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A unique experience to remember

by admin October 13, 2009

A unique experience to remember

by admin October 13, 2009

Psychedelia emerged from the San Fransisco sound of the 1960’s. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, became the cornerstones of a movement that had an experimental edge and heavy doses of illicit substances.
Today the psychedelic sound of San Fransisco is very much alive but it’s branched out and extended it’s reach.
Om, locals of San Fransisco, play what is described as “stoner doom metal.” Picture the heavy bass and drum lines of Black Sabbath, add in that experimental edge of San Fransisco, and throw in some Nietzsche just to darken the mix.
Headlining at La Sala Rossa on Saturday, Om was joined by Montreal’s thisquietarmy, and Chicago’s Lichens.
The three groups are curious in that they share no more than four members between them. thisquietarmy is the solo project of Eric Quach, Lichens is Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, and Om consists of Al Cisneros and Emil Amos.
The video installation and raw sonic emotion that is thisquietarmy opened the show. With Quach often crouched in the sidelines with his guitar, his multimedia installation took centre stage.
As you are transported into waking-life by pulsing distortion and flashing images on screen, it becomes easy to forget that one man is responsible for the textured experience. Yet, every sound was being created in real-time with a dozen effect pedals and three loop-samplers.
Quach faces a number of challenges working alone.
“The main challenge is to create something interesting despite the limitations of being one person, which is easier to do in studio. To bring the tracks into a live environment, it took an endless amount of experimentation to push the boundaries of a solo performance while still maintaining your integrity.”
Quach says being an army of one is the story of his life. “Which is why this project makes even more sense,” he said. “But it works for me as I’ve always been independent and done things my own way.”
Despite Quach’s ability to juggle layer upon layer of sound all by himself, thisquietarmy has no vocals.
“The lack of vocals, in this case, is freeing because the emotions are rawer and it leaves the music completely opened.”
The audience is left to interpret the music as they wish, in the context of their own lives. Whether they did so Saturday night is unknown, but thisquietarmy did attract a silent and meditative crowd.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s Lichens was next on the bill. The basis for Lichens is self-described on Lowe’s website as “spontaneous improvisational composition by form and function.”
Lowe’s presence on stage is electrifying. The Chicago-based artist quietly sat down on a chair and began to whistle with the breath of a bird into the mic, which he then looped. Throwing guitar into the mix, his score became increasingly rich.
This was but the beginning. Lowe has a unique voice, capable of expression unknown, which he isn’t shy to showcase. He proceeded to emit an otherworldly tone, teeth barring with his eyes rolling.
Lichens drew the crowd in. People craned to get a view of this marvel. He was a lion roaring, a mystic possessed. And then it was over.
Finally, the feature presentation straight from San Francisco: Om.
The duo, Al Cisneros and Emil Amos took the stage: Cisneros on bass and vocals, and Amos on drums. Lowe also accompanied them for a couple of songs.
This is the stoner-rock the crowd has been waiting for. Head-thrashing heavy bass riffs, and hard-hitting drums, accompanied by Cisneros’ monotone melodic vocals.
The twist is a slant toward the spiritual. Om’s most recent album God is Good, includes frequent references to a number of religions.
Om performed a great live set and catered to their fans. Cisneros’ religious-referencing vocals were something of a culmination of the night’s energy.
The transition from thisquietarmy’s vocal-less ambient surge to Lichens’ voice as an instrumental revelation, to Om’s next to God chants, could not have been better presented.
Was this the pilgrimage I thought it might be? A last look at the mostly male long-haired stoner-rockers in skinny jeans that made up the crowd tells me maybe not. But, it was definitely an experience.

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Psychedelia emerged from the San Fransisco sound of the 1960’s. Bands like Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company, became the cornerstones of a movement that had an experimental edge and heavy doses of illicit substances.
Today the psychedelic sound of San Fransisco is very much alive but it’s branched out and extended it’s reach.
Om, locals of San Fransisco, play what is described as “stoner doom metal.” Picture the heavy bass and drum lines of Black Sabbath, add in that experimental edge of San Fransisco, and throw in some Nietzsche just to darken the mix.
Headlining at La Sala Rossa on Saturday, Om was joined by Montreal’s thisquietarmy, and Chicago’s Lichens.
The three groups are curious in that they share no more than four members between them. thisquietarmy is the solo project of Eric Quach, Lichens is Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, and Om consists of Al Cisneros and Emil Amos.
The video installation and raw sonic emotion that is thisquietarmy opened the show. With Quach often crouched in the sidelines with his guitar, his multimedia installation took centre stage.
As you are transported into waking-life by pulsing distortion and flashing images on screen, it becomes easy to forget that one man is responsible for the textured experience. Yet, every sound was being created in real-time with a dozen effect pedals and three loop-samplers.
Quach faces a number of challenges working alone.
“The main challenge is to create something interesting despite the limitations of being one person, which is easier to do in studio. To bring the tracks into a live environment, it took an endless amount of experimentation to push the boundaries of a solo performance while still maintaining your integrity.”
Quach says being an army of one is the story of his life. “Which is why this project makes even more sense,” he said. “But it works for me as I’ve always been independent and done things my own way.”
Despite Quach’s ability to juggle layer upon layer of sound all by himself, thisquietarmy has no vocals.
“The lack of vocals, in this case, is freeing because the emotions are rawer and it leaves the music completely opened.”
The audience is left to interpret the music as they wish, in the context of their own lives. Whether they did so Saturday night is unknown, but thisquietarmy did attract a silent and meditative crowd.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s Lichens was next on the bill. The basis for Lichens is self-described on Lowe’s website as “spontaneous improvisational composition by form and function.”
Lowe’s presence on stage is electrifying. The Chicago-based artist quietly sat down on a chair and began to whistle with the breath of a bird into the mic, which he then looped. Throwing guitar into the mix, his score became increasingly rich.
This was but the beginning. Lowe has a unique voice, capable of expression unknown, which he isn’t shy to showcase. He proceeded to emit an otherworldly tone, teeth barring with his eyes rolling.
Lichens drew the crowd in. People craned to get a view of this marvel. He was a lion roaring, a mystic possessed. And then it was over.
Finally, the feature presentation straight from San Francisco: Om.
The duo, Al Cisneros and Emil Amos took the stage: Cisneros on bass and vocals, and Amos on drums. Lowe also accompanied them for a couple of songs.
This is the stoner-rock the crowd has been waiting for. Head-thrashing heavy bass riffs, and hard-hitting drums, accompanied by Cisneros’ monotone melodic vocals.
The twist is a slant toward the spiritual. Om’s most recent album God is Good, includes frequent references to a number of religions.
Om performed a great live set and catered to their fans. Cisneros’ religious-referencing vocals were something of a culmination of the night’s energy.
The transition from thisquietarmy’s vocal-less ambient surge to Lichens’ voice as an instrumental revelation, to Om’s next to God chants, could not have been better presented.
Was this the pilgrimage I thought it might be? A last look at the mostly male long-haired stoner-rockers in skinny jeans that made up the crowd tells me maybe not. But, it was definitely an experience.

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