Sunday, November 06, 2005

Still a certain stagnation of live music around these parts...aside from a punk show which was a definite pass and a couple of hardcore outings here and there, the lack of quality live music in this town is laughable.

I guess that forces you to find bands that really move you. This week saw me digging into some Montreal Krautrock influenced experimental punk, some Chicago blues-based noise, and some seriously progressive hip-hop.

Le Fly Pan Am are quite possibly the best Constellation band. I think that Godspeed You Black Emperor! obviously has their moments - they're one of the best Canadian bands of all time - but there are moments where they tend to lack Le Fly Pan Am' ne sais quois...punch. Le Fly Pan Am are a loud rock band who sit on chairs during live performances and crush their crowds with crunching, violent, Can-influenced noise rock. N'ecoutez Pas is their best, most expansive and enthralling work to date, incorporating Godspeed's tape manipulation and sonic experimentation. A great work, no doubt.

Talker by U.S. Maple shows that noise bands don't have to be loud and Hair Police-y. They don't necessarily have to improvise, they can write songs and compose, and this seems to demonstrate that U.S. Maple have their roots in the other side of African-American music - the blues. While Hair Police and Dead Machines build on the free-jazz work outs of Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman, U.S. Maple are from Chicago - and so, they feel the pound of Howlin' Wolf and Robert Johnson. The result is a complex, dark love affair, with stories told by the lead singer's wheezy, lungless drawl.

Anti-Pop Consortium take hip-hop, remove the turntables and process it with a laptop. Anti-Pop's strange, digital beats show more of a reference to Aphex Twin than RZA, and the outcome is a refreshing blend of experimental electronica and rap. Arrythmia is the best example of this, its songs littered with beats made from bleeps and short, computerized pitches, elaborate stereo panning, and sampled ping-pong balls. Call it "free rap"; it's just experimental music. And it's rad.

Next week in music...

I've been a Krautrock-ish mood lately. Probably more Can, Neu! and maybe even Kraftwerk. I don't know. We'll see when we get there...


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