Sunday, April 24, 2005

Somatic Responses

Arriving at Jack's on Friday before midnight to find that Chris Clark was going to be on at 3:45am, and Ceephax Acid Crew was on at 4:30am was not exactly what I wanted to hear. Maybe I should have done my homework before hand, but I didn't really expect them to 'save' the two stars of the show until most people had either gone to bed or dropped a pill and fucked off into a state where they would dance to the sound of the traffic outside

So we waited patiently through the frankly unbearable crap that was on before, garnished with Candice Breitz-lite visuals using looped snippets of old cartoons, only to find an apparently pissed-off Clark playing a 45 minute set of distorted noise, followed by a DJ set by Ceephax that I couldn't really stay awake for. Great evening...

As the music wasn't up to much, the visuals got most of my attention, and it made me think whether they are necessary, especially after hearing about Autechre's recent gig, at which they just turned the lights off allowing everyone to experience just the music on its own. All this half-thought-about frenetic nonsense that we are bombarded with in clubs when we paid to hear the music is symptomatic of the ADHD-inducing advert culture we live in, and if anything it just detracts from the experience of listening to music rather than enhancing it

Anyway, on to today's post. Somatic Responses are a Welsh outfit producing fairly dark, fractured, almost industrial sounding music that could almost be a distant relative of Autechre's stuff. For a comparison in terms of sound, think AFX's remix of Nine Inch Nails' At The Heart of it All, played at double speed

Somatic Responses - Leek Soup.mp3
Somatic Responses - Replicant Dance.mp3
Somatic Responses - Tachicardia.mp3

I wouldn't be that radical on the visuals. It's clear that Autechre's music doesn't require any; in some cases, however, they can be interesting. After all, you surely have some music videos you like.
it's always a dilemma whether to have visuals or not when you're an electronic performer...

if it's not dance music... if you're producing the music live... and unless you're autechre... it's going to be hard to keep peoples' attention, because it definitely won't be the same level of quality/refinement that's on your albums...

otherwise, you're playing a mostly pre-produced set, and it feels like you're cheating people.

visuals are a bit of a way to cover that up... but then they distract from the music.

i suppose it would be a bit much to demand that every performance be conducted in total darkness. however, i think autechre's idea is refreshing...

i think the point made about the visuals compensating for the lack of complexity/quality of live music is important, but isn't it also an admission that live electronic music generally isn't very good? - i suppose the production levels on most records require a degree of meticulousness that is impossible to recreate in real-time, but can we be fobbed-off with flashing lights to make up for this?

i know this is remaining on the radical side of things, but if the quality of live electronic music cannot live up to its recorded counterpart, isn't the live performance of electronic music somewhat redundant?

but if people can download your music for free on the internet, you *have* to have shows.

a fair point indeed...
i've tried very hard to like autechre but i fail to see what makes them so interesting or great. i have tried for a long time, but still unfortuneatly still see the same sparce almost minimal compositions. autechre makes me more tired than the hafler trio, perhaps it's the idea of the hafler trio that excites me. maybe i just haven't been introduced well to autechre or see the real idea behind it. i do like alot of the first release incunabula. maybe i just can't stand it because it is to trance-y
Here's a visual for you:
If there's no personality in the music, I don't see what's "live" about it. Visuals are just enh, distraction. It don't have to have flashing lights and trippy videos if the music is good enough.

Unfortunately most people aren't obssessive nerds about electronic music. The video is for them. And for us, when the music sucks. Which is most of the time, lets face it.

Oh, and Autechre is about atmosphere and memorable melodies. The earlier the better.. I don't like much after "Chiasticslide."

I'm sorry, but Autechre gets better with each album. How can one listen to Untilted and not realise that it is their best work yet?
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