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Sudden Infant, Family Battle Snake and Toymonger

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cover imageBlack Sun, an experimental music and film night that usually restricts itself to the city of Cork, came to Dublin to treat us to the kind of night that is unfortunately lacking around here. The relaxed, informal atmosphere combined with solid performances from all three live acts made for a fantastic night. As if that was not enough, there were also delicious cakes. My mouth and ears stuffed (the former with cookies and the latter with earplugs), the evening passed by too quickly as I took in the great music and company.



23 June, Dublin, Ireland.


cover imageThe evening opened with a selection of avant garde films by Ben Rivers, the Buharov Brothers and Jeff Keen. Rivers’ Ah, Liberty! was a study of a family living far beyond any other discernible human life in a remote part of Scotland. Some of the shots were disturbingly beautiful; children wearing unidentifiable masks scavenging through mountains of rubbish all played out on a scenic backdrop of looming mountains. Keen’s Artwar 3: Irresistible Attack did little for me, the high speed collage work seemed to pick out every clichéd image in the pop art canon and put them together in what was a frenetic but ultimately unstimulating film. However, the two short films by the Buharov Brothers were a revelation. Clearly influenced by The Residents, both in terms of visual presentation and the accompanying soundtrack, their films were surreal acts of absurdity flying in the face of convention.

The rest of the evening was devoted to live music and Dublin’s Toymonger were first up. Gavin Prior and Andrew Fogarty’s noise veered closer to free improvisation than their releases would suggest. Prior’s manipulated melodic was supplemented by an amorphous wall of blaring electronics. The duo’s playful name came through their music; although loud, Toymonger’s noise was not abrasive nor was it confrontational, their music instead acted as a massive cocoon of overpowering bliss.

cover imageFollowing Toymonger, Family Battle Snake took over the space and created his own sonic environment which supplants itself on the room in which it was performed. Manning his various electronic devices (it was too dark to get a good look but there were plenty of effects pedals), Bill Kouligas generated some seriously thick drones. As these developed, he overlaid a bewildering selection of fractured and unidentifiable sounds. It was hard to pin the music down in terms of mood as Kouligas’ the tones and pulses seemed to create an abstract, structural quality. This worked well as it provided a stylistic counterpoint for both Toymonger and Sudden Infant’s sets.

Joke Lanz’s Sudden Infant persona finished off the evening. His performance swung between the gloomy and the hilarious. One moment he is anxiously asking about what makes a good father, the pangs of despair coming through his vocals. Within seconds he is light-heartedly painting the picture of a child with a monster under the bed and their relationship. The twinning of these disparate threads made the humor funnier and the pessimism sadder. All the while he built up an impressive barrage of noise as a canvas for his words. Combining primitive electronic beats with harsh vocals and a contact mic on his throat, he conjured up a living storm of sound. It was hard to tell how long Lanz’s performance lasted as it was so captivating; it could have lasted hours for all I knew.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 27 June 2010 21:16  


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