Rangda - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Rangda - Brudenell Social Club Leeds, UK

by Andy Brown Rating:9 Release Date:2013-05-06

Rangda create complex, challenging and technically accomplished instrumental rock that any musician would be deeply envious of. The talents of two ridiculously skilled guitarists in the form of Sir Richard Bishop (Sun City Girls) and Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance/ Comets on Fire) are perfectly complimented by the equally gifted, drummer extraordinaire Chris Corsano.

Yet it’s the trio’s undeniably exciting, raw power that pulls the Brudenell audience along for the ride. Technical ability is one thing but it’s the fearsome, near-primal impact of Rangda’s music that really impresses.

Before the arrival of everyone’s favourite three-headed Balinese demon goddess we’re suitably primed by Mick Flower and Neil Campbell. Both members of the experimental drone ensemble known as the Vibracathedral Orchestra the duo present a variation on the Orchestra’s psychedelic noise that proves to be utterly absorbing.

Flower focuses on creating a layered cacophony of sound with his guitar while Campbell excitedly flits between a series of pedals; two musicians fully embracing the joys of noisy improvisation. It’s discordant and difficult music yet there’s a surprisingly meditative quality to the perpetual drones and oscillations emanating from the stage. It’s an impressive racket.

A band featuring ex-Sun City Girls guitarist Richard Bishop was always going to grab my attention but Rangda is much, much more than a musical curio or mildly entertaining side-project. Along with Chasny and Corsano, Bishop has used the band to create some of the finest music of his career. This couldn’t be clearer than when watching the band live.

New LP track ‘To Melt the Moon’ is brought out fairly early on and displays nearly everything I love about Rangda; the tight rhythmical precision as the band lock into a groove, the surf-guitar riffs colliding with eastern influences and the explosive, freight-train momentum as the song bursts into life. Heads begin to involuntarily nod along as the trio’s propulsive grooves tear through the room.

At first your eyes are drawn to the two guitarists; Chasny and Bishop relentlessly duelling through each song, trading licks and generally knocking everyone’s socks off. Yet its Corsano’s drumming that catches my attention after a while. A ridiculously versatile percussionist, Corsano combines elements of free- jazz, rock and punk into a thoroughly distinctive style. Corsano’s drumming provides much more than a mere rock-steady backdrop, the beats containing many of the subtleties and shifts in style that keep the band’s music so fresh and vital.

While much of what I’m saying might make Rangda sound particularly difficult or self-indulgent, the end result is often the exact opposite. Repetitive pieces like the excellent ‘Majnun’ strip everything back to its raw, elemental form; find-a-riff, lock- into-a-groove and play repeatedly. Absolute heaven.

The band does enjoy forays into more sprawling territory though. The weighty and impressive sprawl of ‘Bull Lore’ borrows from the Beatles Sabbath-esque ‘She’s so Heavy’ riff while also giving Bishop and Chasny a good excuse to launch into some of the nights most sublime solo’s.

The band barely break a sweat but tonight was one of the most exciting rock shows I’ve seen in a while. Supergroups rarely work yet with three albums under their belt and blistering live performances like tonight Rangda continue to be a glorious exception to the rule. It’s just about as much excitement as you could pack into a Sunday.

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