King Mob, Modern Witch, Married in Berdichev and Hideous Men at The Meadowlark 2/4/11

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Tom Murphy
King Mob

KING MOB
Modern Witch • Married In Berdichev • Hideous Men
02.05.11 | Meadowlark

Most people who have seen Ben Martin perform have probably seen him as a guitarist and singer in experimental rock band Lil Slugger. But last night, he teamed up with his brother Sam for a duo that made some legitimately soulful synth-pop. Turns out Ben is a talented R&B singer, and that element, mixed in with the vintage synth sound reminiscent of certain strains of hip-hop and electronic post-punk with a touch of Giorgio Moroder, made for a sound that wouldn't have been out of place in the Miami dance clubs seen in Scarface and Miami Vice. The whole inside of the stage proper was dressed up in some kind of silver mylar or some other thin plastic as was the table on which the electronic instruments used by the Martin brothers sat. With colorful projections going, there was a beautifully retro-futurist feel to the set.

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Tom Murphy
Modern Witch

The trio of Modern Witch, sans Kristy Fenton, went for a slightly different side of its sound this time out. Coming off a bit like Autechre making slightly dark dance club music, this show was a bit like a live DJ set but with a lot more going on than usual, as the guys mixed together melody with a claustrophobic electronic bass sound that paralleled the beat.

Amid the textured sequences, samples of people talking fearfully could be heard, including a woman saying simply, "I'm scared." A streaming low-end sound skirted the border between rapid vibrato and being abrasive, while white noise pulsed within light blasts. At one point, the group got back to more familiar, utterly synthesizer-composed post-punk sound, but mostly, it was these guys pushing their core sound into more challenging territory, using noise inside music that would otherwise be designed for dance clubs, only it's just too weird to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

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Tom Murphy
Married in Berdichev

Wearing what looked like the fragment of a geodesic dome in her hair, like a priestess of the future looking back at partial manuscripts of Saint Bucky and inspired by his visions, Brittany Gould, performing as Married in Berdichev, had her whole soundscape dialed in with more assurance and confidence than ever.

The snippets of voice as a beep served as a kind of background percussion over the top while a high-pitched tone hovered in the middle distance like rain clouds threatening to come in on a summer afternoon. Performing only three songs, including "Funnel Clouds," Gould's songs capture the feel of daydreaming of travel on or over water, or trying to imagine better things ahead, like the girl who gets trapped indoors in Ray Bradbury's "All the Summer in a Day." Gould's music was luminous and gently electrifying.

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Meadowlark

2701 Larimer St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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7 comments
Jmpmk2
Jmpmk2

Modern Witch was fairly terrible in nearly every aspect. For as much as I've heard about the act in local music coverage, I would never have expected the embarrassment that took place before my eyes. After nearly 30 minutes of setup time, I witnessed not one moment of music that was clever, "experimental", or entertaining, which is actually a fairly remarkable feat. What I saw were three guys who bought some beginner instruments they don't know how to use, probably ate some drugs, and threw together a set of clumsy mid-tempo, minor key music in one afternoon. To dedicate webspace to their performance is silly enough, but to compare them to Autechre too? That's just absurd on nearly every level.

Maruchansnacks
Maruchansnacks

I'm not surprised. Murphy's the king of irrelevant, off-base name-dropping.

Chromosomecowboy
Chromosomecowboy

Is Autechre really the only electronic act you have in your vocabulary you use to compare local electronic acts to? Modern Witch's production is haphazard and amateur, little musicianship is executed in their simplistic compositions and very little understanding of synthesis or programming is showcased. Very far from the technological shamanism Autechre have developed over their 20 PLUS YEARS in the game. These guys are superstars of their field, buried in academia and advanced software development/gear modification as opposed to banging random keys on a synth you hardly know how program and triggering two samples on an mpc. Bad, redundant coverage of an overhyped band of amateurs. Bands to reference in the future? Wesley Willis maybe?

†††
†††

Hate all you want on Modern Witch. The people that like it love it. I'm going to see them again on the 26th. I thought it was great considering they didn't have their their lead singer.

Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy

See my reply to "Chromosomecowboy."

Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy

I see. I'll have to get better. Thanks for the incredibly relevant feedback.

Tom Murphy
Tom Murphy

Duly noted. I will try to listen to more electronic music. Maybe you can suggest some.

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