Saturday, 6 July 2013

sweet mother logic june 5

Sweet Mother Logic | Divan Orange


Under an oppressive night sky, above four thousand miles of allochthonous geological groupings, surrounded on all sides by the oscillating whirs of urban activity (thankfully stifled by the walls of Divan Orange), I sat in a chair in front of a stage and watched and listened to and felt Sweet Mother Logic.

This is a band that offers no run-of-the mill live performance. They are not fat, bearded people with piano accompaniment and voices of angels. They are not a singer-songwriter climbing on stage solo to play variations of I-IV-V chord progressions while singing about the girl who dun’ gone away. They are not a spiky-haired female trio jamming electro synth-pop with a twist.
In the spirit of categorization: they are a neo-progressive five-piece instrumental band, as captivating as they are experimental, as nostalgic as they are epic. The answer to a cinematic music nerd’s prayers.
Visually, things got interesting before the show began. The projector in back of the stage was rolled down tight, its blank surface daring us to guess the images to come. Cello player Justin was in charge of the electrical technicalities of the band’s set-up. He hooked the laptop to the projector, customized the proper screenshots, fixed the myriad wires to the band members’ instruments. He seemed anxious to get the show going, his jolted movements that of a mouse trying to find the hole in a wall. Mostly he was busy perfecting the optical candy of Sweet Mother Logic’s live act: each member had a light bulb hanging over their head. Its dim rays shone whenever the person under it would make music.
After the band took their places and breaths, silence quickly engulfed the crowd. Then the sounds came. No introduction – nada.
They began with long, heavy notes from an ambient synth. Then the drummer said Hey! by linearly tapping the shiny parts of his kit. We were then made aware that he had a kick and a snare; his hits grew thinner and more frequent, building up to something huge. Just when we thought the rhythm had no room to expand, his arm thundered down onto the first cymbal crash and the guitar man burst into the soundscape. His notes were simple, maybe even cookie-cut, yet they brought adventure to mind. His amp was on some 8-bit penny arcade setting that sounded retro and cool in contrast with what the keyboardist and drummer were doing. This was all rhythm – ground for the violin and cello to dance on. And dance they did. The ravaging, enrapturing string duet began to form a whirlwind of naturopathic sounds.
There were suggestions of infinite symphonies within each bar; there were modal renovations that I wouldn't dare throw words at. Not to suggest that there was any shredding or exhibitionism happening – actually only the drummer, whose quick hitting provided a modern backdrop to the gang's melodies, seemed to be giving his instrument a beating. This band has the rare talent of finding simple, breathtaking yet totally fresh melodies hidden beneath the ancient scales. The musicianship was masterful on all ends, and the strings, which took us up past the dark purple clouds and into heaven, exhibited one shining characteristic: fluidity.
Some of the scenes on the projector: shots of Earth taken from space, slow-motion egg cracks, cartoon tribal dances, a car driving along a countryside road. Of course there were the light bulbs, flickering like a good idea above the musicians’ heads.
You should see these people play if it is at all possible (and you know it is). The abstraction on stage had a way of slyly crawling into skulls, forming abstractions in consciousness. Maybe it was the (more than a) couple beers, or maybe I experienced true separation from mind, but the longer Sweet Mother Logic would play, the more lost and loose-headed I felt. The aesthetic in my range of sight started to blur after I don’t know how long. The unworded stories they were telling began to swirl into each other. There were sword fights to the death over a one true love, race cars that went so fast they left the stratosphere. I saw a pterodactyl play bridge with my grandmother and heard a crystal-clear voice in my right ear say ‘Wake up.’ There were woodland creatures that could speak English, and they fed me gossip about their cheating relatives, and lumber jacks. Maybe I had too much beer.
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