On Land Festival 2010 — Friday shows

And continuing along:

Golden Retriever, On Land

Golden Retriever — “And day two starts with a bank of dials and instruments and a film projection…it’s a marvelous performance so far, slow building waves…Given how this night seems to be the electronics/meditation evening for the most part, it’s a well chosen start. The occasional shadows and profiles being thrown against the screen are my favorite element along with the treated bass clarinet rumbles. Now shifted fully over to electronic tones now for some minutes before the bass clarinet arcs in. Pretty awesomely looming/ominous…And further shifting now to staccato bass synth pulses and rhythms, another useful twist that keeps the performance evolving. It’s definitely a hell of a combination with the electronics.”

Aster, On Land

Aster — “All nicely mysterious so far, bowed cymbals and blocks hit, what seems to be a harmonium and Ashley’s singing…Ashley switches to her sax, drums now being further bowed — this is slightly reminding me of a more spare Avarus…The extremely high tones they both create are a great contrast to Golden Retriever’s deeper sounds. Loud audience though…Eli starting to hit the drums more as Ashley’s tone turns to skronk, things getting deeper and more fractured…Eli playing the hand cymbals as they sit on the drum heads is a sight to behold. High speed quivering and chaos.”

Robert A. A. Lowe, On Land

Robert A. A. Lowe — “Another pause, color bars on the screen and Robert A A Lowe aka Lichens is setting up shop…Lowe’s set is coordinated with a projection. Circles expanding outward while, so far, a steady beat and overlaid drones emerge…The circles are now rotating off center and melting but the music continues to pulse steadily, almost relentless…The tension between the slowly wound up music and the cheerily off colored clouds is well done. Like an art piece for kids TV…The replacement of the pulse with a new stuttered high-pitched rhythm and deeper drones further shifts the mood…The color circle flow now ripping along quickly, melting even more as a huge main drone comes to the fore. Not deep, but mesmerizing.”

Operative, On Land

Operative — “This…might tear my head off…Starting off much more quietly than last year but do I ever love the drum pad/synth robot freakout. Scott Goodwin, mad scientist…And the bass just dropped. The effect of the projections on the drumsticks: A+…Drum pads now creating massive echoes over a quick pulse, video game whooshes dying away, jackhammer beats that are pure EBM/trance…Let it be said that seeing Adam Forkner going off upfront as a crazed raver is hilarious. He and Pete Swanson rock fake glowsticks…Sign of a sharp band — some part of the arrangement died out and they smiled and worked around it without a break.”

Pete Swanson, On Land

Pete Swanson — “And Pete has kicked in with a hell of a lot of noise right off the bat. Rapidly finding the weird beauty in it all though…It’s a classic enough approach (feedback at extreme levels becoming meditative) but Pete does it v well…The distortions of his singing don’t resemble MBV’s, say, but add a similar, softening effect, an anchor amid the swells.”

White Rainbow, On Land

White Rainbow — “A fuller start for this White Rainbow set than some I’ve seen, a couple of vocal swirls and then lots of tones. Here come the beats!…Seeing Adam stand and do a sort of slow dance to near funk grooves is another fun change. Always enjoy acts that don’t simply repeat…Now into a big, thrilling whomp of background textures and a synth solo! Maybe mid-eighties Peter Gabriel is back!…Instant cut to a fast electro loop and nothing else. Phase II I guess! Bass bursts and all…Now it’s sounding like a grungy (NOT grunge) Moroder production from 1977. Loving all this…KAOS pad abuse, massive echoes of grinding whirs, collapsing beats, sweeter tones arcing in, and now the killer touch — an animal sound program for his iPad, with goofy graphics. But of course!”

Oneohtrix Point Never, On Land

Oneohtrix Point Never — “Keyboards, some pedals, lots of wires, a mike, and we’ll see what happens…Well any set that starts with whalesong MBV guitar into keyboard tones is pretty much my catnip right goddamn there…The emphasis here is on slow melancholy and hush. The pauses between notes are key, even as new parts appear…The chunky, pixelated abstract video images add to the feeling of dying technology…Moving now into fast, echoed but still pounding beats. The melancholy now feels crushed under a jackboot, yet emerges at moments…Very open ended performance in ways, moods seem to shift on a dime or close to it, always still melancholic but sometimes lightly so…Starting to feel like a concluding point, a lovely clean synth melody emerging behind the huge return to MBV wash…But still continuing, an almost Field like echoed vocal sample drifting along, then sudden chop up Autotune chaos and — that’s it!”