambient]

-things got strange about the 2nd gen set, as though things weren't running badly enough. they swapped forward with silk saw and it looked like they were ready to play, when there was suddenly a suspension added to the bill. at various points bands were delayed by spoken word acts taking to the stage, but this was of a different scale, going through the whole sequence and preparation of piercing and pulling up on ropes a guy at the back of the hall. in the meanwhile uniform/2nd gen floated about waiting so they could get started. i saw 2nd gen before, a couple of years ago in zurich, he didn't do a lot for me then, and he didn't do a lot for me this time either. for the first part of the set the main guy was joined by a girl, who was doing some electronics, and appeared to be trying to do some vocals - though she was striking in her black dress and feathers she didn't make the desired impact, her voice being inaudible entirely, a fact that seemed clear to her from the expressions of annoyance on her face. the second part of the set she was replaced by a guy who did more angry vocals, throwing himself into the performance. mostly between the two there were loads of beats and noise, but without really anything that made it particulaly more than that.

06 - 01:45 - telepherique [germany - experimental ambient-drone-soundscapes]
-i've been a fan of telepherique for years, through their albums they have been quite unpredictable. previous live experience was a collaboration with roger rotor, which was a lot more beat oreintated/techno influenced than much of their material. so i was interested to see what the three members would do on their own. their sound was accompanied by familiar visuals, train tracks, and city scenes - accompanying rail rhythms and straightforward, perhaps a little old school, melody. they were totally into the atmosphere and mood side of their sound and i found myself caught up in the performance. as a result telepherique's set was the highlight of the saturday for me.

07 - 02:45 - vromb [canada - francophone analog beats-n-drones - special 10-year-anniversary performance]

- for years vromb was elusive, but in recent years he has been a lot more prolific. the first time i saw him perform he was in classic form, hitting the spot entirely with his hypnotic trance industrial rhythms. the second time he had lost some of what had really made him striking, playing more to his more watered down material. whether it was the sound system or just part of the ongoing evolution of new vromb this performance did little for me. the set came across as beat heavy, the strikes being far too tinny, rather than solid, with the spirals buried beneath. it wasn't until later in the set, and the climax where vromb really showed his potential, showed what he is really made of, but even then he didn't come across as well as he had in the past.

08 - 04:00 - xanopticon [usa - 'maximum breaks per minute' combined with intense atmospheres]

-xanopticon were the last band of the night, and like the previous night things were running late. so that by the time he went on it was already 6.30, two and a half hours behind schedule. he pretty much went straight on after vromb, with little hanging about. straight into being beat heavy, loud and pointless. lots of frantic movements, but there was no evidence of the promised "intense atmospheres" just dull and repetive beats. after 10 minutes of that i decided it was time to call it a night and left the building. another 7.30 to bed, to sleep the day away.

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