Kikuri, Our Love Will Destroy The World, Tetragrammaton at Superdeluxe April 10, 2009.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A little over two weeks ago, we made it out to this show but running late, missed Muddy World's set although timely enough to catch Tetragrammaton (Myspace)- a quieter guitar and percussion based trio of Cal Lyall, TOMO and Nobunaga Ken.  While TOMO mostly relied on a soprano sax, a hurdy-gurdy gave the opening a Mediterranean-folk aesthetic, and along with Lyall applying a bow to his fretboard, set a brooding scene of orchestral drone. Eventual pick slides up distortion-charged strings began to pierce like a steel stringed violin and as the distant toms grew louder, riffs briefly appeared among the more short lived rhythmic episodes and premature build ups.

What brought the sense of centrality and cohesion to the unit was the eventual swelling from a series of cues-TOMO's monk-like chants, Nobunaga's tempered drum line and Lyall's bouts of frenetic guitar and nomadic fingerings.  In full measure, these appropriate cues summed to an abrupt and resonant end to Tetragrammaton’s performance.

This tour was centered around Campbell Kneale’s (formerly Birchville Cat Motel new project, Our Love Will Destroy the World. What marked Kneale’s performance was depth- the initial shimmering notes subsequently layered upon, the vocals set at a distance along with body movements which worked to contextualize the scope of the sounds produced.

That the vocals seemed low-level tracked wasn’t weakening but rather provided a platform for Kneale to expel his deepest screams. At one point well into the set, with arms out as wide as a pastor, staggering and belting out to the crowd, Kneale appeared euphorically enthralled- ebbing, flowing and swaying his limbs, at one point gripping the sides of the table and putting the microphone fully into his mouth. The over 40 minute set wound down with a bagpipe flute run through layers of delay before reaching ears. Well into those lighter notes, Kneale faded off into the distance, trailing off with his own monkish chanting until the only thing we could hear were heavy breaths.

Back when we interviewed Yamataka EYE, EYE referenced Merzbow as an earlier influence not so much musically but more so artistically.  EYE asked if I had ever seen Akita play drums and I briefly hesitated before answering because I didn’t even know Merzbow had a background in percussion.  After that, it became a distant anecdote and so towards the end of Kikuri, after Haino had played to a drum loop he programmed minutes before, Merzbow wandered back to the drum set and gave the performance a bit of an unexpected and rather folkloric turn.  While Merzbow largely improvised on the drum kit, an eventual and steady concreté build up sprouted as the most cohesive part of Kikuri’s set. Although, with full measures of power electronics and guitar, their performance was not limited to the facade their main instruments would suggest and as we saw, both musicians had an impressive number of tricks up their sleeves.

The familiarity with either member of Kikuri still fails to prevent my expectations from dissolving. With Haino eschewing pre-gig rehearsal with collaborators, one can never know what to expect. On this evening, the duo were more coherent and complimentary than one of those cataclysmic juxtapositions. From the start, Merzbow revved subtler bass tones that seemed elasticity tests while in the usual cross-legged pose, Haino reached for a 12 string guitar, abruptly entering with iron-wrangling notes over the digital hum. These surging drones became a launching pad for Haino’s lunar-bound adventures but soon enough, Merzbow’s motorcycle accelerations turned into heavier swirls that upped the tempo.  Haino momentarily abandoned his strumming for pick slides all the way up the neck in addition to harsh pulls and palm-massages of strings. Seated convulsion followed and Haino’s strum hand began to blur the naked eye.  Through an output of introverted howls and winds via Merzbow, the time eventually came for Haino to extend his arm to the mic for some stern syllabic yelping and heavy breathing.

While Haino synched up rhythmically, it was in that lull when Merzbow stood up and reached for his strumming apparatus- a rectangular halogen light casing with tightly coiled springs in the place of a bulb which he strums like a guitar. Just that there isn’t much strumming going on, rather scratching and rubbing with a hand held metallic puck.  Occasionally varied with wah and distortion pedals, it was in that treble storm that Haino stood up and went berzerk fighting some gravitational pull on his guitar.

Moving on to use his digital theremins, zipping and revving his hands to produce a new variety sounds and warped tones, Haino actually looked like a wizard casting a spell the way his hands locked. Haino then wandered back to the amp and pulled out a metallic disc of a small bag.

The contact mics picked up everything as he played it with a mini hammer, a bow as well as lettting it jangle and scrape against the floor. In the dark, dents from earlier bouts were visible. With Akita behind the drum set, Haino returned to his guitar, where things seemed to coalesce only to be brought to an end.

Ok, thats all for now.

Photos: Cameron McKean (B/W) and John Chandler (Color)
More on our Flickr set.

Posted by Vicente Gutierrez at 5:42 PM  


damn would love to hear this one.

Scottay said...
May 2, 2009 at 4:50 AM  

would loved to have seen this. would love to hear it.
heavy man

Scottay said...
May 2, 2009 at 4:50 AM  

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