by carl wilson

Guelph Jazzblog 2.ii

I write you from the Old Quebec Street mall, where a stage has been set up for the midnight Supersilent show. Iíve just bid Mrs. Zoilus and her brother a safe trip back to Toronto after the three-hour AACM/Art Ensemble gig. Winston Smith of CKUT made an affable host. The evening began with an execrable tribute video that was little more than a slide show of AACM photos with a recorded soundtrack; the transitions from shot to shot used every cheesy effect in the amateur-video arsenal: Look! Now the picture is stretching! Now itís pixillating and filling up with holes! Now itís flipping around and around and flying out of frame! Now itís rotating sideways till itís as thin as the rationale for showing this crapfest before the concert! The photographs themselves were fine, but as a video... really, it was an insult to the performers to screen work so substandard as a prelude to their gig, and did nothing to provide the audience with context - the live interview at intermission with Douglas Ewart on the 40-year history of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians was a far, far better idea.

More on the AACM show in a bit; Norwayís Supersilent is starting its set. The big pre-show mystery was what the member billed as playing ďaudio virusĒ would actually be doing. [... more, on the flipside... ]

The rest of the band consists of drums, trumpet, and keyboards - the ďvirusĒ looks to be a mixing board, with open inputs but also perhaps (I canít tell from here) connected to synth, or maybe just for looping and altering the on-stage sound (as, for instance, Mission of Burma used to do). The tone is meditative and droney. The festival program compares them to Sigur Ros, and that doesnít seem totally out of place (it also compares them to Godspeed, but I can tell you that within 30 seconds theyíve proven more dynamic than that). It sounds like good makeout music - pity weíre all standing around on the tile floor of a mall. Ah, now itís getting much more viral: Overdriven feedback loops and all. The area isnít packed; no doubt much of the crowd was worn out by the Chicago marathon. But this was the hipster pick of the week - I certainly heard it come up in conversation (ďare you staying for the Supersilent show?Ē) more times than I could count. The virus has now mutated into a drum circle a la latterday Boredoms. Noiseish, light on structure but high on energy/force.

I just saw the kid wearing my favourite t-shirt of the weekend again - on the back it says THIS IS MY HAPPENING AND IíM FREAKING OUT!!!

The problem with the mall setting: Very rarely for a Guelph Jazz show, people wonít shut up. Itís the environment, but itís also a symptom of disrespect for the relatively youth of the performers - and for electronic music as such - I canít help but think. I like the progginess of the keyboard buzzed-out melody going on right now (sometimes trends are our friend) accompanied by very Sigur Ros-esque falsetto vocals that I suspect will amount to more when theyíve been infected with the virus. Ah yes, there we go - now theyíve become a rainbow choir of harmonic overlays.

Nearby a pretty girl in a black trenchcoat has just brought a bottle of water to her nearly-passing-out friend.... ah, it is the mall. Iím going to log out to save power (I canít post directly here anyway - there are five different WiFi networks, but all password-protected) and let myself soak into the groove. A final entry from Guelph in the morning.

Read More | Live Notes | Posted by zoilus on Sunday, September 11 at 2:44 AM | Linking Posts

 

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Zoilus by Carl Wilson