Friday, April 10, 2009

Bruxelles Sonic 2009 @ la Maison des métallos, Paris


Bruxelles Sonic 2009 was billed as a night celebrating the Belgian electronique and Post-Rock music scene.

We arrived at la Maison des métallos early enough to wander around listening to the "environment sonore" created by Jerome Deuson, which was on a constant loop for the entire evening, and to wander around the various spaces of the venue.

The event proper began with The Aktivistv and Natalia De Mello, an audiovisual performance par excellence. The stage was completely darkened and an off key banjo/guitar sample skewed and slewed through the darkened room. A light clicked on a desk, and in turn on the screen behind the stage, and we were introduced to the audiovisual component of the set.

Natalia De Mello and The Activist @ la Maison des métallos

In real-time (apart from some minutes of pre-recorded video) Natalia De Mello manipulated her collection of items on the table including magnets and metal objects, compact discs, pen and paper to create stunning images which were projected onto the screen behind them. The accompanying soundscape was an interesting blend of organic samples and subtle electronica and the music and visuals worked very well together.

It was a mesmerising experience, childlike yet evocative. Undoubtedly the highlight of the evening. Bravo!

Next up was Christophe Bailleau who played a very dance-based set slightly reminiscent of Fuck Buttons but without being quite so manic and without their groovy old suitcase of toys.


With a DVD of his own images playing on the screen behind him, Christophe worked with a repeated layer of techno beat over which he manipulated sounds from what appeared to be an ipod, and something which sounded like a theremin, messing with the frequencies and throwing in additional sampled sounds to augment the underlying dance beat. Great fun even if no one in the audience was dancing.

The last band for the evening were aMute, which I expected to be the post-rock segment of the evening, as the first two acts fell firmly into the electronic genre. But the band leant more towards bland euro-indie and nowhere near post-rock, with no instrumental tracks. Their sound also didn't really suit the first two performances.


They also seemed to have sound troubles, with lots of feedback early in the set which never helps. But some were their own problems, such as not switching on the effect manipulating the vocals. If you're gonna have a lot of toys you need to know how to use them guys. It was kind of distracting.

So sadly it really wasn't my thing, a little bit psychadelic, a little bit melodramatic, and there seemed to be some wierd dynamics between the band members. The set included some nice guitar work, a great drummer, but a little too much posturing without the substance to back it. Although they can obviously play, I'm use to Aussie bands who, when they rock out, they really kick some ass. But aMute are apparently very sucessful, so kudos to them.

For me, the night belonged to The Aktivistv and Natalia De Mello.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

One Second Riot V's Mono @ Glazart, Paris

Mono @ Glaz'art

Glaz’art is a groovy music space in the 19th arrondissement (north east corner of Paris) which features all types of music but on Friday March 27 it presented a night of Post Rock and Noise. It is a small and skinny venue, and was very crowded on this cold Parisien evening, so securing a standing position with a view of the stage was very difficult.

One Second Riot @ Glazart, Paris

One Second Riot are a two piece from Lyon, France who create one hell of a fun noise, consisting of drums and bass/vocals/synthesizer, plus a nice collection of movie soundtrack samples. They played a great collection of songs occasionally leaning towards the post rock, instrumental direction but with their sound more rooted in noise and punk. Quite disconcertingly, and unexpectedly, most tracks had english lyrics, as were the filmtrack samples which were played to complement the music.

With the bass player mixing it up between creating looped sounds from his (often distorted) Rickenbacker bass and creating blips and washes from his synth (or visa versa) and screaming and singing, it was a noisy, uptempo set and a great first rock band to see in Paris.

I enjoyed One Second Riot enough to buy their CD.

Mono are a favourite band who we last caught in Brisbane. They have been in hibernation for the last year working on the new album which they have just released and are currently touring in support of, Hymn to the Immortal Wind. Much of the set came from this album.

It was a tough gig for the band and for some of the audience. Unlike the events at 104, which were very civilized, Glaz’art is a music venue not too dissimilar to the pubs I usually see bands in back home, and this encourages all sorts of people.

Tonight there was a growing babble of noise from the bar at the back of the venue and a group of dickheads were constantly talking loudly throughout the entire gig, while standing quite close to the stage, and despite people everyone around them trying to shush them, they didn’t give a shit and even seemed to enjoy this fact.

I don’t know if the band were aware of this, if they were they ignored it and put on a huge and long show.

Mono @ Glazart, Paris

When I last saw Mono in Brisbane in August 2007 it was a very *rock* performance with much (albeit controlled) posturing and gesturing, but tonight the boys playing guitar spent most of the evening seated. I’m not sure if this was because they were in the early phases of playing the new album and found this more comfortable, or to enable access to their effect pedals to tweak the delayed sounds, or what. But in the confined space of Glaz’art it made the difficult viewing even harder.

But luckily Mono are all about the music, and what cavernous music they played. Moving from moments of gentle guitar or piano so subtle they couldn’t be heard over the inane chatter of the dickheads nearby to thunderous delay on delay on delayed guitar with riotous drum and bass creating a sound to wake the gods.

After playing a number of new tracks the boys arose to play a few established tunes, to the huge approval of the crowd, and some posturing and gesturing ensued.

The gig seemed to end far too early, although it must have been close to a two hour set, and as is my want I bought the Mono t-shirt in celebration of my first favourite gig in Paris.

But there are many more months and many more gigs to look forward to, and now that I am no longer working and (will eventually) have internet access (once my lazy landlady gets her act together) in Paris there will also be many more posts. In the meantime, praise free wifi and the Centre Georges Pompidou

Mono - Ashes In The Snow

Do you like these tunes? Then why not support the artists by buying some music. Check out these links:-