Show Review: 04.17.07: Z’ev, Sikhara, and other Industrial Acts, Cincinnati Noise

Be forewarned: This ain’t Marlyn Mansion, and it ain’t Nine Inch Nails

“Aw dude, I m missed the triple line-up Def Leopard, Nine Inch Nails, Avril Lavinge Show last night!!”
“Aw dude, it was a bitchin show !”
“Really, hey lets go the mall and drown my regret in consumerist shopping!”
“Alright! Yeah, Bitchin!”

As far as post-Industrial and Experimental music art is concerned, Cincinnati’s fortunate to have a good scene with some cutting edge artists. People like Ron Orvitz’s Iovae, Chris Rossing Ape, Mavis, and Robert Inhuman of Realicide, Collin Murray’s Evolve’s hip hop/Industrial explorations, Brian’s 12″ Agitator, and numerous other powerful experimental artists. Cincinnati’s not such a boring place underneath it all. Like any place, its as boring or interesting as you make it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 Skull Lab, OTR: exhausted from several nights wrestling with data recovery on a malfunctioning network server, I decided to check out the show at the Skull Lab (in the depths of over the Rhine, on McMicken Ave., far from the suburbs..) Numerous post-Industrial and experimental music acts were lined up, including the legendary z’ev. How could I miss this? Much less than missing interesting local acts.

After some business meetings I hopped in my gas guzzling SUV and drove at breakneck speed down McMicken ave, ran inside, was mistaken by a couple of local cuties for my more famous (taller, and heavier, but just as friendly) ‘lil brother Yasin, and settled into the show.

The Skull Lab is a new art gallery and performance space, carved out of a decaying building on McMicken, a space smaller and more intimate than SSNOVA, but with a similar ambiance. I’m glad I caught some of the show, inside was a festival of truly experimental, cutting edge, and intense music and sonic phenomena generation.

– KMFDM and Skinny Puppy fans might… …just.. get it…

– Nurse with Wound, Current 93, and Einstürzende Neubauten fans would not only get it, but would probably experience intense auditory orgasms.

Sadly I missed C. Spencer Yeh – a genius at vocal manipulation whom I had the pleasure of meeting several months ago after a show. – and local noise artists Realicide – artists I greatly respect. I missed Realicide at the Southgate House last month and hoped to catch them this night. Ah well.

I’ve been a grindcore fan for 17 years – I first heard Napalm Death in 1990 and was turned onto Godflesh’s brand of Industrialcore in 1991, so naturally I looked forward to Capital Hemorrhage, but missed them as well. As for Chicago’s Vertonen, Blake Edwards’s, skillful project, I also missed.

I DID catch Sikhara’s entire set. Sikhara are three intense young men on drum sets playing complex, brutal, and seductive rhythms on top of loops of sampled noise and reversed and electronically manipulated voices.

Sikhara was “heavy” in every sense of the word. Blood poured (literally, the front man Scott’s face was covered in his own blood by the show’s end). My body rocked in a near trance with the rhythms – both ancient and modern.

Some rhythms were greatly like Rif’ai Dervish drumming (one of the song loops even had looped Takbir’s in Arabic, a strange sound to hear while the front man’s taking swills from a 40 oz. Malt liquor bottle and then savagely resumed beating rhythms on his drum). Others resembled African and East Indian traditional rhythms. Sikhara displays obvious skill and I hope to catch them live again. Their music is almost.. ritualistic.

Next up, the “Head Liner” – is legendary experimental percussion and an early founder of Industrial Music, Z’EV.
A musical artist whose early works included collaborations with Genesis P ‘Orridge and Psychic TV, and Keiji Haino. His work with DJ Dano was an early influence on what eventually became Gabber. Z’EV gave a mind-blowing percussive performance in the Skullflower’s backroom.

A set of mallet and drumstick manipulations of suspended drums, copper and steel constructed instruments, generating simultaneously dense and ethereal waves of acoustic phenomena, sonic energy emanating from his skillful manipulation was reflected by the ruined tile walls and fixtures of the room (formerly a bathroom) resulting in rolling soundscapes of unimaginable beauty and complexity.
From complex beats to intense drones and even melodies, THIS was the gentle “seduction” after Sikhara’s brutal near “ravaging”. Don’t get me wrong, Z’EV’s performance was heavy, hard, and almost mind altering.

Ron Orvitz’s IOVAE was an interesting climax to the night, he played two pieces of manipulated 4 track layered tape noises. Shortwave radio emissions, the sounds of his bathtub. Amplified drones and waves of noise reminded me very much of some of the gentler work of Boyd Rice’s NON. In fact, Iovae performed some of the most interesting noise art I’ve heard in a while. Tape manipulation seems to be a dying art. I had the fortune of briefly chatting with him after his set, over gear and tape layering techniques. Affable guy, with a great sense of style (much like Chris Rosseing).

There you go, and then I slept and my body recovered from several all nighters correcting network server problems, and then I awoke, drank a shite energy drink, and will now hit the world again.

See, Cincinnati’s as boring or exciting as people find it. It’s an interesting world out there, it’s not the place but the people in the place that matter.

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