Tokyo Damage Report

19-t breakcore/noise/laptop live

ELECTRONICA LIVE. This was a joint record-release party for DESEPTAGON and CDR. They are part of this collective called 19-T. 19-t is unique because it’s like half Japanese dudes from japan and half white people from all the major white-people countries. They all have little macintosh laptops and so you kind of know there is no rock to be found here. But sometimes I do not want to rock. Sometimes I want to dance and get all nintendo-y and shoot aliens and get ‘an extra guy’, or perhaps eat a power-up of some kind. In that case I go to electronica events. Also in these instances, by ‘power-up’ i mean one dollar sake.

CDR

 

He’s like the young kid of the bunch. His music sounds like fifteen video arcades all full of loud games, all getting physically smooshed together in an earthquake. Not my cup of tea. But his performance was absolutely awesome. First he is ‘conducting’ the laptop like it’s an orchestra and he’s like Lenard Bernstein, but with a glow-stick for a baton. Maybe in your neck of the woods this is cliche, but for me it was sublime. Then, just when that got boring, out of nowhere this guy with a skimask and a harlequin unitard jumps into the middle of the crowd and starts spazzing out just completely. Like there was a bear after him. Several bears. Then, just when THAT gets boring, the cdr HIMSELF somersaults over the computer desk and starts ALSO spazzing out. Then he sort of reverse-saults back over the desk to program some more beats but apparently he landed directly ON his computer so it is broken now. Seemingly unfazed, he picks up a little tin flute and serenades the skimask guy. They do this little jimmy-page-and-robert-plant style duet with tin flute and ululation. Then he grabs the audio plug from the broken computer and starts tapping it with his fingers, making a rhythm out of the 60herz hum. I start pounding my feet in time to this and then other audience people join in, making this kind of communal beat-box thing. I think that was my favorite part.

DESEPTAGON

He did the opposite of the last guy. Instead of hyperactive glitch music he did really slow atmospheric stuff where each part would slowly slowly change into the next part. Starting with just cloudy reverbey whoosy loops of noise, and then gradually adding slow minimal beats to it. And even the beats’ individual drum tones seemed slowed down somehow. Instead of ‘boom, bap, ka-boom boom bap’ it was like, ‘booooommmmm, baaaaaaaaap, kuhhhhhhhh-booooooooom baaaaaaaaaaaaam baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaapppppppppp’ . like an iceberg floating in a sea of molasses, which was ITSELF floating in an even bigger sea of reverb and, beyond that my powers of synasthesia fail me, but just take my word that it was sweet.

KIMKEN

All I remember about homey was his beats were totally clipped and stacatto. And his bass was just like these huge thuds. Like the bass was so low it was coming from ANOTHER band playing downstairs or something. . . And no one was dancing. I don’t think that was Kimken’s fault. No one danced to ANY of the performers. That’s one of the reasons I’m not really enthusiastic about this kind of music. Even the people who LIKE it, seem to have no idea what to DO. Like, are you supposed to just nod thoughtfully at how smart it is? Or dance? Or analyze the technological techniques? Or go into some kind of hippy trance? THEY DON’T FUCKING KNOW. Everybody kind of looking sideways at the other kids like, ‘ok, what’s everyone else doing? I’ll do that.’

COW-P

I take it back. This guy DID get the crowd dancing with his Nintendo gameboy beats. He was joined by ERASER99, who is now doing reggae-style toasting, under the name MC POTATO. Pay attention, this is important. Anyway everyone loves COW-P. his stuff is melodic but still densely layered with noise and beeps, and his little electric megaphone that makes him sound like donald duck. . too bad that all his songs have the same tempo.

MOTHERFUNKER

This guy was the most mainstream of the people here. He was just doing some funk. Just funkity-funk-funk mcfunk. I loved it. He opened up with some kind of 70’s sample and kept layering all kinds of weird flangey loops over it and whooshy filters and stuff, meanwhile with a steady beat keeping everything tied together. I was dancing all over the place and everyone else was just kind of either sleeping (by now it was 3 am) or maybe they were wishing he would play something more distorted and ridiculous.

6955

CANADA’S IN THE HOUSE!!

Like cow-p, 6955 also makes music on a nintendo game-boy. I asked him later, ‘but if your character dies, doesn’t that mean your concert is over?’ but he told me that for a brief time a long time ago the gameboy people made a sequencer for the gameboy. It was like a videogame cartridge, but instead of playing a game, when you put the cart in the boy, you got a little step-recording interface where you could program tunes. Oh, well then. After the music comes out his gameboy, he built like 10 homemade effects pedals all patched together like an old analog synth, and he uses these effects to process the gameboy sounds. It was really fun and amazing but the bass was waaay too loud, couldn’t hardly hear the drums. But whatever. Canada was in the house.

here he’s scraping the sensors on the front of the gameboy with some radio antennas to produce odd static noises. he’s got a myriad of ways to extort sound from this little box. if i had one criticism it’s that his transitions between parts are not smooth. it’s like he’s running a demo of techniques or experiments or something rather than a concert.

UTABI

By the time homey came on I was like, ‘damn, it’s 4:30 am and this is all sounding the same to me.’ I’m sorry I could not give him a fair shake. don’t take that as a dis though because, I never thought I would be able to enjoy one hour of this stuff, let alone enjoy 5 hours of it. . .but i did. but the almost total lack of dancing, AND lack of women (performing OR in the audience) was too bad. Also, everyone besides deseptagon had like their one same speed. Which is odd, because they seem to want to be creative and experimental but then, always in 4/4 time and always with this one speed, and always with this ‘the more loops I have going, the better I am’ mentality. Which, not only does that get old quick, but ? hello!!?you’re using a COMPUTER. You’re not Johann fucking Bach here, doing a 4 part fugue with your bare knuckles! Of COURSE you can do lots of loops. That’s like me saying, ‘look how fast I can copy and paste text! I am the greatest living writer!!!!’

But still I had fun. Don’t get me wrong. You should hear me rank on stuff I DON’T like.

 

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