US West Coast tour 'n' more- Noise Diary [2014-10-30]During August 2014 Italian noise maker & HNW artists Lorenzo Abattoir went on his first US tour taking in a the west coast of the country. Lorenzo is most know for his suicidal HNW project Nascitari, but is also is behind Tomorrow I'll Shoot Myself in the Mouth- a grim lo-fi synth texturing meets doomed piano ‘n’ wailing project, as well as running Italian walled noise label Claustrophilia Records. Through-out the tour he wrote a diary of each date, as well as took photos…below is said diary, and it makes for most interesting reading
What initially inspired the tour was the desire to share a stage with some of the projects that have influenced, throughout the years, my idea of what noise is, while also learning new techniques from the best noise pioneers of the US scene. For experimentation’s sake, I decided to bring only the most minimal of set-ups, leaving ample space for improvisation with found objects on each location, amplified by means of a contact mic and using each location’s unique acoustic features.
The tour debut was at Sound Exchange, a music shop in Houston, Texas. Richard Ramirez, aside from being one of the event organizers, performed with his Spider Labyrinth project alongside many other noise artists from the Houston scene. Jackson, the artist who would travel with me throughout the entire tour, also contributing immensely to its planning and realization, performed with his Stoned to Death project; I played as Nascitari. We both arrayed our own ideas of static noise; normally Nascitari is pure, uncompromising static sound, but this time I decided to introduce an element of dynamism to my performance, using a plastic bottle I found on the street.
The second live set took place in San Antonio (TX), in a crude and picturesque locale where old movie vhs were being sold. Apart from the previous performance in Houston, where we made harsh noise wall, from this point on we started using our experimental project names Lorenzo Abattoir and Sobering. Since the premises were particularly spacious, I chose to make use of my entire set up, by modulating a stereophonic mic, very wellsuited for similar locations. The evening was spent under the banner of acoustic violence, provided by the presence of many harshnoise artists.
El Paso, our last Texan tryst: one of the most musically and scenographically varied evenings, featuring different musical styles (hardcore, punk, experimental) framed by some local skaters’ stunts. Sobering’s very versatile set allowed him to range from rhythmic electronics to noise during his performance. I decided to incorporate the entireity of a hefty metal wall in my own set, exploiting it as sound source by pointing my installation directly at it.
After leaving Texas we headed for Tempe, Arizona. An unusual setting for a noise concert awaited there: a small pub with old video games, jukeboxes and pool tables. While mounting my equipment, I realized I could incorporate some of the pub furnishings in my performance: a pool table and a stool played the role of sound source. Less varied than El Paso but just as interesting, the night’s musical selection drifted between rhythmic noise and ambient.
Aug 14 & 15
Next leg of the journey: Los Angeles. While heading for the Mata Noise, a venue notorious for its experimental performances, we met GX Jupiter Larsen, a wellknown noise artist from Hollywood. Enthused by our concert, GX invited us to play during Berserktown Festival 2014 in another noted venue in LA, Los Globos Nightclub, in both a very improvised and very elating date: the following day, which was supposed to be one of our few days off, we found ourselves playing with The Haters, on the same stage with Aaron Dilloway and Pete Swanson, among many others, in front of a huge crowd. We were afraid we wouldn’t be up to such a collaboration, but we contributed in the best way possible to the performance establishing a good harmony with the others. The Haters’ notoriously immobile sound and aesthetics gained dynamism through our collab. Ironically enough, it was thanks to that very dynamism that we were able to play with artists of such calibre.
The setting for our next performance: Lower Bottom Gallery, an art gallery in Oakland. This time, I decided to perform from the top of a metal ladder which I amplified by means of a contact mic; this way I was able to control my and the ladder’s different positions and movements, each corresponding to different acoustic outcomes. Many of the evening’s performances had strong aesthetic an choreographic undertones; this was the case with Cathedral X, an artist who combines body art and sound research, and with the $kul$’ ‘weird dance’.
By the time we got to Davis, Sacramento, we were halfway through the tour. The Third Space Art Collective, whose HQ are a garage of sorts, invited us to an evening with stark artistic happening nuances. Nelson, an eccentric to say the least, set up a genuine openair beauty salon, whose ‘clients’ got their hair cut with amplified scissors. Sobering, for his part, created dark atmospheres with a blend of screaming and synthgenerated drones.
We then moved to Portland, Oregon, where we participated in an event organized by Pieces, another valued member of the American HNW scene. I went back to basic wallofsound textures in my performance, with static noise generated both analogically and digitally. But the evening produced more varied performances, like Bloom Offering’s, a female artist who brought to mind Lynchian atmospheres.
After our only gig in Oregon, we set for Olympia, Washington State. The gothic location we found there was in perfect tune with the night’s performances, and along with the theatrical use of candle light and dark sonorities produced by the artists, it gave off a strong sense of anxiety. Sobering found his ideal medium there, and he created a downtempo rhythm to remark on the sense of oppression in the air.
Still in Washington, this time in Seattle. Like one of the first dates of the tour, the evening, though maintaining an experimental quality, was very diverse: black metal bands, ambient and HNW projects mixed together in a seemingly absurd succession. Since the location itself didn’t offer the unconventional instruments I was looking for, I picked up a wheelbarrow from outside and used it throughout my entire performance.
In salt Lake City, Utah, we had our less fortunate gig, audiencewise. But the total lack of a turnout didn’t condition the quality of the performances. Sobering had a chance to work on his tried and dependable rhythmic sound, enhancing it with experimental touches that would prove useful during the following performances.
Next, our journey took us through the evocative sceneries of Colorado and to Denver. The art collective who shared the location participated in the event, creating, during their performance, a visual installation consisting of countless tvsets; the psychedelic images being played on their screens interacted with the sounds produced, giving the whole performance a hint of visual art. Not having found any useful objects to employ, for my performance I used my usual setup.
The following location was the basement of a house in Omaha, Nebraska which is often used for underground events, making it a true landmark of the harshnoise scene. A big pipe I found lying around turned out to be the ideal instrument for the aesthetic and sound effects I wanted to obtain; the artists performing that night were in fact particularly prone to acoustic violence, making it the perfect situation in which to experiment with very incisive saturations.
Kansas City: like in Oakland, we found ourselves in a huge space normally used for visual art exhibits. A performance by two local artists, Opprobrivm / VorOnus, caught my eye: an amalgam of visual techniques and eclectic sound research, acoustic and electronic instruments alongside scenic elements of high aesthetic impact which also contributed to the musical result. Pianos, wind instruments and synths were able to coexist in a setting that allowed the artists to freely experiment.
We came back to Texas: Dallas. An oversight in the organization of the evening listed it as a karaoke night; after setting straight the ironic misunderstanding, we were able to get our setup ready. The event lineup opened on typically drone atmospheres that blurred into more and more intense sounds, culminating with Filth, one of Dallas’ most aggressive projects, who displayed sound made as corrosive as possible by various analog machines. Sobering, performing finally in his hometown, presented an impeccable set.
The last date on our tour was in Austin; like Omaha, it took place in a private residence. On stage, weird artists who made use of drums, strong feedbacks and alienating visual choices like smoke machines and strobospheric lights, that, especially in such a cramped space, further emphasized the sense of oppression. Knowing this would be our adventure’s terminal, Jackson and I tried our
best to top off our tour with a memorable improv act.
Aug 28_Back to Houston (TX)
After Austin, I made my way to Richard Ramirez’ place in Houston, where we recorded a final collab with his personal project, which hugely influenced my artistic development.
I want to thank every artist I was lucky to share the stage with, all of the event organizers and hosts I worked with in the various locations, as well as all the people who supported us throughout our journey.
I will soon be releasing a Dvd containing footage and recordings from the entire tour.
Author / Noise artist: Lorenzo Abattoir
Text edit: Andrea Leonessa
Translation: Alexandra MandamailVarious