Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Last night I braved humanity (and humanity braved me!) and hit the town for a special night of music: the launch of PIVIXKI's debut CD on the Sabbatical label. OK, OK... some backtracking is in order... PIVIXKI is a duo consisting of local avant wunderkind, Anthony Pateras, and percussive extraordinaire, Max Kohane, on piano and drums, respectively. Pateras has been playing around town for roughly a decade in all manner of configurations (such as the Pateras/Baxter/Brown trio), but most notably as a solo artist (he's got a CD on Tzadik to prove it); and Kohane is similarly a man who likes to spread himself around, having played in various HC outfits (such as Far Left Limit and the ace Cut Sick), grind kings Agents of Abhorrence, electro duo the Brain Children (w/ Mikey from Eddy Current) and even, apparently, as a solo hip-hop dude (yet to hear that!). Phew! Fill in the gaps, there's still plenty to talk about... But anyhow, let's talk about PIVIXKI. They like to bill themselves as something along the lines of a piano/drums avant-grind outfit, and since no other description fits what they do, I'm willing to go along w/ that. Max, as anyone who's ever seen him play, is a goddamn demon behind the kit, a four-limbed machine of immense precision and power, he's also usually the highlight of every band he plays in. I simply observe in jealous awe and wonder how it is that his arms don't fall off. Pateras' style can vary according to what sort of format or "genre" he's playing in, but for this duo I'd say it's caught somewhere in the netherworlds of Conlon Nancarrow and Cecil Taylor. PIVIXKI are upbeat as all shit: keys are hammered and there's blastbeats aplenty, but there's also occasional stabs at subtlety, giving the songs some space to move in. I get a feeling that as PIVIXKI develop, they're only going to get better - much better - in the same way that the Necks, who aren't totally dissimilar to PIVIXKI (or perhaps I should put that the other way around, though PIVIXKI are kinda like the Necks on crystal meth with song lengths about 1/100ths the duration), have only improved with age over the last two decades, as each member realises the true potential the seemingly limited band format has for them. I see that PIVIXKI's website lists their influences as simply "Discordance Axis and Iannis Xenakis". That's them in a teacup. European tour later in the year. The show, and the accompanying CD they've just released (which is in an edition of 200, so get in quick), rate as some of the best, most invigorating and wholly original music I've come across in recent times. Get on it.

Speaking of Sabbatical, who release all their CDs in editions of 200, you should probably get onto their Naked On The Vague title, Sad Sun, before it goes out of print. I chuckle to myself writing this. Why? Because Sydney's NOTV have got all the hipsters talkin', what w/ the pedigree of being on Siltbreeze and having an arty electro-dirge vibe surrounding their wares and playing all the cool shows and having all the right fans... and I caught 'em supporting Clockcleaner late last year and thought they absolutely blew. I figured 'em to be a whole load o' hype over nuthin'. Their lifeless art-rock dirges sounded like an art-school project which had been misguidedly encouraged by well-meaning folks but which probably ran its natural course after the first rehearsal, their preposterous wank barely even registering a pulse. Of course I was being mean! My prejudice possibly sprung from one basic point: how could a band from Sydney actually be any good? I bought their Sabbatical CD last night - a mere $10 - to see if I could be proved wrong. A friend had recently noted I should give them another go. My socks haven't been blown off, but next time they hit town, I shall peruse. On Sad Sun, NOTV leak out a very pleasant mixture of No Wave scunge-rock and early industrial noise shit a la SPK/'Gristle/CV etc., and whilst it doesn't rewrite the rule book of song as we know it, I don't expect such a thing and certainly don't demand it. I just want the songs to wash through me in a pleasant manner and to evoke something. Sad Sun has done that, at least. 5 songs, 25 minutes. I want to hear more. Sabbatical really does have a buncha great stuff on their imprint. I need to check more of it out, and so should you.

Lots of great things a-happening Down Undah! I've been sent a whole load of promo things lately, and whilst I'll get around to some other goodies at a later date, I'll quickly mention a split 7" twixt FREE CHOICE and MENTAL POWERS which has recently come out on the Fifth Column label. I know next to nothing about the label or why this exists, though I don't request such answers. Sometimes the best records are those which answer no such questions and exist within their own universe. What I do know is this: Free Choice is Jarrod from the Fabulous Diamonds. A solo project. He told me, after I enquired, that his contribution was "pretty derivative, even by my standards". That is correct. If he is assuming it sounds like Harmonia, which it does. That isn't a bad thing at all. His piece, "Green Groove", is a pretty nice slice of metronomic electronic boogie which sounds like it was lifted from Musik Von Harmonia, sure, but no complaints from these quarters. Mental Powers allegedly hail from Perth and that's all I know about 'em. Their track, "Appear/Juniour", is an acoustic psych/drone piece which, at least to me, resembles one of the shorter tracks from Amon Duul 2's Yeti or Dance of the Lemmings. Kinda "tribal" and possessing a flute in a non-horrible context, it does the trick. Which now means I have to say that this is the best Kraut-derived Australian split 7" this year. Or any year. In all seriousness, it contains a handsome full-colour sleeve and I'm happy as heck that this landed on my doorstep for no apparent reason. It's a document of something good going down in these here parts. A little birdy told me S-S might have a few copies of this. Hunt it down.


Pig State Recon said...

What's with the Sydney hate? The Easybeats were from Sydney. Celibate Rifles were from Sydney. And there were . . . others too. Right?

Dave said...

It's all part of a long-running bid for cultural dominance in Australia. In the past - most definitely the '80s - Sydney has had a killer music scene. However, the past 15 years, with a few exceptions, it's been a cultural wasteland.

Anonymous said...

On an unrelated topic, I am curious to know how the Lex Dev blog feels about the Blk Jks




Dave said...

I know nothing about them. Should I? I see they've been licensed to Secretly Canadian. That means white people must like them.

Anonymous said...

Yes ok....they seem to have become a hipster flavour of the month.

Nevertheless, I think they are a fresh take on the guitar rock band and have come way out of left field (Johannesberg for chrissake!). Given your enthusiasm for various African musical endeavours, I am genuinely curious as to what you think of them...check out a few videos on youtube.

Ps: Speaking of Africans, did you see the Spoon Benda Billy, as featured by you on this blog a couple of months back, made it onto the last Mojo mag cover cd???

Bassta! Pex, a.k.a. Gramofonije Plocanovic said...

Hey Dave,
Yes, mental Powers are from Perth, and yes they are awesome. If you came to Bamodi gig I would've told you more about it ;)