Tjutjuna, Orbiteer, Woodsman and Fissure Mystic Friday, February 5, 2010 Meadowlark
Jeff Suthers opened this show with the debut of his solo project, Orbiteer. Streaming layers of hazy guitar overlayed sketches of faintly discernible melodies in the distance. Whorls of shimmering, controlled feedback were manipulated into broad vistas of panoramic atmospherics that brought to mind images of the "Clouds" segment of Koyaanisqatsi, as if the director placed a camera inside a rocket headed toward escape velocity. The song that followed sounded western-esque with circling riffs cascading in slow motion into a gentle flow of sound, while the next track recalled lonely, enigmatic grandeur of Windy & Carl's Songs for the Broken Hearted.
The Woodsman set that followed sounded like one complete twenty minute song, with resonating drones building fluidly into riffs that crashed together producing unconventional melodies burning over propulsive rhythms. The great arc of song struck the perfect balance between finely cadenced rhythms and winding atmospheres. The band climaxed masterfully with a decrescendo into nearly background ambiance.
Fissure Mystic took the stage next for five songs that blended the prog inclinations of the XXX EP with its earlier instincts for experimental melodies and sonic gyrations akin to Sonic Youth. The wistful and infectiously catchy "Mr. Yoshi" struck a poppier than expected chord in the set, while "Monochrome," the song on the split 7-inch released this night, had a jazzy structure and sounded like a tightened up Pavement song with driving rhythms that sent the spirally guitar squalls ricocheting in bursting, glittering bell tones.
An "Echoes"-like Theramin wail introduced us to Tjutjuna's performance. The tone swam in a flurry of sine-wave structure synth pop and minimal percussion. The entire set sounded like a handful of movements that flowed one directly into the next for an effect more like one, grand, psychedelic symphony rather than a mere rock show.
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Although Adam Shaffner played guitar for a couple of the movements, as well as the Theramin, much of his time was spent producing glorious sheets of tuneful white noise, sounds that resembled a guitar shot through so many effects it was unrecognizable. The massive rhythms between James Barone's drums and Robert Ballentyne's bass were at times tribal and at other times hypnotically insistent. In an instant, Barone and Ballentyne shifted rhythms without it seeming at all abrupt.
Toward the end, Tjutjuna engaged in a section of song that sounded futuristic in the same way that Westworld and Alien were futuristic. The music recalled Neu! and Mary Hansen-era Stereolab. The set ended like two comets crashing into each other and sputtering slowly out to a roar and a hissing wail .
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: These are four of my favorite bands in Denver. Random Detail: Ran into Diana Sperstad of the Breakfastes at the show. By the Way: "Collider" by Tjutjuna and "Monochrome" by Fissure Mystic sound almost exactly the same at the beginnings of the songs as they can be heard on the 7-inch.