Title: 8 10 2013 Cleveland Taxidermy Palace
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
I’d like to talk about a video. You should watch it. It’s a performance, in Cleveland, of a very old internet acquaintance of mine in the music game by the name of Redsk. This video is, in my humble opinion…
One of the most masterful performances in the genre of Noise of all time.
… and I do not say that lightly. I mean, as a long-time fan of noise music, I really can’t say that lightly.
The whole thing is complex, layered, with a variety of observable levels on which to enjoy it. I’m going to try to break it down a little with some of the impressions I received while watching… intently watching, really, as there’s almost no other way to watch it but intently. It’s an intense fucking performance!
First, the setting. I feel like this is perhaps one of the most important elements to the video! It takes place in what appears to be a basement. There is a small gathering of people walking to and from unseen areas. I don’t know the people present, who they are, what they’ve done, if they’re… y’know… cool in real life or not… but, in the context solely of this video, they appeared to me as almost like… idiots, really. Meaningful idiots, though, from the people walking around speaking to each other about private personal affairs who appeared entirely oblivious, unable to appreciate the majesty of the art taking place before them, to the people who stop and stare with blank faces, to the incessant heckler who never lets up from the moment his authority to limply move the table Redsk’s set up on and then complain (barely audible) about the p.a. goes unattended by the artist — who’s actions betray throughout this performance an apparent certainty that he’s going to be co-starring in a completely different kind of video than the one he’s actually in, something “awkward”, of limited appeal. Really, he’s like an ape in an opera house, laughing and shitting himself. I’m probably being too harsh! He’s probably totally alright, I am not trying to judge any of these people for who they really are, or determine anything of lasting value about them, but only discuss them as they appear within the confines of this art piece, as characters depicting… something of sublime meaning, maybe even as living allegories for societies’ denseness regarding artistic expression (I’m often guilty of the same, I think we all are at times). Honestly, for one half of the video I began to consider that maybe the heckler was a planned part of the performance.
There is no stage. Redsk, completely in command of himself and his psyche — no one gets in this guy’s head the whole time — is on level footing with everyone else in the room. There is no pretense; in this egalitarian space it is only by the actions of the participants that any of them can be judged a fool or a master of the universe.
Second, the music. There is a lot of restraint. It feels like controlled chaos, but there’s more at work here in both how the gear is treated and how it all sounds. Somehow, despite the latter portion of the performance essentially involving knocking all of the machines off the overturned table, there is a large degree of discernible purpose and meaning to the actions of the artist. I mean, the former is objectively valid, the latter may be my subjective interpretation! I couldn’t help but feel, at the end, as all we are left with is a microphone laying on the floor generating penetrating tones of feedback, that Redsk had brilliantly condensed the art of noise, at least in our electronic age, to its purest possible articulation. The performance follows Redsk through a mode of minimization; a physical, brutal process of reduction, leaving a mess on the floor but, perceptibly, altering the consciousness of performer and witnesses alike to a primordial, meditative, quasi-spiritual state. A purity of soul and expression is reached before reality dawns anew and the audience begins its exodus, stage right. I began to wonder if the method of “fuck you, I’m going to knock this shit on the floor” was a reaction generated by the artist to the audience’s lack of interest, or if it was planned from the outset.
Anyway, I’ve seen a lot of noise artists tear it up live. I’ve seen Masonna jump, shrieking, from the top of an amplifier to land painfully on an effect pedal, generating wails of sonic feedback. I’ve seen control on par with this in the acoustic noise of Smegma. I’ve seen wild abandon in performances by Cock E.S.P. and many others: all of these essentially revealing something of the character of noise and its varied meanings and forms. But, I had never seen anything quite like this until now, so I wanted to share.
Watch the vid! 😛