Six Organs of Admittance - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Six Organs of Admittance - The Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Umber makes music which is undeniably beautiful to listen to when you're lazing around in your home environment. Unfortunately, the loops, synth washes and simple melodic repetitions this unassuming chap specialises in don't translate into a gripping live spectacle. No matter how much you'd like to sit in rapt awe, it's rather like admiring the progress of a snail in real time. Calming, yes, but it's very hard to keep one's attention for wandering as he sets up various textures with all the urgency of a fatty arterial build up. So you inevitably let it wash over you and start chatting to your mates and - hey presto! - the magic is gone. Still, I recommend you check out this fella's recorded output, because it really is genuinely lovely.

Fabrizio Palumbo, aka r, is something altogether different. Not just different from shy and retiring Umber, you understand, but from basically everything else ever save a few choice leftfield influences. Sitting alone with his guitar and looking like a handsome, dapper version of Seasick Steve, you might think we're in for some homely, perhaps Spanish-flavoured noodling. And until about two-thirds of the way through first track 'The Ways to Love a Man' (a Tammy Wynette cover) you'd be right. But then Fabrizio's guitar explodes in writhing distortion and the tone is set of the rest of his set. Joined by a guy on synth and drum machine duties, Fabrizio proceeds to treat us to sounds thrillingly off the map of conventional music taste, from over-driven feedback torture to avant-electro-industrial assault, most of it drawn from new album Drama Queen. It's as beautiful and it is crazy and, although not all of it works (there's ample time for a pee break between bursts of wrathful noise), its combined bravery and novelty means Fabrizio is never in danger of losing our attention.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Six Organs of Admittance chapie Ben Chasny, a man who looks like he'd rather be taking an inventory of stock at his local branch of Staples than getting up on stage to play some tunes. For a start, his between song banter is as indecipherable as it is brief. On record, Chasny's music incorporates eastern influences, drones, chimes, and eclectic percussive elements. However, we get none of this tonight. What we do get is a kind of acoustic prog, wherein reasonably nice folky strum-alongs suddenly erupt into unnecessary bouts of noodling before halting abruptly. This happens on virtually every song and at times it's like watching Muse Unplugged or something equally heinous. The lack of variation means it's very hard to differentiate songs, even if their titles were decipherable. 'Mumble Mumble' seems very similar to 'Mumble Mumble Mumble', which in turn bears a striking similarity of 'Mumble Mumble Cough Mumble'.

Perhaps I'm being a tad unfair. Chasny is clearly a virtuoso, and if that's the kind of thing that gets you down to a gig you should definitely check this guy out. Bafflingly, tonight at least, he seems to have forgotten to play some actual songs, or at least to finish them before indulging in a spot of fretboard onanism. "Why doesn't he just play in his room?" I hear someone near me remark at one point. Well, quite.

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