Live Review: Ulrich Schnauss, A Shoreline Dream, Iuengliss, CacheFlowe at Falcon
Ulrich Schnauss, A Shoreline Dream, Iuengliss, Cacheflow
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Better Than: Chilling at the bowling alley on a Wednesday
I’d never been to the Falcon before, but last night’s show offered a great opportunity to check it out. The venue has a great vibe, and the bowling alley through the wall is a slightly bizarre yet appropriate touch. The crash of the pins certainly complimented the anthemic, crashing electronic and shoegaze music being presented. From start to finish, the crushing crescendos of the dreamy sounds of these artists created a feast of beautiful music that just kept coming. Literally. The artists were kind enough to take brief breaks between acts and stepped up one after another, like a well-coordinated kitchen.
The order of the bands was nearly perfect. CacheFlowe’s more standard dance music offered a sort of appetizer for the meatier acts that followed. His set was about 45-minutes long and while it didn’t totally destroy me (that would come later), it didn’t need to. The mostly uninterrupted beats got my ears ready for the more experimental stuff to come.
Iuengliss brought the level up with energetic, jerky dancing and some absolutely killer moments in his set, which was more song-oriented. Tom Metz, Iuengliss’s mastermind, infused his grooves and drones with a notable amount of complexity and ingenuity, while his treated vocals were all tasteful and added another layer to the music. Rooted in more traditional dance terrain, the act’s tunes alternately exploded and imploded into bizarrely cool volume and texture changes. Iuengliss’s recorded output doesn’t express the intensity of the act’s show, though live the comparisons that a few critics and listeners have made to a one-man Sigur Ros still hold true to some extent.
After Iuengliss’ set, there was a short wait while A Shoreline Dream set up its more traditional drums and guitars. I turned to talk to a buddy I had brought along, and about mid-sentence an absolutely beautiful wall of sound came crashing into the room, cutting off everything I was about to say. This was the meat of the show, raw and emotionally charged but with a lurking softness, the strange alchemy that a great goddamn shoegaze band can achieve. About halfway through the band’s set, I realized I had lost all sense of time and was just standing there smiling goofily. Every song offered an entirely different experience texturally but felt like something that only A Shoreline Dream could make. The guitars roared, the rhythm section tightened the screws on the pinwheeling fury, and lead singer Ryan Policky moaned and screamed at just the right moments to increase the intensity.
Ulrich Schnauss joined A Shoreline Dream for its last song, “Neverchanger,” which received another layer of depth from his pulsing keys. Schnauss closed the night out by himself and delivered the music that’s made him an important figure in the global experimental electronic scene. Schnauss is a true musician: his keyboard playing is absurdly complex by electronic standards (not so much by say classical ones), and his beats sound organic and crisply produced. I drifted off during his set, but that’s a compliment: I woke up feeling like I’d just had a beautifully composed dessert turned into sound and pushed through my ears, without the inevitable sickness such a rich dessert would probably create.
-- James Anthofer
Personal Bias: I’m not an electronic music expert by any means.
Random Detail: When A Shoreline Dream thanked Ulrich Schnauss for the tour, he gave a whoop and enthusiastic smile that made me realize just how geekily German this guy is. It was basically adorable.
By the Way: The NeverChanger EP is available, but only in limited release at A Shoreline Dream’s website and myspace.