A Partial Guide to Debacle Fest’s Highlights
Expo ’70 (Friday 5/3, FRED) Expo ’70 (Kansas City’s Justin Wright) is one of Earth’s finest cosmic-sound generators. His vast catalog reveals affinities with the most profound of Germany’s space-rock pioneers, resulting in music that makes Pink Floyd’s interstellar journeys sound earthbound in comparison.
Total Life (Friday 5/3, FRED) Kevin Doria of the band Growing recently released a 12-inch on Melancon’s Debacle label, Bender/Drifter, that sounds like Folke Rabe’s What?? on steroids. In other words, it’s two long tracks of seemingly static, whiteout drone that subtly modulates and intensifies, like a huge insect’s nervous system shifting into attack mode. The sound’s so ominously enveloping, it will devour your ego whole.
Monopoly Child Star Searchers (Friday 5/3, FRED) Ex-Skaters synth wizard Spencer Clark leverages Jon Hassell’s fourth-world tribal exotica to the next, more bizarre level. Monopoly Child Star Searchers creates otherworldly ritual-trance music for the craziest dream you’ve never had. Kiss your equilibrium goodbye.
Brain Fruit (Friday 5/3, FRED) Seattle’s premier krautrock/kosmische-synth unit, featuring the galvanic drumming of Garrett Moore and the on-the-fly, abstract-expressionist synthesizer filigrees of Jon Carr and Chris Davis.
Panabrite (Friday 5/3, FRED) Remember those 23 other write-ups in which I told you that Panabrite (Norm Chambers) is one of the Northwest’s most accomplished synth composers, an ambient-music genius, a veritable Vangelis in our midst? I really mean it this time, you guys. Dig the new, improved new age.
Date Palms (Saturday 5/4, FRED) The Oakland duo of Marielle V. Jakobsons (violin, flute, electronics) and Gregg Kowalsky (keyboards, electronics) traffic in some of today’s most holy-toned, long-form raga trance-outs. The music on their 2011 LP, Honey Devash, possesses the power to make you think, against all evidence, that the world is suffused with goodness and divine light. Expanded to a quintet for their Thrill Jockey debut, The Dusted Sessions, Date Palms continue to spread their sonic sacraments with even greater richness and nobility.
Nate Young (Saturday 5/4, FRED) As with all members of Michigan noise titans Wolf Eyes, Young is absurdly prolific; only his accountant really knows how big and complex his canon is. From what we’ve heard of it, we can say that Young ranks as one of the country’s foremost experts on concocting white-knuckle soundscapes without resorting to hokey signifiers. Anyone who’s spent time in Wolf Eyes’ Ypsilanti birthplace will understand the how and why of Young’s stark, post-industrial-nightmare output.
Mind Over Mirrors (Saturday 5/4, FRED) Mind Over Mirros (aka Jaime Fennelly) is a font of sublime, liquid, and ethereal drones that sometimes oscillate wildly (no Smiths).
Marielle V. Jakobsons (Saturday 5/4, FRED) A member of Date Palms [see above], Jakobsons crafts epic, cinematic compositions in which violin and electronics combine to form sonorous “om”s that cause your goose bumps to shiver. Check out Glass Canyon for the best distillation of her rigorous drone-ology.
Golden Retriever (Saturday 5/4, FRED) Portland experimental analog-synth/bass-clarinet duo wild out into Terry-Riley-on-astral-jazz-and-meth territory. So much happens in their pieces, and it’s all fascinating.
Sissy Spacek (Saturday 5/4, Highline) Sissy Spacek—John Wiese’s cheeky pseudonym—has been a prodigious producer of punk-as-fuck noise, chaostrophic grindcore, and migraine-y musique concrete since 2000. His acutely sculpted tracks are as unpredictable as the stock market—and often just as destructive.
MTNS (Saturday 5/4, Highline) A volcanic power duo in the tradition of Lightning Bolt, MTNS harness noise-rock whirlwinds with bass, drums, and violin. What a blast it is.
Hieroglyphic Being (Sunday 5/5, Lo-Fi) Chicago producer Jamal Moss catapults house music into some of the strangest zones it’s ever inhabited—and his “Imaginary Landscapes” series takes ambient to even odder realms. Hieroglyphic Being’s headlining set for Debacle’s concluding MOTOR showcase will likely induce a lot of twitchy movements you didn’t think you had in you.
Moon Pool & Dead Band (Sunday 5/5, Lo-Fi) Nate Young of Wolf Eyes and dozens of other projects and Dave Shettler of SSM and Rodriguez (that Rodriguez) link up to make some techno that hobbles interestingly on the wrong side of the tracks. Sounds like the drum machines have been fed absinthe and the synths DMT. Yep, it’s gonna be one of those nights…
Prostitutes (Sunday 5/5, Lo-Fi) Cleveland is grim, Jim, and James Donadio’s music as Prostitutes reflects the remorseless griminess and grittiness of that rotting metropolis by Lake Erie. There’s a good reason why his label’s called stabUdown: Prostitutes’ tracks are lethal, but in the most vital way.