Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From Gapers Block Re: Gerritt's Chicago Show on Friday


Above: Gerritt

Folks, I'm gonna lay all my cards on the table; no headline-burying for you lovely souls today. Gerritt is playing in Chicago this Friday (at Metal Shaker, 3394 N. Milwaukee, 9 p.m./$5/21+). For those with chaos-hungry ears, who can (and will) take the time to differentiate between the thousand ways to to make the great din new and exciting, no more need be said, and you've already trampled the messenger on your way to line up at Metal Shaker for tickets. If you're unsure but interested, here's the brief version.

Gerritt Wittmer first launched the Gerritt project in 1998, though the throttle really got slammed into high gear with the release of his Space Level Blaze CD in 2005 (on his own Misanthropic Agenda label, a label that has released all manner of big names in the din game: Merzbow, Bastard Noise, Boris, and Sissy Spacek). It's an old saw that every noise artist eventually gets compared (favorably or otherwise) to Merzbow, but Space Level Blaze truly matched Masami Akita's laptop-age demolitions pound for pound and then some, a stroboscopic, digi-noise heart-stopper that stands tall amongst the heavy-hitters in computer noise. 2007's Proof of Powers veered off into a terrain better suited for comparison with recent John Wiese recordings (it's no surprise that the two collaborated on a short, punch EP entitled The Disappearing Act, also in 2007), with the slower, more deliberate editing also being applied to less conventional sound sources, assorted groans and gurgles layered purely and exquisitely to create sonic abattoirs filled to the brim with thin-sliced vocal chords and fist-sized chunks of pumice.

Recently, rumors have been filtering out from Wittmer's Oakland, CA HQ that a new direction and approach has been discovered and is being developed. Friday's performance, titled 'The Message,' will work within a compositional structure of some kind, perhaps involving some sort of body-action, a la Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock, sound poetry in the realms of Henri Chopin or Graham Lambkin, or brainwave-manipulation in the tradition of Eric Lunde's De Sade or Pierre Henry's Cortical Art III. It's hard to tell -- I only have photos and artifacts of the past to go on.

Joining Wittmer will be Chicago's only Lebanese Power Electronics practitioner (that I know of) Koufar, a forceful and thematically-charged project that lays loops of traditional Lebanese music over thunderous declamations of racial strife and territorial outrage, outrage gleaned first-hand by Koufar's Waddiah Chami as he helped his family evacuate during recent conflicts at the hands of Hezbollah. Opening will be Katchmare's Nick Hoffman, and throughout, DJ sets by Slow Electronics (who seem to be some sort of Power Electronics critique act -- the web site, promising an end to 'crypto-fascist Patriarchal Power Electronics,' makes cloudy concepts cloudier through murky rhetoric, so I hope that the audio will explain all) will drown out the damned infernal silence.

Bonus: $5 door donation will get the first 20 attendees a free copy of the Drenched Hands cassette, a Gerritt remix of the Locrian album Drenched Lands.

— Chris Sienko / Comments (0)