The ever lovely Casa Del Popolo was packed to the brim (as per Suoni-usual) on a rather warm wednesday night earlier this month.
The evening of experimental sounds began with a rather new combination of some stalwarts of the Montréal improv scene: Losing Control. The pairing of Sam Shalabi (Guitar, Oud, Electronics) and Philippe Lauzier (Alto Sax, Bass Clarinet), both known for a multitude of other projects (among them: Shalabi Effect, Detention, Land of Kush, Quartetski, and more) was both obvious and entirely unexpected. Combining long form drones with sharp changes in direction and sudden dashes of both punk rock and psychedelia, Losing Control both defied and embraced their namesake. Never feeling afraid to colour outside the lines, the veteran improvisers displayed the talent and skill they have both developed over decades. Playing off each other expertly, and often veering swiftly in the opposite direction: chasing one another in musical circles through a wide variety of moods and atmospheres.
As a warm up act, the hungry and attentive crowd could not have asked for more.
The Main Event, however, took things to a whole new level of tension and intensity.
Another new pairing of old hands, Bill Orcutt and Chris Corsano each push the other to new heights of all out chaos. Already captured in the blasted, bruised and burned out live recording The Raw and the Cooked, the two are perfect for each other.
Since the demise of Orcutt’s previous duo (and legendary noise rock band) Harry Pussy in the late 90’s and his re-emergence in 2009 on the four stringed acoustic guitar, the question of a return to electric instruments has been on the tips of tongues of abrasive audio enthusiasts everywhere. His two albums in this format – A New Way to Pay Old Debts and How the Thing Sings each serve to establish him as a master of aggravated auditory assault. Easily taking care of sounds both melodic and percussive, neither album leaves much to be desired.
However, in this world of hyper expressivity, the desire for MORE and LOUDER and FIRE is ever present.
While (unfortunately) I was not yet paying quite as much attention during the days of Harry Pussy’s reign of terror, I can certainly say that this new collaboration fires on more cylinders than I care to count.
Of course, Chris Corsano is obviously no slouch himself. Keeping things locked down in the drums department for such a diverse crew as Bjork, Jandek, Six Organs of Admittance and many others, as well as performing solo, he too is a legend in his own right. A brief look through his discography is almost as dizzying as his explosive performance.
At this point, descriptions begin to fail me. Abstract metaphor is the only way to do such abstract art any kind of justice.
As Orcutt spews acid from his fingers, synthesized somehow through steel strings and some speaker wire, Corsano rides his drums rather than plays them. As if barely holding on, the barrage of staccato stabs cut quickly through air and eardrums. This music was a wild, ravenous beast, the musicians barely holding it back as it struggled to bite each and every audience member in the throat. I could feel the spittle on my face.
Playing with fire, getting burned, peeling back the skin, and watching the pus ooze.
Ah Suoni, always bringing us the best in explosive, dangerous and frightening.
These are the kind of scars that don’t fade quickly.
Photo Credit: Katerina Pansera