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Ken Camden, Brian Foote & M. Geddes Gengras (Musician’s Friend) Daniel Lanois & Rocco Deluca At Temporary Space, Saturday August 29th 2015 Review

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Rocco Deluca and Daniel Lanois

 

Temporary Space, a cool new art gallery in Los Angeles is now hosting evenings of music, and on Saturday night they had ‘An Early Evening of Ambient’ with performances by three different artists. Ken Camden, Musician’s friend (Brian Foote and M. Geddes Gengras) and another duo made of Daniel Lanois and Rocco Deluca, successively played a series of their diverse compositions, more or less on the slow and cinematic side. I knew nothing about the two first bands, but of course knew about Lanois and Deluca, especially producer extraordinaire Daniel Lanois – he produced everyone from U2 to Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, Willie Nelson and The Killers, but we often forget he is a musician on his own.

Ken Camden was first and he played on a guitar laying flat on a table but connected to a lot of electronics. His sound was very quiet but soon turning into an intense drill, like the tense soundtrack of a suspense movie, a one-note-stretching for a Lars Von Trier movie… and I feel sorry about this comparison if you despise Von Trier’s films. It was a very static sound, a vibrating-space-y sound for space movies with George Clooney and no action, and it was bizarre that he was producing this with a guitar! It was also bizarre that it was not boring at all, vibrations are often comforting for some reasons. There was some sort of 2001-Space-Odyssey-entry-in-the-black-hole acceleration and an intense and soothing pulsar ending a track…. He may have played just 3 tracks but it was a trip. Camden says he uses ‘a steel slide and e-bow technique… to bridge the textural gap between guitar and synthesizer’, and I observed him making his guitar strings vibrate by slowly moving a steel on the guitar neck, which seemed to be connected to amps and pedals. But whatever exact technique he may have used using, he was working meticulously on his numerous knobs and pedals, sometimes turning his sound into some space-alien tone, sometimes building it into a church organ dimension.

The second band had a table filled with electronics and keyboard, and the two guys (Brian Foote and M. Geddes Gengras as musician’s friend) were getting busy behind a thrilling organ and noises straight from Star Wars… think R2D2. Then, it got very abstract, but there was still this organ and what it sounded like random ambient noises, some ambient music for gallery, atmospheric music for large empty spaces. Naturally, vibrations came as if we were watching a nature documentary about Africa or some exotic place, there was that kind of vibe and It was again quite cinematic, buoyant and very atmospheric,… sadly there was a constant brouhaha of people chatting in the back of the gallery, partially ruining the experience. Overall, the duo produced some very relaxing music with a few bells chiming and a sort of organic yoga-om in the keyboard.

On the opposite side of the gallery, Daniel Lanois and Rocco Deluca started their set a bit later. Lanois had once again this hell’s angel biker look (I saw him a little while ago at Amoeba), wearing work boots, a beard, large glasses, a cap and a black jeans vest…  by this heat Daniel? There was no air conditioning in the gallery, and I was melting. Sitting behind his pedal steel connected to lots of electronics, he was facing Rocco Deluca also on a lap guitar, they were constantly looking at each other and their respective sliding sounds were responding to each other in a very soothing and melancholic way. These sounds were sad, like some slices of melancholia in slow motion, producing a type of music with no beginning and no end. They seemed to be on a roll as if they were not marking any stop between tracks but they finally did, and after 15 minutes I realized there was an end and then another track,… and they may have played 5 different tracks in over an hour. It was circular as the seasons, Lanois barely seemed to touch the strings, creating louder moments of crying steel going still very slowly, while Deluca was providing light and deaf beats twisting strings during this sprawling fluidness.

As they were playing in front of a large window of the gallery, people (who could not get in?) had packed outside to observe and listen to the music. While Lanois was getting all these swirling, crying high-pitched notes, I was observing people in contemplation as there was a real solemnity and serenity in the music. The third track seemed to have a more defined melody, like a relaxing and meditative walk in the desert,… actually all they played had a desert inspiration, the bliss of a promising and luminous morning, at least it was my feeling, as the stretching songs were mimicking the elasticity of time, getting close to classical concerto for strings. It was a night for subtle sounds, a night for electronica and a hot summer night.

More pictures of the evening here.

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