Loren Connors and Thurston Moore
After a day at the MoMA and my second futile attempt to get a tour of the MAD Magazine office, I returned to Brooklyn for my another night of CMJing it up.
Tonight was characterized by a distinct lack of guitar music, and there's no better fuck-you to the six-stringer than a full set of duelling guitars. I know, it seems like I'm contradicting myself, but there was almost nothing resembling structure or melody in the dissonant, jarring and all-around enveloping performance from Thurston Moore and his storied companion Loren Connors when they took the stage at Public Assembly. Instead, they offered up a dynamic set of skronking avant-garde sound play, building atmospheric and slightly unnerving sounds out of two guitars and a stage full of pedals. Best of all, they understood the importance of brevity, offering up a self-contained piece that never felt self-indulgent.
The other room at Public Assembly was hosting the Panache Booking showcase, so by the time I had quenched my Thurst I was able to check out Forma. The fascinating Krautrock trio have continually nudged their way deeper into my heart ever since I got last year's self-titled LP on Spectrum Spools, but I was a little unsure how they'd recreate the synth-based science class jams in a live setting. Fortunately, they hit all the sweet spots, with song structures that ebbed and flowed nicely, and much of the music being performed live on the spot. It's not for everyone, as evidenced by the sparsely attended room, but fans of out-there space sounds and/or adventurous listeners will find plenty to latch into in Forma's sound. Their upcoming Off/On record — due out next month — is now one of my most anticipated for the fall.
Finally, I made my way to La Sala for an unofficial CMJ show sponsored by the blog Stadiums and Shrines. The fantastic atmosphere — complete with eye-popping visuals on three massive screens and an Eno-esque DJ set from Abbotsford nice guy Teen Daze ("I was trying to play the most upbeat ambient music," he told me) — was a perfect backdrop for the relatively low-key event.
The highlight of this party was ex-Edmonton artist Landon Speers, who offered an engaging electronic set from his Headaches alter-ego. At times, his sound selection recalled the warm electronic tones of, say, the first Manitoba album, but when he started dropping in some heavy bass and off-kilter beats, he was easily on par with the forward-thinking dance bangers of his fellow peers and expats (Purity Ring, Born Gold, Kuhrye-oo). It was probably the best set of the night, and one that definitely had me looking forward to the next time I can see Headaches.
There was more I would've liked to have seen in theory (the Top Shop ad that was the Flying Lotus/Death Grips show had a stacked lineup, but probably a lineup of douchers out the door, too), but it was nice to spend the night in a small radius of Brooklyn. Particularly because I`ve managed to avoid most of the gross industry schmoozing that I was expecting. Watch, now that I`ve said that I`ll probably get cornered by a shitty ska blues band with the glossiest of business cards.