My friends, rock music truly is in a good place right now; forget longing for the days gone by — what we have right now is incredible. I’m spending a lot of time in Lillehammer these days — usually I go outside town for my musical fill, but last night, quite luckily, I got smacked for weeks by three utterly thrilling musical rides. The pictures do not at all express the level of the performances I experienced yesterday, nor would a video; being there and having these refined artistic works unfolding right in front of you by the very hands that made them, that’s what it’s all about for me.All three of these acts stretched the sounds and expressions of experimental and intense rock music into their own distinctive, individual forms. And if this tour comes to your town and you don’t get off your Facebook ass and see it then you are seriously missing out — especially if you wish for better days of great guitar music (or at least more of it). It’s right here, right now. The Observatory as soon as their first riffs hit me, their long evolving structures felt laced with traces of early Sonic Youth, recent Swans and even the slow metamorphosis of The Necks, delivered through a clear, musical vision that was very much their own story. Each piece felt like a minimum of 10 minutes in length, where a riff was continually shifted and varied leaving the feeling of recurring change yet with a distinctive memorable core. Their focussed, absorbing rhythms grew, reduced, intensified and finally released. MoE provided a great contrast to both of the other acts, who seemed to favour the long form. Their sludgy yet angular doom-laden noise rock bends the song format in completely interesting ways for me. It’s as if they have successfully searched out all the unused corners of hardcore music and combined them into their own sound along with a pitch-black narrative. Their vocals crawl up my spine, sending echoes of dark tales from beyond the surface of reality. Gerda took the musical surprises onwards and upwards, sideways and happily downwards too; here structures and form got blurred in a most organic way. Any obvious signs of post-punk and hardcore were quickly eroded and what was left I found most unique. By this I mean one riff slid over the course of at least a minute into another, and some how again over a long duration it returned back — a bizarre mutation where any clear notion of song parts was indiscernible; yet the band played these slowly churning and transforming chaotic pieces for ten to fifteen minute stretches with complete control and consistently brought them to a climax and finished bang on point.
A night stripped of predictability; lucky me.