american heritage / geiger counter / bemsha swing ~ live @ the free butt, brighton, october 99
whoops, missed bemsha swing completely which was a bit of a mishap because i was meaning to check them properly in anticipation of our imminent sound-clash in 2 weeks time. what can i say; i was really getting into my soup.
geiger counter are phenomenally tight way above and way beyond the call of duty. they are very very impressive. suddenly i fully - almost at a molecular level - comprehend the meaning of the term 'math rock'. is it honest music? is it real? this i cannot answer. it consists of a series of dense metallic forms that allow very little light in; while the material is stucturally complex and rigidly executed, it has a worrying lack of beauty or economy, and the individual structural units which comprise the larger form have little meaning relative to eachother, all the riffs that make up all the songs are interchangeable. so what we get is 30 minutes of math, 30 mintes of typography, 30 minutes of male intellect. i'm not saying any of this is necessarily a bad thing - geiger counter are alarmingly good at what they do, which is rock.
american heritage have a similar thing going on, except more so, they take the whole math thing to such an extreme and play it so ferociously and at such pace it seems to be just a series of very fast random events, like watching an explosion frame by frame. like gore's 1st LP cut into half second pieces, re-arranged, and then played on 78. i had to turn my concentation way way up to comprehend what was going on at micro-level, the macro structure seeming like an impenetrable dense mesh/mush. by the end of their set my brain was highly stimulated and craved information but the surroundings were incapable of providing me with it at the pace i'd become accustomed to. i ran home and spent the night devouring books until my eyes dried up and rolled out of their sockets; hanging on my checks like washed up jellyfish on a dead beach.

lure-luxx ~ cloak and fawn CD (trop groove)
kind of a let's-get-all-this-old-stuff-out-the-way-to-make-room-for-the-new-stuff release. what you get is almost an hour plucked from the no doubt massive archive of material this outfit have accumulated over the last couple of years. the general cut of their chib is upbeat in comparison to their recent output but still displays that hyper melodo-centric twisty turny chime thang except here they're juxtaposed against some incongruous technology-based skirmishes and general lo-fi buffoonery. when they sound like anyone else it's sonic youth, supreme dicks, maybe aerial M, but this isn't often and sounds co-incidental rather than intentional. having toured with this band numerous times and seen the way they operate (in their own little universe, mostly) i do not for one second doubt their aesthetic sincerity, and this release lays down the tarmac for some pretty heavy traffic to follow

echo is your love LP
this band have something akin to bad moon rising-era sonic youth in effect. it's that same ambiguous stark twilight atmosphericism, but combined with the kind of radical-exotic vocal fragiliy you'd get from, say, very early sugarcubes. and anyone who has a song called 'we have the power to darken their stars' wins my vote, hands DOWN.

ninety-nine / schleby ~ live @ the core club, brighton.
shlebby are stuttering and shimmying through their all too short set combining sun city girls spazz out dynamics with a postier-rock peak-and-trough arrangement technique, implying a choppy sea, but without the contrived self referential/reverential thematics of june of 44 or their various blinkered nautically fixated clones, more just in their rocking and a-rolling, their twisting and a-turning. like a fucked up stream. the bass player struts and pecks like a giant hen. the drummer shuffles all over the place. the pace is sublime; you find yourself one, maybe two steps behind their mental processes at all times. but the overall effect is not one of an overly rehearsed, painstakingly mapped out structure--there's an appealing naturalism, a fluidity to their playing that simply removes your breath. (like this: hhhhhhhhhhhh)
ninety-nine begin with a magnificently sparse vibraphone/glockenspiel/drums dirge, possibly the highlight of their set, which flips to and fro between the more indie-melancholic passages maybe in a similar earspace to sonora pine or something, and the duelling mallets of the plinky-plonkier numbers. their invigorating playfulness and spirit is matched only by their timbral inventiveness. sweet.
later on the club aspect of the evening rears its ugly head once more and i swear everyone there made a trip to the toilet for something to stick in their ears. we all stood around shrugging at eachother, unable to traverse the audio sludge that pressed into us form all sides.