A noise performance is a lot like the retelling of a 15th century nautical expedition by the author Washingtion Irving. The tools are rough, the maps are elusive at best, and every bloody person is insisting that the world is flat. Ben Hargreaves and Katherine Kline themselves pushed off into the great unknown this past Thursday evening on their craft known as Dreamcatcher, providing a dense and memorable 45 minute set at Le Divan Orange.
In direct contrast to the pomp and circumstance surrounding POP Montreal’s marquee show featuring Beck at the Bell Centre, local promoters Mandatory Moustache were put to task to provide the impetus for this year’s festival slogan: ‘music for the people’. What resulted was a series of excellent shows that cost next-to-nothing and took place nightly at the charming Le Divan Orange between 6 and 9 p.m. Thursday’s line up featured some of Montreal’s most challenging performers and the outcome was varied, but nevertheless devoured by a packed house.
Dreamcatcher have garnered a small but devout following as of late after playing a slew of shows while on tour with USA is a Monster and noise super-group Et Sans (who also performed on Thursday), as well as a mythological showing at the Lightning Bolt headlined Earthunder Festival in early September. But the warm hues and living room aesthetic of the venue proved to be the most apropos setting for Dreamcatcher to bewilder and astonish with their rich mixture of live instrumentation and programmed beats. The duo performed a nice selection of about a half-dozen tracks that often seemed to ascend in a similar dramatic fashion, opting for a ‘tension and release’ modus operandi.
Indeed, what was noticeably absent from the group’s September foray in the Ontario forest at Earthunder was Dreamcatcher’s palatable equilibrium of consonance and dissonance. The marriage of hip hop and dancehall beats provided easy access for any ear to enjoy the reframing of sound that is at the heart of the finest experimental music.
There is a tendency to shuck bands like Dreamcatcher aside because of their propensity to delve into tempered noisy meanderings, but for Dreamcatcher, there is a method to this madness. Thursday’s truly danceable rhythms merely provided the near-faulty compose and rough map for the listener to wander over the edge of a flat world.