Thursday, October 16, 2008

i love decampment...

It's still like a trillion degrees in my apartment, there was supposed to be some rain, maybe cool things down, but it never happened, so even though I kind of hate going out (or, rather, suffer from horrible anxiety and fear at the thought of going out), I was happy tonight when some friends (who, just a couple of posts ago, I was telling go to fuck himself, because I suck, apparently) called and invited me out to Anthology Film Archives, one of my favorite art moviehouses in the city, for a performance/screening by the electro duo adult. and their new video "Decampment."

"Decampment" is a silent, 40-minute, shot-on-video abstract horror movie that the group (a husband and wife, alternating among synthesizer, guitar and vocals) performs a live accompaniment to. Both the movie and the performance were excellent. I'd heard adult. before, they've been around for a pretty long time, but I'd never really been into them, I think it's sort of a case where I'm more into the bands that influence them- does that sound really pretentious? Probably, but whatever, their set, playing along to the film, started out kind of prog-synth soundtracky in the vein of Tangerine Dream, but developed into more of a dark pop- I guess this is what you'd call coldwave or darkwave- sound, along the lines of 1980s European groups like Kas Product or Martin Dupont. At first I was a little put off that there were vocals, I had been into the instrumental thing, but I got into the vocals- more "ambient" vocals than like actual singing, or like chanting. It was cool. adult. reminds me of one of my favorite newer bands, the Sixteens (on my friend's label, Hungry Eye Records). I'm definitely into checking out more of their stuff now.

The group describes their "Decampment" as a "return to Midwestern horror." As the band is from Detroit, I think this might be a reference to the films of Jim Van Bebber from the 1980s, although it could also mean the kind of regional drive-in movies that were produced throughout the country in the 1970s. "Decampment" has a bleak, wintry atmosphere that accentuates its' cryptically witchy story, or rather series of vingettes, which follows of stylish and mysterious coven of witches as they indoctrinate, then murder, a new member of their ranks. The movie has a grainy quality, being shot on standard definition (though I think still digital) video, it looks cheap, but in a good way. Handsomely cheap. The imagery was sort of familiar with an original, unique element to it, a combination of the quasi-satantic/paganistic with the understated stylishness, fashionability of the characters, set against stark, woody backdrops. And the acting, though there is no dialogue, nor do we really see much of the actresses faces, is kind of bad, but again, in a good way. This is the kind of movie that the indie music scene of the 1990s never really produced, but should have, like in conjunction with the music, sort of like Sadie Benning's videos, but not really. Not to be all pretentious again, but I felt like this was a movie that "got me," or, y'know, I got it, we were coming to one another on the same level, and that felt alright.

What's cool, too, is that I've really had no enthusiasm for going to see live music lately. There's like a billion bands in New York, plus touring bands coming through here, and a zillion venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and every single show I go to is still crowded as hell. I can't deal with the crowds, and, I hate to say it, but I can't deal with the noise, standing around some shitty bar crowded up with a bunch of annoying people getting my eardrums blasted out, having to stand around and wait if the opening act isn't the one I'm coming to see. And running into people I sort of know but not really? Having to have kind of forced conversations with people I'm pretty sure don't like me that much, or least don't really care about anything I have to say? This show was really cool because I didn't have to wait around for the band to set up, I didn't have to stand around in a crowded space, we got to sit, the volume was reasonable...Anyway, like I said, it was alright.

If adult. comes through your town with "Decampment," I'd definitely recommended checking it out. I don't know that there will be any other way to see it, and if there is, what the soundtrack will be (presumably a recorded version of what they played tonight?), and anyway, seeing it live with the band was kind of special, an individual experience, see it if you can. Anyone know of any other seasonally appropriate events such as these? I could go to a show like this every night of the week, this being film and music (and horror!) culture the way I like it, comfortable yet vaguely inaccessible, yet welcoming, in a way, yet difficult, in a way, yet perfect, in a different way...(by the way, three 7"s of music from "Decampment" are available from Ersatz Recordings, if you can afford the hefty asking price)

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