Saturday, February 5, 2011

concert review: KTL in Festsaal Kreutzberg, Berlin

Yesterday I saw  KTL, the project of Stephen O'Malley from Sunn O))) - on guitar - and Peter Rehberg from Mego - on electronics (I didn't think of taking my camera so I have no picture, anyway the stage was very dark and full of smoke so there wasn't much to shoot). 

KTL plays the expected but enjoyable drone/doom characteristic of Sunn O))) and to be honest the electronics in it doesn't add much to the genre. Thought its sharpness, amplitude and aggressiveness, Rehberg's sound lacks the richness of O'Malley's guitar and after a while it falls on the wrong side of minimalism, becoming almost tedious (and I don't have a pro-guitar bias, I enjoy and play electronic music as much as guitar one; I actually witnessed something similar with a guitar duo gathering Keiji Haino and JF Pauvros, where Pauvros was completely overwhelmed by his partner - after a while you couldn't even hear him at all but it was better like this).

KTL played two long pieces, the first one a two notes drone song, beautiful and intense. O'Malley played with an e-bow and most variations came from imprecisions and accidents - e-bow playing is very difficult to master - and I always enjoyed this approach to experimental music. As I noticed in my Altar review, it sounded quite like heavily distorted 4AD, let's say it felt like the crossing of Dead Can Dance and Popol Vuh played in a sawmill, the soundtrack of a 2099 Werner Herzog/Klaus Kinsky movie we'll never see. Quite tripping indeed.

The second piece was less interesting, based on a super slow and heavy doom riff by O'Malley, sometimes evolving in seemingly improvised bridges, with Rehberg making some noise on top. It feels that the complete sonic chaos I enjoy so much in Japanese ultra-noise doesn't work for drone/doom sound and prevents the expansion of complex frequencies that makes it so special. The lack of inspiration was quickly blatant; with such intense music it is counterproductive to play a one hour set as expected in a rock concert - even if you pay the same price... 

And now a little bit of guitkism, O'Malley played his trademark Travis Bean TB1000S down-tuned probably in A (though it's not a baritone scale), plugged I assume in Sunn model-Ts but the amps on stage didn't bare a logo, but one big Fender. Most of the pedals on his pedal board are unidentifiable - customs or DIY in alu boxes covered with tape - but a ProCo Rat and I think a Blue Beard. There was also a lot of reverb and echo, and the sound is so low that I thought he used an octaver - though it's never mentioned in his rings descriptions.

And in echo to my previous concert review, I must add that unfortunately this year again I won't see PJ Harvey on stage, the next concert is not sold-out this time, just unaffordable. For 60€, I'd rather go to the opera - it seems that now live pop music is an upper-class recreational activity.

No comments:

Post a Comment

gUitarREN's facebook

gUitarREN on Facebook