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ThisQuietArmy/Aun/Nadja (live)



Casa Del Popolo, Montréal
16 September 2009

Another Alien8 extravaganza at Casa Del Popolo in Montréal: guaranteed visceral jiggling with nice folks who make confrontational music.

A panda bear stands behind a flower-strewn hill, arms aloft, beseeching a soldier. Rainbow beams explode from the bear’s mouth through the soldier’s torso. The contradictory poster for this Alien8 happening may have the candy-coloured hue of yesteryear’s psychedelia, but don’t expect a paisley love-in: inside the Casa, the music is heavier than a death in the family.

ThisQuietArmy (Eric Quach) combined my favourite sonic ingredients – loud, rumbling bass, heavy psychedelia and almost uncomfortably high-pitched sounds to wash over you. Architectural visuals matched the motion, adding to dreamy cinematic experience the sound suggests. Just as the drone meditation came to climax of stillness, the wall of sound began to tumble into a Krautrocky beat – if it had been later in the night, I may have been tempted to dance. Electric music for the mind and body, as they said back in the ‘60s.

Aun was remarkably noisier. Martin Dumais’ violin-cum-chainsaw assault is just the tonic that this writer craves after a relentless day schooling teenagers. Apocalyptic? Undeniably – but in the best possible way. I must confess that my lucidity was progressively dissolving during this set: I found myself less inclined to note down my observations but more inclined to zone-out and experience. Suffice to say, Aun is less of a rainbow, more shards of white light. And nice and heavy too.

Nadja at Casa del Populo

Nadja at Casa del Populo

I wanted it louder for Nadja. That said, gazing at the dilating visuals rather than my shoes was a pleasantly hypnotic experience. ‘Ambient Doom’ is perhaps an appropriate description, at least for this performance. Dense, spatial sounds complemented the phantasmagoria, as did a delicious plate of nachos. And just like that Mexican treat, Aidan Baker (guitars, vocals, drums, etc.) and Leah Buckareff (bass, vocals) like it heavy and layered. The rest of the folks at Casa seemed to dig it, along with all the other delectable drones on which we were feasting.

-Nancy Zerabny-

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