Burlington ACLU Benefit

I went to see some music last night at Burlington Bar on Fullerton, and the door proceeds benefitted the ACLU. I got to hear some awesome sounds and contribute to a super organization.

The first band, Stray Light was a trio of keyboard, bass, and guitar. The evening started with samples of a chanting crowd, the repetition of which served as the rhythm for the coming song. Later, pulsing percussion loops came in in the company of a World War II air raid siren, assisted by Bernard Sumner type single note guitar melodies. In the middle of the 25 minute set, Stray Light used more samples to seemingly deconstruct a Pizza Hut commercial. Sounds crazy. Was crazy. But it worked. Hypnotizing bass lines plodded throughout, creating what I can only describe as lounge music for an oxygen bar on Venus.

Spa Moans

Second up was Jenny Pulse’s project, Spa Moans. I’d heard some of Jenny’s material before online, but seeing her execute her loop-based music live was a real experience. Her set began with samples of a woman speaking in an “ASMR” style, then soon arrived syncopated bass drums to lay the foundation for ethereal vocal lines. Jenny’s voice is simultaneously sultry and angelic, and exudes a subtle but undeniable confidence. Synth parts and more advanced beats are added and subtracted on the fly and the groove evolves effortlessly with the energy of the room. More samples are introduced to assist the overall tone, one of which was a woman saying “where the poet, the artist, and the architect exchange ideas”. This helped to cultivate a feeling of community, and may as well have been the slogan for the entire night of music. Jenny’s level of talent combined with her fearless approach to sound creation makes her live show a must-experience event. Your next chance is at Crown Liquors in Chicago on Sunday, February 26th.

The Jodorowsky Effect

The Jodorowsky Effect rounded up the evening. Danny Ong’s shimmering Fender Jaguar guitar melodies are heavily effected, and like a good narrative, evolve over time. In addition to laying down fat Moog bass lines and thick-as-a-building pads, the keyboardist also fired off percussion parts via a trigger pad. Simple melodies through repetition become profound, smashing the more traditional verse / chorus / verse arrangement. Sometimes the musical dialog would venture off into more abstract lands, but always resolve to a more common and welcome groove. The Jodorowsky Effect reminds me of a heavier version of French synth band, Air.