January 31, 2012

Purkinje Shift, Cinemechanica, Rizzudo

Filed under: Atlanta music — Frederick Noble @ 3:29 pm Share RSS

I’m so far behind on reviews I may have to skip a few, but I wanted to get to this one because it covers bands I hadn’t seen before and a genre I don’t see often.

A couple of weeks back I went to 529 to catch a bunch of math rock. I was delighted to hear the show had been designated “no smoking.” (Cry all you like, junkies, I hate your second hand stench.) This was a particular boon on a cold, rainy night when the smokers would normally crowd inside, causing my eyes to burn and my jacket to be unwearable for days after.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the smoke that forced me out into the cold. It was the cold, mechanical precision of Purkinje Shift’s take on math rock. Yes, it is a genre that only exists becauseof such precision, but I couldn’t stand their particular version – one long, occasionally shifting, angular tune that felt like it was on the brink of going somewhere but never arriving. I was reminded of a line from a Marx Brothers movie, “Say, if you get near a tune, play it.” It’s not that Purkinje Shift’s music lacks a tune, you just wish there were more of one, or occasionally less of the same one. To quote from the same scene in Animal Crackers, ”I can’t remember how it ends,” says Chico as he keeps circling back to the same few bars.

Purkinje Shift

They were incredibly technically skilled and the music creates a sort of tension that is difficult to describe. But despite them being legends on the local math rock scene, if there can be such a thing, it wasn’t something I enjoyed. I didn’t even bother to elbow my way through the dense crowd of bearded music geeks to get a decent photo. Soon I was at the bar watching it on 529′s big closed circuit TV, then out onto the deck once the rain let up.

Next up, Cinemechanica. I enjoyed them, but not nearly as much as a trio of guys in the front who “danced”, for lack of a better term, as if they were musical conductors on crank. One would point at a guitarist, shake his finger, then suddenly bend over at the waist and shake his head furiously, only to lurch upright and point back and forth as each musician took a turn at the lead. Math rock tends to inspire a more distant, intellectual stance in its fans but it had these guys by the short hairs.

Cinemechanica

Cinemechanica

CinemechanicaCinemechanica hail from Athens. Their sound is a bit looser than Purkinje Shift, a bit more jammy, with occasional vocals added to the mix. I’d say “Maybe I’d just had enough alcohol to relax and enjoy them, compared to the opening act,” but this music doesn’t lend itself to alcohol. It’s twitchier than that. I had a coke (the cola kind, that is) instead and fell into the groove.

Last, Rizzudo, featuring Gill Henry Durant – yes, the same guy that does the hilarious hip hop Christmas show. I’d seen Rizzudo maybe once a few years back but they haven’t played in quite a while. It’s got the speed and precision of math rock but fattened up with vocals and keyboards. Unfortunately, the guys have so many fans that I couldn’t push my way through the crowd and resorted to using a flash from the back of the room.

Rizzudo

Rizzudo

Rizzudo

And I was able to wear my jacket the next day? Sweet!

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