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Review: 1997 Nor Cal Experimenal Music Festival


REVIEW: NF97:The 3rd Annual Northern California Experimental Music Festival
		September 12 & 13, 1997   Sacramento, CA

"THE BEST NOISEFEST EVER"  by Lob

   It happened.. it was.. if you are a noise enthusiast on  the west 
coast, and you missed this event.. you are weak.  The 1997 Nor Cal Noise 
Fest presented for the 3rd year in a row by Sacramento's EXPERIMENTAL 
MEDIA RESEARCH LABORATORIES (EMRL) was a raging and LOUD success. The 
catch phrase, that was repeated by various members of the EMRL Staff was, 
"This year is the best Noisefest Ever.." and it was...and starting off 
with an attitude like that..was just the right feeling to make this a fun 
and comfortable event for all.. NF97 coordinators JAY TRUESDALE & FLOYD 
DIEBEL put together a very loosly run, but effective adventure in sound, 
noise and netwerking.. in the 3 sets of audio experimentation that 
happened over the weekend there was plenty of variation...but tons of 
friendly respect from both the audience and the performers. There were 
some problems.. the 3rd venue, that was originally scheduled to be the 
Recital Hall at CSUS on Saturday night was changed at the last moment due 
to the school imposing outrageous sercurity fees at the last moment, this 
was very un-professional and rude of them, but hey they are 
educationalists, not promoters...they really put a glitch in the plan.. 
but it was overcome quickly and easily as the Guild Theatre once again 
donated thier beautiful old space as home to the Noise Fest...there were 
also a few cancelations...both OFFICE PRODUCTS (aka David Chandler/Mr. 
Pharmacist) and WARNING BROKEN MACHINE,  from Portland,OR.  were 
scheduled but were unable to attend for various catastrophic reasons.. 
and also DEATH SQUAD from San Francisco did not show for technical 
reasons.   Highlights though, included 2 perfromances from SEED MOUTH of 
Toyama JAPAN..and EUGENE THACKER from Brooklyn, New York.. both fine 
experimentalists who traveled great distances to play for us.. there was 
even an audience member who came from Chicago, IL, JUST TO WATCH! so 
there was alot of enthusiasm and dedication into this years NoiseFest, 
audience attendance over all was nearly 150, non performing, 
individuals.. whom each got a compilation CD with thier admission, of 
many of the artists performing, that was compiled and put together by the 
EMRL over the summer.... Okay what follows is a breakdown of each of the 3 
events..:
NF97 EVENT 1:The Guild Theater,Sacramento,CA Friday evening Sept 12th
  The Guild Theater is an old performance theater in Sacramento that has 
been undergoing restoration for over 3 years now.. during this time of 
upgrading, the Guild and its care taker, JEFF O'TOOLE have allowed the 
people of NoiseFest and the EMRL to house various performances there, 
including NF95, NF96, and now NF97...there are randomly scattered, still 
functioning padded seats in both the downstairs and balcony area.. there 
is a wide and comfortably large stage space easily 5 feet raised from the 
ground.. lighting from upstairs...and this place is old so please NO 
SMOKING OR FIRE OF ANY KIND.. the Guild staff gave everyone who came in 
the door nametags.. so we all could meet easily.. when you first walk in 
there is a wonderful lobby area with red peanut shaped neon glow in the 
ceiling.. 2 glas display cases where many performers sold various 
recordings and stuff of thier own bringing.. on either side of the lobby 
are doorways into the aisles of the theatre itself.. the theater is very 
intimate in its sound capabilites.. has really nice high ceilings.. and 
the sound system the EMRL provided was very clean.. the show scheduled to 
start at 5pm, actually got underway more like around 6:45pm  the first 
performer up was KLOWD from Sacramento.. local favorite whom got his 
picture in all of the NF97 press releases.. Klowd's set was harsh and 
filled  with various purcussive droppings.. it was very well done..even 
though he didnt seem too happy with it..he set was a great way to start 
.. a good crunchy loud dose of noise..set the mood...get the room ready 
for more..  next up was RADIOSONDE from San Francisco..who's set was very 
tone orriented.. lots of humming sounds interweaving into a nice trancy 
lull..that got louder and more harsh at the end...next up was CRAWL 
UNIT from Sacramento.. this was his first live show in many months, since 
his US tour last fall with Scot Jenerik, his set was also very tonal 
and based in frequency manipulation.. beautifully constructed weaving of 
high ends caused this hum that was nearly a whistle.. that was built upon 
and played with..was very sweet..next up was my favorite performence of 
the evening..randy ::YAU:: from San Louis Obispo...he set up an amplifier 
and speaker in lobby, that was connected by a long chord to the PA 
system.. and started his set from the lobby area of the Guild using a 
device called a MegaMouth.. scratching and screaming into it using 
effective delivered pauses that YAU is very well known for.. then he 
walked around the theater..coming up to the front of the stage.. making 
himself finnaly to be seen by the audience.. this set was very loud and 
fun, at one point a woman in the audience tripped over one of the chord 
connections, knocking it loose.. and YAU just incorporated the long pause 
to again attack loud upon the return of his wall of distortion..very well 
done.. YAU is always incredible and this time was no exception...next on 
the stage was CRIB from Los Angeles...this set was a very sweet excursion 
into ambient soundscaping using various effect processors and a bass 
guitar, causing lots of low end spacey grooves for a long time.. 
the beginning sounded like tibetian chanting, from a bass!  this was 
my first time seeing CRIB and it was quite relaxing..soothing..any other 
word fitting this description...it was all that.. next up was SCOT 
JENERIK from San Francisco....this was a very different and odd set from 
MR. Jenerik..unlike anything i've seen him do yet..he started by using a 
propeller driven tone genterator..that he had built.. that caused really 
incredible high pitch sounds at first and then dropped in tone and caused
this seriously wicked droning sound...to which Scot played a very well 
mic'd clay dubek drum..with heavy strong thudding percussion...about 3/4 
of the way thru the set the propeller slipped off the fan motor, and the 
droneing stopped.. Scot continued on the drum, adding some effects and 
causing quite the tribal enhanced noise...the last performer of the 
evening was Sacramento's very own UBERKUNST...a small militia of people.. 
half playing instruments.. and have destroying mounds of computer 
equipment with sledgehammers and power tools.. this year they even added 
a catapult to fire old programs and pornography into the audience with.. 
UBERKUNST is a very visual noise.. and is much better seen  than heard...
this ended the first night we all left to go back to the EMRL studio or 
where ever else we were staying and party like mad fools.. until the next 
day...

NF97 Event 2: Bo Jangles (Formerly the Cattle Club), outdoor patio, 
Saturday afternoon, Sept 13th...this was odd and different.. it was 
outside.. the PA was an hour late.. it was hot.. but still 30 or 40 
persons waited until the show happened.. why? maybe because there was a 
bar.. and we could drink!..could be.. but maybe not.. finally Jay 
Truesdale arrived with the PA.. and the noise began.. first up were 
NOISEGATE from Oakland.. this incarnation of NOISEGATE consisted of 
regulars Trevor(bass) and Nick(guitar), now joined by a guy named Chris on 
drums..they were loud and heavy...sorta like a Melvins meets the Swans 
kinda vibe.. they played a song they wrote for the occassion dedicated to 
Govenor Pete Wilson. Thier set was slow and drudgy...i miss thier 
keyboard player..(cant remember his name..damn)..after they finished they 
had to leave to make it to SF by 4pm for the final mixing of thier 
upcoming new CD.. we said goodbye and they were gone.. next up was 
ECOMCON from Sacramento, this is EMRL/NF97 planner Jay Truesdale's 
project.. it consisted of him using an Amiga program called AUDITION4 and 
manipulating a sound captured segment of "Do You Know The Way To San 
Jose" by as done by Frankie Goes To Hollywood...with someone playing 
drums ...off beat..hardly a rhythm.. it was wierd noise.. it was not 
announced or introduced.. so some people didnt even realize it was 
happening ..until it ended.. next up was SEED MOUTH from Toyama 
Japan...we were very graced to have Hirohito in town for this years NF, 
his set consisted of him manipulating a cardboard tube with a stretched 
spring inside of it (a ZUBETUBE(tm)) through various effects pedals and 
processors.. causing a beautifully constructed wall of harsh electronics, 
in the traditional Japanese style, delivered by one of it's masters.. the 
sound system we were using at Bo Jangles was a small 4 channel PA.. this 
system wasnt really loud enough to make this set come off as well as it 
could have...next up was STIMBOX from San Francisco..another noise artist 
in the field of harsh electronics.. STIMBOX unleashed vibrantly loud and 
full of velocity.. quickly and easily showing up Hirohito's set before 
it.. a maze of effect pedals (there were like a dozen or so on the stage 
area)..relaying delay into feedback and building.. added some percussion 
for good punches and flavor..this was my favorite set of the afternoon 
event. ..next up was my project, INSTAGON from Huntington Bch, CA.. at 
NF95 INSTAGON began a running joke/theme for it's NorCal Noise fest 
performances...STAR WARS..this year we attemtped to recreate an audio 
collage that appears on the NF97 commorative CD called "Carbon Freezing 
Chamber"...we were plagued by various technical problems and sound 
mishaps.. but pulled off a pretty silly zany chaotic sound that many 
found enjoyable.. we had an amplified battle using light sabers.. one of 
which broke right way.. an explosive device in a Darth Vader head.. that 
was a dud.. but we climbed thru the mishaps.. with tape samples.. live 
showing of Star Wars the movie...amplified thru the PA.. heavy harsh 
electronic crunches and other noises we have yet to identify.. it was 
INSTAGON.. and it ended the day show.. we all drank another drink.. and 
headed back to the guild for the last event.

NF97 Event 3/Guild Theater, Sacramento Saturday evening Sept 13th
  another night at the guild.. show started relatively on time at around 
7pm or so.. the opening act for this event was PEST from Sacramento.. 
PEST is the first one person/female act to perform at NoiseFest as far as 
i know..she was scheduled to play last year, and did not, so it was a 
treat to actually get to see and hear her this year.. her set consisted 
of Amiga generated sounds and a windup musical toy overlayed to create an 
errie sorta dreamlike sound scape.. it was really sweet, and very 
different to anything else that happened over the weekend...next up was 
second noisefest appearence by SEED MOUTH, this is the 1st repeated act 
in Nor Cal noise fest history.. and it was worth it.. the sound system at 
the Guild was MUCH better than the one at Bo Jangles.. and SEED MOUTH 
ripped it up.. showing STIMBOX a thing or two for outdoing him earlier in 
the day.. this set was incredible and 3 times as better then his day 
set.. loud harsh electronics, again with a Zubetube(tm)...next up was 
CHRIS COBB from San Francisco.. his set consisted of him describing 
situations where he had collected sounds from.. and then playing the 
sounds on a tape player.. and then overlapping each of the sounds to 
create a blanket of sound that was strange and filled with swirling 
chaos.. next up was KENNETH ATCHLEY from Oakland.. he created using a TV 
monitor and a guitar..playing into the pickups and recycling the 
frequencies .. or so it sounded.. another very spacey ambient set with 
great dynamics.. K.A. created a great flow of energy and rode it with 
professional showmanship...next up was EUGENE THACKER from Brooklyn, New 
York.. Eugene began in a tyraid of harsh electronics.. very well 
executed, and then fed more into and around this wall he originally 
constructed to cause it to fall leaving a growing playground of sounds 
and tones.. Eugene's work is very mesmerizing.. quite hard to describe 
and was a treat to experience.. by the time he had finished the ambience 
of his performance caused one to forget the harshness of it's beginning. 
next on the stage was the mythical CONCEPTUAL MUSIC UNION (CMU) ..this is 
the project of EMRL founder Floyd Diebel...who was scheduled to play at 
all past noisefests.. but has not.. this was his first live performance 
at Nor Cal Noise fest..and it was worth the 3 year wait. The CMU played a 
choreographed short piece entitled "Complete Reinstall" it was performed 
by 3 players including Diebel on wooden sculptures designed by him, 
strung at various points with wires and mic pads, the shape of the 
instrument was very geometric angle oriented, with a width nearly 9 feet 
across., and 7 feet high.. the sounds produced by this creation were very 
fine tuned and amplified with perfection...the second of the 2 
instruments was smaller in size and also had wire and mic pads, but 
included metal tone keys, like used in a xylophone.  These 2 instruments 
are going to soon be displayed in a gallery exhibition somewhere in Nor 
Cal. contact EMRL for more info on that...the piece itself was very 
minimalistic at first with the amplified wire being lightly scratched.. 
and then with incredible syncrinosation, the 3 players started this 
purcussive assult into a very trancy rhythm...that built and droped 
intime with very well placed dymanics..  this was a very well executed 
composition.. and according to Diebel, will not be performed again...this 
show brought down the house.. it was the loudest applause from any 
audience in Nor Cal Noise Fest history.. it took something very special 
to follow that.. and we got it.. next up was DVORIN,DIAZ-INFANTE a trio 
from Nevada City/Monterey. CA...they consisted of a guitarist, a 
keyboardist and a stand up bass.. the played very minimal off key stuff 
at first to warm up.. very impressionalistic stuff.. and then moved into 
some very intricated and hard to follow time signatures that created a 
strange cacaphony i would describe as Zappa meeting John Cage, at this 
point an audience member took to the front of the stage and started to 
dance a slow moving groovy dance to the pusing sounds of DDI, he waved 
his arms and swung his head.. deeply finding trance in the noise .. he 
had gotten up earlier to attempt to groove with others, but this was it 
and he was groovin.. it was quite the site...guess you had to be there.. 
at the end of thier set 2 of the members "froze" on stage as the 
keyboardist continued to ease the set to a close.. it was very psychedelic.
The final performer was a veteran to the NorCal NF.. MOE!.. from 
Manteca, CA . This year Moe! presented something very special he called 
MOEKESTRA!..which consisted of 3 chellists, a trumpeter, a violinist, 3 
or 4 Clarenetists, and someother instrumentation i have forgotten, which 
he proceeded to "conduct" in a very discordian manner, while adding metal 
percussion and scrapings of his own.. it took way too long to set up.. 
and therefore was really pushed to edge in attempting to re-grab what was 
left of the audineces attention.. it was a very slow start.. the players 
werent all comfortable yet.. and so the 1st piece was sorta un intresting 
noodling of alot of instruments at once... but the second piece he called 
"take the A train" was splendid.. the players involved themselves alot 
more into this piece and it showed and came off very well.. near the end 
of the piece the clairenetists left the stage and walked all about the 
upsatirs and lobby areas of the Guild causeing the sound to travel and 
take new shape...someone told MOE! afterwords that it reminded them of 
Sun Ra...which is better that i can find to describe it.. that is for 
sure.. at the end of the set Moe! put on a Rod Stewart record of "DO Ya 
Think I'm Sexy?" and his band screamed in terror and left the stage 
promptly. ..begging for him to stop that NOISE!.. he scratched the record 
to a halt and the 1997 Nor Cal Experimental Music Festival had ended.. it 
was glorious fun..and well worth the traveling...there was many new faces 
at this years fest.. there was lots of great noise... the venues were 
great.. and it was a fun time by all.. a great success.. the best noise 
fest ever..    

there was a compilation CD that was given away with paid admission to 
this years noise fest it was compiled by the EMRL in the early summer for 
release at NF97.. it included exclusive cuts from CRIB, CMU, INSTAGON, 
MOEKESTRA, OFFICE PRODUCTS, DVORIN-DIAZ-INFANTE, RADIOSONDE, PEST, 
ECOMCON, K. ATCHLEY, KLOWD, EUGENE THACKER, UBERKUNST, & CHRIS COBB.. 
plus secret bonus tracks..

this CD is NOW AVAILABLE   contact    nf97cd_info@emrl.com
 for information on obtaining this incredible document.

this disc is a fabulous collection of some of the finest current and 
happening artists in the style of experimental or noise music...every 
track on it fuckin rips.. it is really awsome.. and gets better every 
time i listen to it.. this CD was very much the cherry on the top of the 
cream.. after such a great weekend.. the E.M.R.L. are the kings of west 
coast noise.. they throw a great party.. find out more about them at 
their site at 		http://emrl.com

there is rumor that the 1997 Nor Cal noise fest may be the last one... 
that the EMRL does.. there is a petition to try to convince them to 
continue.. if you would like to add your name to this petition email your 
name and Email address.. and where you are from to :
	nf98_petition@tif.org

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