Friday, January 11, 2013

Cloud/Splitter and Phantahex @ the Red Room (1/10/13)

Last Thursday was a good news/bad news day for me.  Bad news: I got laid off from my day job.  Good news: I won't need to get up at 5:30 a.m. anymore, I'll get to focus more on developing content for this blog (reviews, interviews, etc.) and I'll have more time to write non-blog-related stuff (stories, essays, etc.).  So really, I suppose that the good news far outweighs the bad.  Y'know, aside from that whole lack-of-steady-income thing...

Anyway, this show caught my interest because it featured Cloud/Splitter, a new local electronica group whose music I had checked out on ReverbNation and liked very much.  I'd missed their Liquid show on December 21st--and, judging from the pictures that the band has on their Facebook page, that gig was really something--so I didn't want to let this opportunity pass by.

I counted about thirteen people when I got down to the Red Room.  The crowd would build to about twenty by the time that Cloud/Splitter played.  Modest, but not too bad when one considers the crapload of snow that got dumped on Boise earlier in the day.

Local experimental duo Phantahex kicked off the night's music.  This set showed off some new wrinkles to this group's sound.  Gone was Tristan Andreas's monochord; in were some slinky, steady-grooving beats.  In addition to these change-ups, Andreas and partner Grant Olsen harnessed their blaring, droning, wailing synthesizers to material far more pop-like than I'd heard from them in the past.  Their haunting, otherworldly tunes called to mind Brian Eno at times, Tangerine Dream at others, Gary Numan and Trent Reznor at others.  No matter how disquieting the music became, however, Andreas and Olsen still managed to work in a light, playful touch.  Substantially more interesting and pleasurable than Blurred-Vision.

Cloud/Splitter played next and lived up to the promise of their recordings.  Ashley Rose Smith's bewitching wail led the listener into the waves of driving, funky beats, mind-warping synthesizer sounds (courtesy of Malik Knoll) and elegant, chiming guitar (courtesy of Krispen Hartung).  When paired with some projections of wavy, translucent lines and shapes, the sensuousness of the music was overpowering--kinda like Collide but not nearly as corny.  Happily, the Red Room received an influx of twenty-somethings during this set who were more than willing to get their groove on.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.

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