Percussive Psycho Psonic

Show Review:

Cyberbuss Costume Ball, 1998
Saturday May 30, 1998

Went to one of the most amazing parties I have ever gone to in my life! The CyberBuss costume ball, pm until the sunrise pancakes.  Costumesmandatory.  Warehouse district somehwere in the bowels of The City. [CyberBuss is heavily involved in Burning Man, and the party showed it.]

The highlight was a group called F-Space.  I wanted to capture that feeling before it dissipated, so I wrote this up.
Nighttime.  Costumes.  It's about...3 maybe, but no one had any idea the time.  From a distance, I hear the sounds of drums.  Big drums.  And I mean a *massive* sound.

I declare, of course, that I must go check this out.

Two guys are playing oil drums and a huge metal sheet mounted on a frame. The speakers are beyond overload.  At one point, they even blew a fuse.The sound pounded right through you unhindered and out into space,unstoppable like cosmic rays.  The sound didn't merely overwhelm you, so much as the fact you were so insignificant in comparison that I don'tthink the sound knew you were there at all.

Two guys.

The one with the blonde mohawk, no shirt and army pants was intent on the playing.  Expressionless, the artwork moved through his body.  And artit was.  He was unflinching and unemotional.

He brought out [what he later called] "Thor."  If ever there were an instrument worthy of the name, this was it.

A metal pipe.  Rusty.  About 4' tall.  Strung around it with 4-5 springs on wires -- connected *directly* to pickups of some sort.From the stage, he took Thor and hopped off the stage, and SLAMMED one
end down on the pavement in front of the crowd.  The sound coming out of thespeakers cannot be described.  The earth shook -- but not from the speakers.  The earth itself shook.

He dragged Thor around on the ground -- now, imagine the sound of a solid steel pipe being dragged on the ground...with those heavy shock-springseach strung seperately up and down around the outside...and these are hooked to pickups.  Indescribable.  Then, pick it up and **SLAM** itupright into the ground.  Drag... drag.... agonizingly slow...**!!!WHAM!!!***  It was Creation itself.  It was the birth of
stars. It was the death of galaxies.

The other guy -- quieter, glasses, non-descript [meaning his amazingness was obviously to be understood through his work] hit sticks and hisfists on the drums above on the stage.

The Thor-player lay Thor on its side on the pavement and took out some drumsticks and played a fast continuous beat on the wassubtle and sweet and light...continually, continually, he played...and moving imperceptiably closer to those didn't have to seewhat was coming.  You felt it in your body.  The light tapping was the same sound exactly before a wave crashes -- the silent anticipation wasdeafening and immense.

Closer...closer...and a few light taps on the strings and springs -- *exPLOsive* sounds!!! -- then back to tapping...continually, continually, until the sounds had utterly died away and you could hear the
tapping...then AGAIN!!  Closer and closer, more and more...the music -- which is what it was -- built to an immense depth.  Thor had subtlety.It was the difference between fire and electricity.  Fire is uncontrollable,but electricity utterly controlled.  Thor was a true instrument with
heart and soul.

The next piece they played began as a Thor solo.  The Thor-player laid the top end against his chest like a bass.  He began tapping the largestspring with his fingertips.  It was like the clap of sound when plugging in headphones on a stereo turned fully on, yet in 16/16 and multiplied 100fold.  It was thunder itself up close.  He tapped continually, and I could feel the rhythm within the sphere of noise surrounding the trancedmasses around the stage.  He played that piece of scrap metal as a meistro
would caress a violin.

I was no longer in my body at this point.  I existed in a 1 cubic centimeter of space: the space between his fingers and the spring.  Iwas in that exact center of noise.  The center of the Universe.  [I'd hadabout 3 sips of wine max...]

Playing...and playing...and playing...  Each string and spring had a subtlety of it's own.  This was something that could be *tuned*, thoughhow would one tune the sounds of thunder?  Then, there was a voice.Something beyond the unbelieveable feedback in the speakers.

Slowly, I started to make out the was a guitar being played by the other guy.  Guitar.  Feedback goes without saying.  They were on 11. 111 if it existed.  The guitar and Thor blended perfectly.  Thor was the foundation, the guitar the decoration which gave it depth and completion.


Then the next piece began as the Thor player walked around the stage, obviously setting up for something.  He nonchelantly moved the fireextinguisher into reach of the crowd at the side of the stage, then poured a bottle of something without question flammable into the tops of theoil drums.  Splashed it onto the metal sheet hanging over the drumset.  He came on then with a *huge* oddly-shaped torch and lit everything on fire.

Then he began to play.

Water on a drumhead when played spatters upward into the air.
*Flamable*liquid on the other hand would then *mix* with the air.  Therefore, every beat on the drum sent up a huge column of flames -- over 3' high.
thupthupthup WHAM!!! WHAMWHAM!!!
And the guitar continued in the background.

The crowd was absorbed into the sounds, burnt to ashes, and we were gone. The music continued.

Somewhere in all of this, the Thor-player cut his eyebrow between his eyes. I trickle of blood ran alongside his nose, and onto his lips.  His facedidn't move.  He was obviously not in his body.  His body was in thesound, and the sound was oblivious to the blood on his face.

Thor came out again.  Slammed onto the tops of the drums.  It seemed almost anti-climactical to me.  There just wasn't anywhere left for the soundto go.  It had consumed everything.  He picked up the drum, and -- emotionless, like a concentrating painter -- slammed it onto the stage.All of the drums had pickups attached.  Some might have had springs inside them that the pickups were attached to.  Again, he slammed another drum onto the stage.  Then threw them on top of eachother.  Soon, it was
obvious what was next.  He slammed an oil drum into the set of drums and the metal sheet.  In slow motion, the set collapsed, yet he was relentless, like someone killing The Beast.  Motionless was not an indication of death...he picked up and slammed oil drums onto the heap until they were no longer
on the stage at all, then he followed them off stage and kept slaying them, dragging behind the ragged coils of wires like entrails, some stillplugged into pulsing amps.  He continued beyond what any mortal would considerfinished...he knew what he was doing.

It was not the climax.

He came out now with a saw of some sort -- a quiet piece of music this time -- mounted to an over-turned metal pail.  He turned it on and sparksshot out over the crowd.  The saw must've also had a pickup in it because the saw-sound seemed larger than life.

Then they blew another fuse.  And the show was over.

Later, I ran into the Thor-player at the sunrise pancake line and chatted.  His name was Scot and he was modest and borderline shy.  He discussed theoil-drumset, Thor, and what flammable liquid he used, like a painter would discuss color balance, lighting and negative space.

He shrugged off the bandaid on his upper nose as he ate his pancakes. He gave me his card, and when I took it in my hands, I felt...a charge, ora reaction to it...I turned it over, and it was 40 grit *sandpaper*.  Hesmiled and said many people had found his cards came in handy. :)

He handed us a flyer for a show this thursday.

9pm to 2am, no cover charge at The Abstract Zone,
1034 39th st.

Here's the web page:
I suggest you explore the page sometime.  I wish I could give you the feelings I
felt this past saturday night.  Also

- Kiki

fspace 'at'
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