Eclectic finds

Looking for the brave and the new in 2008
By SUSANNA BOLLE  |  December 26, 2007


VIDEO: Jessica Rylan and Alissa Caldone

With the frigid weather and bracing winds, the natural inclination early each new year is to go a bit fetal, curl up, and hibernate until springtime. But if you know where to look, there’s plenty of eclectic, electric, and unusual music happening in and around the city during the winter months that’s well worth the extra layers and potential frostbite. And even if you shutter it up and stay in, there are some choice local releases coming out that should make staring at your four walls that much more stimulating. Here’s a few things on the event horizon to get your brain humming.

2008 marks the 10th year that the experimental music label Intransitive Recordings has been headquartered in Boston, and founder HOWARD STELZER has an especially ambitious schedule. His first three releases, due in January, feature one of the strangest (and most wonderful) synth groups ever, Japan’s NERVE NETNOISE; contemporary musique concrète by France’s LIONEL MARCHETTI; and a solo release by Stelzer himself.

Stelzer’s also put together an astounding bill of local out-there acts at the Middle East Upstairs on Monday, February 11, featuring the synth adventurers ASTRONAUT, noise boys FIRE IN THE HEAD, guitarist GEOFF MULLEN, crackling improv duo SKELETONS OUT, and the much beloved and ballyhooed noise duo RED HORSE, making their first appearance in more than a year.

In late January, a deluxe two-CD collection of early sound works by local artist JED SPEARE is due on Family Vineyard. Speare will perform and talk a bit about his tape experiments at Twisted Village (12b Eliot Street, Cambridge) on January 26. The release is one of bunch of eagerly anticipated experimental records due out in early 2008. Look also for The Breadwinner, a CD collaboration between local tape virtuoso JASON LESCALLEET and GRAHAM LAMBKIN on Glistening Labs.

Over the next few months, there are some exciting goings-on slated at the ICA. One of the most intriguing is a ways off: an April 12 performance by noise artist JESSICARYLAN and dancer ALISSA CARDONE as part of a larger Kinodance production. Having seen them at a recent loft party, I can testify that theirs is an explosive mix of avant-garde dance and analog electronics.

Turning from experimental dance to the dance music underground, there are changes afoot at a couple of techno nights around town. The MAKE IT NEW Thursday minimal techno weekly at the Middlesex Lounge (315 Mass Ave, Cambridge) is living up to its name and reinventing itself with a gaggle of new residents: electro specialist VOLVOX, Iceland’s DJ BALDUR, and the red-hot DJ DIE YOUNG.

Similarly, across the street at the Phoenix Landing (512 Mass Ave, Cambridge) residents at TECHNO WEDNESDAYS are multiplying. In this case, the indefatigable SOUL CLAP duo ELYTE and CNYCE have joined forces with Boston mainstay PAT FONTES at the helm of one of the city’s longtime centers for all things techno. Techno Wednesday vets ZERO G also have special winter plans including an unusual Friday, January 18, bus party to NYC with a layover at Brooklyn’s Bunker nightclub. The party will feature sets by Unlocked Groove’s ERIC GRAY, legendary producer FRED GIANNELLI, and the phenomenal SMARTYPANTS. The latter two are featured on a smashing new Zero G 12-inch, which will be in stores and online (with bonus tracks) in late January.

Finally, the bundle of four-to-the-floor energy that is BASSTOWN PRODUCTIONS continues its monthly residency at Great Scott (1222 Comm Ave, Boston), as well as hosting a slew of related events from THUNDERDOME parties to club nights. On January 26, Basstown’s Great Scott party focuses on local talent with headliners PLUSMOVE. In the coming months, they’ve got some (as yet unconfirmed) internationally renowned performers in their sights. If even a fraction come through, 2008 will be a happy (techno) new year in Boston.

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