Friday, December 11, 2015

Recording: Phèdre

Artist: Phèdre

Song: Tivoli

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 2), December 5, 2014.

Phèdre - Tivoli

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts. The second night even upped the ante by adding lasers!

April Aliermo and Dan Lee's Phèdre project mixes grimy dance beats with scuzzy punk exuberance. It employs different tools than the pair deploy as Tonkapuma (or as half of Hooded Fang) but the energy behind it is the same. The pair slipped a few new high-energy bangers into this set, including this one that sounds a wee bit like a hyper-caffeinated guess at what Alvin and The Chipmunks covering Omar Souleyman might sound like.1

1 Having jotted that comparison down in my notepad, my brain naturally turned to the next stage of wondering what would happen if you took this and played it at 16 RPM, in the style of the recent Chipmunks redux. It turns out it would sound like this.

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