Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley played National Sawdust with Reg Bloor and Andrew Hock (pics)
photos by Greg Cristman
Stephen O’Malley @ National Sawdust – 10/25/15
Drones are never just drones: There are always other considerations. Not so much the musicians’ sensibility or emotional intent, but the instruments, the room, the atmosphere. National Sawdust is shallow and high-ceilinged; Mr. O’Malley ran his guitar through four stacks of amplifiers and various distortion and sustain pedals. He’s devised a rich and volatile sound, as if biological material were growing from it as you listen. It comes from a combination of overtones bouncing around, tube-amplifier science and digital manipulation. (It doesn’t come across as the sum of various recognizable effects.) He understands that a note can contain infinite life, and he’s worked out ways to represent it.
He slowly added more tones to offset the anchoring tone of his chord. They began to suggest a mode. At this point a listener could begin to hear things that hadn’t even been played yet. Perhaps because the sound was so fertile, full of Mr. Toop’s “raw active life,” or perhaps because listening is based on expectation and expectation makes you restless, you might have begun your own modal improvisation in response. This became part of your perception of the music. Perceptions work for a while, until they don’t. The trick is for the musician to stop before the perception wears out. In my case the timing worked; I’d started my song, lived with it for a while and was just beginning to look for a way out of it. [NY Times]
Sunn O))) member and general multi-hyphenate Stephen O’Malley played new Williamsburg venue National Sawdust on Sunday (10/25) as part of Pitchfork and Blackened Music’s Tinnitus series. He was joined by Reg Bloor (Glenn Branca Ensemble) and Andrew Hock (Psalm Zero, ex-Castevet). We have pictures of the show in this post, and that’s a quote from NY Times‘ review of the show above.
Sunn O))) have a new album called Kannon on the way, and they have a few dates coming up in Europe in addition to playing Big Ears Festival. O’Malley also has a few solo dates coming up. Those are all listed below, along with more pictures.
Stephen O’Malley/Sunn O))) 2015/16 Tour Dates (European Date Format)
29 10 2015 (Okkyung Lee & Stephen O’Malley duo) Cafe Oto, London, UK
30 10 2015 (Stephen O’Malley solo) Vecteur, Charleroi, Belgium
31 10 2015 (Stephen O’Malley solo) KILBI IM FALL / Palace and Grabenhalle, St Gallen, Suisse
01 11 2015 (Murnau’s “L’aurore” with live music by KTL [Peter Rehberg & Stephen O’Malley]) INMUTE ’15 / Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece
21 11 2015 [Sunn O)))] Le Guess Who? Festival, Utrecht, Netherlands
23 11 2015 [Sunn O)))] Yoyo / Palais Tokyo, RBMA Paris festival, Paris, France
02 04 2016 [Sunn O)))] Big Ears Festival, Knoxville, TN, USA