darkside 9 with venetian snares, xanopticon in columbus, oh
posted on 4-Dec-2001 by anton
|as the number suggests, darkside event took place for the ninth time in columbus, oh. ever since planet mu tour got cancelled earlier this year, I was hoping that someone would step up and offer mr. snares a replacement gig.
thanks to local group of enthusiasts, this event finally happened. despite the short notice, and the venue location that got finalized only a few days prior the show, there were about 60 people altogether, with some dedicated attendees arriving from few hours away.
those that came early had a chance to hear a set by yours truly consisting of dark ambient and rhythmic noise – I am not sure how audience took it, but no matter what, it was great to hear bad sector or winterkalte blasting at full volume.
next was performance by american trash, slightly delayed (due to technical difficulties) - a splatter mix of breakcore beats and samples. technical difficulties made his set sound a little too disjointed (even for this genre), plus it would have been nice to hear more composition and structure to the tracks.
as I was wondering around to warm myself up, next act played their set, and I was back just in time for unusually dark and broken set by eluna – an interesting combination of dj'ing and live experience.
closer to midnight xanopticon went on. I have to admit that I did not display enough of journalist vigor and did not research this act before the show. which in the end turned out to be a good thing, making his performance truly unexpected, completely overwhelming surprise.
a few moments into his set, and the audience drew closer, captivated not only by the incredible energy of the music, but also by the way he was actually *playing*. even though his setup was limited, his energy dramatically enhanced his live presence, something that I really missed, listening to his demo the next day.
similarly to venetian snares, xanopticon plays with piled-up broken beats, layers and layers of broken electronics, torn apart and spliced together, terrorizing the surroundings. his set was probably as violent as this style of music can possibly get, and at the same time it remained perfectly clean, every drop of percussion, every static burst were loud and discernable. it was one of those sets that keeps your constant attention until the very last moment, when finally you are freed, drained and exhausted.
although the crowd barely moved, it was obvious that people were really tuned in to his performance. it would be interesting to see what response a different crowd would have.
venetian snares was next. at that point I really was wondering if he would be able to top the performance of xanopticon. his set consisted from the material off "songs about my cats," "doll doll doll," "making orange things" and a few tracks I could not identify. all those compositions were mixed in, sped up and intensified, with all atmospheric parts taken out. it appeared that nothing off earlier albums made it into his set.
it was everything one could have asked for from his set in terms of intensity. relentless, non-stop attack on your senses.
realizing how close venetian snares and xanopticon were in terms of live performance, I do wonder how far this style of music, based on sheer aggression, can be pushed before it reaches its limits. finally I see the acts that are able to push sound quality and density to the levels not possible before, and there is not much to be reached after that.
this is why I wish that venetian snares played more diverse set with those wonderful jazzy interludes and atmospheric parts that slowly built up to mashed up breakcore violence that made "doll doll doll" such a fun release to listen to (I do have to say that both did use hip hop samples a few times, that actually worked out quite well). similarities between live performances of venetian snares and xanopticon emphasized how much venetian snares progressed with his latest release. unfortunately this was obvious only to those familiar with his material.
I do have to admit that in terms of heaviness and intensity this style of music bypasses any of the rhythmic industrial acts. soon enough, once those intensity thresholds are reached, one will turn back to other genres, incorporating and referencing them (and not in a sketchy, poorly produced way of early days of the genre), but actually creating a cohesive, well-rounded compositions that would surprise you with different perspectives on familiar styles. this is why I am so glad to see both venetian snares and xanopticon moving closer to the dark technoid realm best represented by hymen label. this convergence of styles and scenes will definitely yield a lot of interesting projects in the future.
surprisingly enough, the crowd was a lot better than I expected. most of the audience obviously did not mind the intensity of the sound. much to my relief the appearance of the crowd lead me to believe that people were there for the music. of course part of it was natural selection – only the most dedicated ones could withstand the freezing air of the warehouse space.
I would definitely watch out for upcoming releases from xanopticon, and would highly recommend seeing both live.