by Benjamin Lozovsky
Four distinctly non-metal acts came together to celebrate the upcoming release of Until The Light Takes Us, a much-anticipated documentary on the Norwegian Black Metal scene written and directed by Brooklynites Aaron Aites and Audery Ewell. Aites and Ewell made themselves available for the whole show, amiably speaking to fans about the film and taking pictures in front of promotional gear sporting a pixilated harbinger of doom. The event felt less like a release party than a gathering of friends to show support however. Despite moving to Norway while making the film, Aites still has plenty of Brooklyn-informed leanings, and he tapped friend and collaborator Kyp Malone (the two play in local band Iran together) to perform with his Rain Machine project. It ended up being just Malone solo, as he performed songs from the project's self-titled debut album with just a plaintive (and at times shattering) guitar and his quivering, unpredictable vocal charms.
Malone might have a future, although maybe just a small one, in comedy or motivational speaking; he filled up the awkward pauses of a quiet audience with deadpan cracks and mildly inspirational calls to move about, if not at this show, then perhaps sometime in the future.
Dave Pajo, playing as Papa M, was probably the only musical participant that had delved into metal material in the past, but on this night he performed his critically revered post-rock album Live From a Shark Cage. Or at least part of it, because after 5 or 6 numbers, the band left the stage. His ambient, textural guitar lines grew slowly as he looped percussive guitar bits underneath the ambling melodies that joined to form a more grand harmonic synthesis. He too had his peoples out in force, as co-members of his new band Yeah Yeah Yeahs Nick Zinner and Brian Chase showed up to cheer on their collaborator and friend. Pajo plays the album again at ATP's 10th Anniversary Festival in England in December, and he'll assist Zinner and Co in performing their breakthrough debut Fever To Tell at the same event.
Overall, it was very subdued night, with only one out of the four acts even rocking a drum kit on stage. That was Soft Circle, who mixed reverb-heavy, almost surfer guitar sounds with punishing krautrock and dance punk beats, courtesy of drummer (and layering whiz) Hisham Akira Bharoocha. But after listening to all that black metal, can you really blame Aites and Ewell for toning it down a notch on this night? There will be plenty of time for bleeding ears once the movie is released. Catch it in New York starting December 4th at the Cinema Village.
Kevin Barker was the first of four on the bill. We missed him, but more pictures from the rest of the show below...