zaterdag 16 januari 2010

State-X New Forms festival, The Hague, 11 and 12 december 2009 (day 1)

My impression of the stuff I saw at this year's State-X New Forms.

I could give an overall impression: some bad, some good, but I'll just go over all the artists I saw.

Unfortunately because I was invited to a cheese fondue I missed Merzbow. It would have been cool to have seen him live one time, but cheese is nice :).

So the first thing I saw was Stellar OM Source. This was a rather cute act; anyone that has 'OM' in their name automatically has my sympathy really. After a heartfelt synth-solo, miss Source basically gave us a lot of arpeggios. This, the old-fashioned Windows screensaver tracked squares in the background and her robe gave the whole thing a distinct 70ties feeling. So thumbs up. Maybe it would have gotten boring if the concert had lasted over 20 minutes. But it didn't. Like a few other times during the festival, there were some technical difficulties and the schedule was kept tightly.

Next I saw The Melvins. A legendary band, because as the program says, inspirerers of Nirvana as well as Tool, no less. Because I know some fans I have checked out some of their albums but I didn't like them because it's just too much songs. I don't like songs. The stuff I saw was rather experimental though so I liked it. These songs had all four band members singing and they were pretty epic. The Melvins have two drummers and so the sound was impressive. This was also because of the sound system Het Paard has. Severals times during the festival I got pretty overwhelmed by huge amounts of bass, against which my earplugs didn't stand a chance.

Then I saw Machinist & Mendel Kaelen. Without their pretentiousness they might have been bareble, now I couldn't stand them.

I think I saw Boom Boom du Terre next and I think I quite liked it. But I kinda forgotteted.

Then I saw a bit of Battles. I don't like them and never will.

Then my friend took me to see Helado Negro and Sandy Dillon. I went to State-X New Forms for experiment and I like loud music. My friend has a slightly more traditional taste (though not by average standards) and likes softer music. So these two acts were pretty good but just not really my cup of tea. Helado Negro was good, Latin and creative (with a loop pedal for instance). I think something went wrong with the monitoring though, so the artist couldn't hear himself sing and was out of key. Sandy Dillon plays blues and I don't care much about that. However she is intense, good and crazy, so I wasn't bored. Also she is very sincere: I was touched by how she seemed to slip back into reality when people started clapping after this balled she'd sung and played.

Then I saw a very great, new dubstep act: Loops Haunt. Everyone there seemed to enjoy him as much as I did, so he could become big. Big in dubstep that is, because I don't foresee dubstep becoming commercial any time soon (though elements of it are picked up by commercial acts). Loops Haunt's style is pretty sparse, with little melody, and techno-like. So in that sense he's like the popular act 2562 and T++. But Loops Haunt is also pretty experimental, a bit like Autechre I think, though still danceble, when you're enough of a creative dancer :).

My friend had left before Loops Haunt and I wanted to stick around until Gary Numan. Gary Numan was really why I had decided to go to the festival. Waiting for Gary was easy with Loops Haunt but I didn't like the next two acts I saw at all. Architect to me sounded like the least relevant or emotional IDM ever. Like the average IDM-act, then, really. Cakebuilder makes breakcore and is from Winnipeg, Canada. On quick listen before going to the festival I thought he even sounded like Venetian Snares, who's all that as well and favorite of mine. However the breaks and sounds were very simple and boring. I generally try not to focus on virtuosity, but in breakcore it's just part of the style.

The most horrible let-down ever was Gary Numan though. I had read on the festival's site that he would do a DJ-set. But then there's DJ-sets and DJ-sets. This was Gary Numan and a guy that looked like Tommy Lee playing Rammstein, Korn, Block Rocking Beats and Spitfire. Also a industrial version of Madonna's Justify my Love, which i like the original better of. Then a Nine Inch Nails I didn't know and then i left. Best thing was a small sample of something of Pretty Hate Machine over some industrial track.

Here's day 2.

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