Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Acid Mothers Temple & Jackie-O MF

Thursday 6th November - In the morning, got word that Pok was in Exeter and planning to see some permutation of Japan's fabulous Acid Mothers Temple collective at The Cavern that night. It being grey and rainy in Kent, and feeling in need of adventure, I jumped on a coach and (reading Lenny Susskind's book on String Theory and the Anthropic Principle to ease the journey) made it just in time.

This configuration turned out to be the four-piece "Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso UFO" (heavy proto-Hawkwind riffage with squelchy analogue synth noises). It was pretty relentless, but it worked (just a bit of gliss guitar from main man Kawabata Makoto). Exactly what my head needed at that time. The place was nicely packed, and well into it. Support came from Turin's post-rock trio Stearica - we caught almost the whole of their (excellent) set.

Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso UFO
Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso UFO

While down there, I noticed on a flyer that Jackie-O MF were playing on the Sunday! Excellent - have wanted to see them for a while. That was quite a contrast - no more than 30 people in attendance (someone will have lost some money there, a shame) on a cold wet Sunday night. Half of JOMF played a support set consisting of a single piece of psych-drone-folk (or whatever you call it) - two guitars, lots of effects, dreamy vocals...I've since deduced that this was Valet (Honey Owens' project). Knowing that JOMF these days is reduced to pretty much Tom Greenwood and whoever, I thought perhaps this brief set was all we were going to get. But after a while, the same duo returned with another guitarist and a drummer to play a thoroughly mesmerising set. Again, it was really just one long piece (there was a bit of a lull in the middle while they shifted directions, but not long or distinct enough to squeeze any applause in). I recognised "Hey Mr. Sky" in the mix, but it wasn't really about songs. "I guess we're done?" mumbled the tall guitarist/singer in the hat (Nick Bindeman? It's a bit of a logic puzzle trying to work out who's who in this band)..."DJ?" and they shuffled off the tiny stage.

The general spaciness, the average age of the members and the fact they're from Portland, Oregon did make me wonder during their set if they would've attended any Grateful Dead shows in the 80's or 90's. And when I got home and checked their (reassuringly shambolic) MySpace profile, I saw "Sounds Like: henry flynt playing over the deads' space jam".

So, very possibly.

But who is this Henry Flynt? That's what Wikipedia's for! Opening http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Flynt was one of those occasions where you feel like you've opened a door into a whole new annex on the cultural universe that you had no idea was there. Go ahead, open it...

* * *

During the intervening weekend, Thomas showed me an incredible documentary called Brasil in Time, featuring a couple of elderly American jazz-drumming legends visiting Sao Paolo to jam with their legendary Brazilian samba counterparts, three god-like US hiphop DJ's (Cut Chemist from Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli, Babu from Dilated Peoples and J. Rocc from the Beat Junkies) plus Brazilian DJ Nuts and the incomparable Madlib waxing obliquely philosophical and playing crazy samba rhythms on the buttons of his 303. There's some great footage of the DJ's out shopping for second-hand vinyl around the city, and then using their purchases to work out complex samba rhythms on the decks - four DJ's and eight turntables plus Madlib! It all ends in a monster jam (drummers and DJs together) at a Sao Paolo club - certainly like nothing you've seen before. It's a bit like a Brazilian/hiphop Buena Vista Social Club. The only downside was the lack of subtitles when the Brazilian legends were speaking Portuguese - but their expressive body language and facial expressions almost makes up for it.

Can't find much online about the film, but there seems to have been some follow-up activity


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