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Today I awoke to the sound of death metal and chainsaws

Posted: March 21st, 2002, by Marceline Smith

My sleep-addled brain slowly dismissed possible causes [poltergeist, death metal band playing gig outside my window, local death metal fan committing suicide with chainsaw] and settled on workmen cutting down trees and/or mowing grass while listening to death metal on car stereo. but at 8am? it all seems very unreal now and I’m almost convinced I imagined it.

Certainly wasn’t what I needed after my evening of eclectic avant jazz at the 13th Note anyway. I went mainly to see the rare public appearance of Empire-Builder but also because Late Night Foreign Radio have put a lot of effort into making their residency at the Note as interesting as possible [themed nights, videos, record swapping]. Empire-Builder were testing out a new direction: no live drums, less guitars and instead centred round computer beats and bass-driven melodies. It was a bit sketchy at times but there’s just something about loud electronic music in a live environment that makes my heart pound so I was very happy. I want them to do a remix album and call it ‘Empire Rebuilder’ or ‘Re: Empire-Builder’.

Before this we got George Burt and friend who were amusingly jolly and possibly teach physics in their spare time for fun. As the fingers flew up and down the frets and the bits of metal were applied to the strings I had a horrible flashback to Sonic Youth at ATP2000. Shudder. I guess Sonic Youth are the nearest I’ve got to this kind of improvisational art jazz. Mostly I was in two minds as to whether it was a lot of pretentious twaddle or whether it was enjoyably odd. I think likely it was both. They did have a nice line in detuned riffs that I could have listened to all night. The headliners, Late Night Foreign Radio themselves, did a kind of similar thing but with less art and more ROCK. It again trod a very fine line between ‘yes!’ and ‘nooooo!’ but came out mostly on the side of the former.

Overall, it was kind of like being trapped inside a copy of The Wire for the evening. Except that The Wire would never deign to attend such a low key gig that isn’t even at the top of Mount Fuji or in the middle of a desert. More fool them.

Marceline Smith

Marceline is the fierce, terrifying force behind diskant.net, laughing with disdain as she fires sharpened blades of sarcasm in all directions. Based in Scotland, her lexicon consists of words such as 'jings', 'aboot' and 'aye': our trained voice analysts are yet to decipher some of the relentless stream of genius uttered on a twenty-four hour basis. Marceline's hobbies include working too much and going out in bad weather.


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