Sun Circle, Epileptinomicon, Temples, Sterile Garden and nervesandgel
Friday, November 20th, 2009
Better Than: A noise show comprised entirely of purist noise projects.
Epileptinomicon opened the show with just Mike Reisinger feeding his vocals through a series of effects pedals into the PA. The result was an amplified white noise with harmonic low end pulsing in the background that recalled a giant vacuum cleaner with the tone somehow pitched down and of a distant strike at a bowling alley with the sound of the pins falling at once somehow sustained.
The second project to play didn't have a name [we asked], but it included one of the Emmons sisters from Yellow Elephant. The echoing voices and flute, coupled with the banjo and unconventional percussion, sounded a bit like Temple Stone-era Ghost and like Flying Saucer Attack if it had gone tribal, with the vocals often sounding as if they were being heard through a haunted wind tunnel.
The Temples set was a drastic departure from most of Kevin Richards' other material. Usually we get to see a stereo setup with well-dialed delay through which Richards plays expansively circular chord structures. This performance was all acoustic with beautifully intricate finger work and, in a major shift for Temples, Richards sang and even emoted in a way we didn't know he had in him. Spidery chords interspersed with drones gave the performance a stark yet warm feel.
Sterile Garden set up with one tape operator on the stage, while the other and his drum machine and synths was in another part of the room more than ten feet away, and the guitarist was even farther away. The atmospherics sounded like what it must be like to be on a derelict ship during a storm looking for survivors but merely hearing amplified, unknown sounds and anticipating a Lovecraftian horror around the next corner.
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The two members of Sun Circle faced each other, a mixer and other gear separating them. Musically, it was clearly grounded in modern drone but borrowing heavily from an ancient tradition. Each member of the band played what looked like an old snake charmer flute. The raga drone and its cousin layers were generated by manipulating the raw sound with electronics but also through modulating the tone on a physical level. Admittedly, it got a little repetitive, particularly toward the end, but obviously these two were masters of sonic shading.
Personal Bias: I like anything a little weird and unconventional.
Random Detail: It was six projects in two and a half hours.
By the Way: Noise has been a part of far more conventional music for well over a decade.