Show report- Instants Chavirés May 3rd [2018-05-23]On the 3rd of May 2018 French experimental venue Instants Chavirés once again offered up an evening of ‘walled-noise’/ extreme noise. With line-up taking in Frances king of HNW Vomir, US noise-jam project Black Leather Jesus, and Swedish HNW project Rien. Sadly none of M[m] staff could make the event- but lucky Johan Strömvall Hammarstedt( of Rien, and the excellent label Ominous Recordings) kindly agreed to do the below report/ review/ day diary...
Its 9:09 am, and I’m on my way to Paris. I’ve been up since 4am,which is almost sleeping in for me, since I’m often up an hour earlier for work. But I haven’t been up long enough to be able to sleep and I have all these thoughts running through my head. Did I lock my rehearsal room when I left with my gear yesterday? Did I manage to pack everything I need to perform tonight or am I missing an essential piece? Why can’t I bring some French locally brewed IPA’s with me in my carry-on when I leave, they’re not dangerous liquids. Will my set suck ass or will it be decent enough for me to not leave France in shame tomorrow? I’m sitting here, listening to Burial Grounds - Dedicated to Mario Bava (yes I brought my Walkman and tape boxes with me) and experience excitement and anxiety over tonight. I was deadly serious, but not at all expecting anything to come of it, when I told Richard (Ramirez) that I would love to be on the same bill as him sometime. And when he told me I was welcome to Paris to open for Black Leather Jesus, if I could make it, I couldn’t believe it. I still really can’t believe it, even though I’m on my way and the show is tonight.
Honored beyond words, I, of course, said I would make it to Paris (yes, I know frenchies, Montreuil isn’t actually IN Paris). Rien was first conceived as a mere side project, different from the erotic literature-based Gamiani. I just wanted to make walls that were all about the walls, no theme, no “profile”, a project not lumped together with others based on the exterior/superficial. I wanted something that was nothing, hence the name (and I have to confess I’m quite the Francophile when it comes to literature). But pretty quickly I felt some kind of pretentious, artistic and ambitious urge to really challenge myself into making the sound more and more minimalistic. So From just being walls, I was going to make really minimalistic walls. Somewhere, somehow Richard came across it. And now I’m on my way, and this is going to be my first HNW/Wall-noise live performance ever, opening for Vomir and Black Leather Jesus. How the fuck did I end up here?
I arrived at the office of Les Instants Chavirés around 13:30, and met promoter JF Pichard and his colleagues. A while later I went to the venue and met enthusiastic and extremely friendly sound technician Ben who was a tremendous help and gave us all a fantastic sound later that evening. When I was about done Sean came in and I got a short beforehand viewing of what I could expect later on. A vocal mic through two distortions pedals, a contact mic run through two others and a really thick piece of sheet metal supplied by Ben. A mere two pedals each set up for him and Richard was more than enough to show they are masters of their craft. Me and Sean went went back to the office/accommodation and met up with Richard, who had needed a moments rest after the flight. And there I was all of the sudden, sitting on a terrace in Montreuil just outside Paris (see, I know), having a beer, talking to Sean Matzus and Richard Ramirez. Again, how the fuck did I end up here? After a home-cooked meal I left them and went to the venue while they were doing an interview.
As I walk in, Romain ( Vomir) is just going to start soundcheck. A friendly, happy handshake with me, and then he blasts some of the harshest stuff I ever heard in a live setting through the speakers. It was head cleaning. I was blown away, and I couldn’t wait for more. Doors opened at 20:30 and I met Charlotte (Naughty) and Willow (Deaf Ballerina/Dorese), and Eric (I, Eternal) who had stopped me and Sean in the street earlier that day and made me feel like quite the rockstar for being recognized in the streets. Also I met some wonderful label supporters who I appreciate dearly and it was so nice to finally meet some of the people I’ve been in contact with for years.
I started just after 21.00, and I think my set was somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes. According to what I heard after, it was good and I managed to survive my very first wall noise set without screwing it up. I suck at self-promotion so I won’t describe my own set and leave that for someone else to tell the world about. And being a very self-critical person, I won’t rave and rant either, about what I thought, could-a, would-a, shoulda and all that.
Like a most charismatic and enthusiastic cult leader Romain starts walking around greeting people and handing us all a black plastic bag from a fresh roll. Its all smiles, handshakes and black plastic bags. It’s easy to imagine this was it for all of us and it’s cyanide or arsenic being distributed amongst our little congregation and we’re as excited as he is to finally go with him into the “after”/“beyond” or whatever is waiting on the other side of his wall. Having been reading Fight Your Own War on this trip, the Whitehouse quote “to bludgeon an audience into submission” feels equally fitting here as soon as Romain starts. It’s so ultra-fucking brutal I can’t help but to smile. I love this to death. The wall is thick as hell, layered beyond imagination with such a raw texture it’s mouthwatering. There’s so many frequencies at play it’s hard to decipher just what is actually audible. I hear sounds flowing in and out, but I can’t be sure if they are actually there or if it’s just my mind playing tricks on me. I feel the wall grabbing my insides and churning them to bits. The silence after is deafening. It almost feels louder than the wall because the shift is so total and absolute. What waited for us on the other side of his wall was a feeling of complete emptiness.
Black Leather Jesus
Sadly I did barely really see the BLJ set, I was too late to be in the front row, and not being the tallest guy around I was left to just hear it. But it was everything I ever wanted. I have been a long time fan of the raw and feedbacked sound of Black Leather Jesus. I first encountered them in my later teens, and they have always held a very dear place in my noisy heart. They were the reason I went back to JSH( My harsh noise project) after two years of inactivity and wall-focus. The video of their show in Manchester some years back was what sparked the flame that turned out to be “My Persona Non Grata” tape released on Marbre Negre two years ago. The “simple yet effective” set up was a fresh start for someone like me who had gotten lost in the land of pedals and sound sources without any direction. So I went back to the very basics and recorded two short bursts of harsh noise using my wooden floor, a contact mic, a death metal pedal and an equalizer. Well, back to the set. It was an amazing dynamic between sharp, piercing metal scraping, harsh crunch, thunderous distorted bass rumblings, feedback battles and moments of a distorted, almost white noise generator-brutality that wasn’t letting us go. With such small means, they created something so great and massive, it left me speechless and euphoric. And, I have to add, I absolutely LOVE the fact that Black Leather Jesus have been around since the 90’s and still do proper fucking harsh noise. No turn for the more “artistic”, nor changing into something more easily accessible, not going softer one bit, it’s still full on harsh noise assault. The way it should be! I can only dream I will be able to carry some kind of similar torch in the future, for artists who doesn’t know how to NOT make it really harsh. They are truly a massive inspiration to me as a noise artist. Their set was killer, simply put. It was really a Black Leather Jesus set of pure magnificence.
After packing up the gear we headed back to the office/accommodation and I had a wonderful evening, sitting and talking to Charlotte, Sean, and Richard, and the crew of IC (before they left and it was only me, Richard and Charlotte talking way into the night). This has by far been one of the most fantastic experiences for me as a performer and a noise fan. I am so honored Richard asked me to come, that I got to share the stage with him, Sean and Romain. I’m grateful for the hospitality shown by the people at IC and incredibly thankful for the amazing work by Ben the sound-tech. We built that wall together last night, it wasn’t only me. It would not have sounded as good as I think it did if he hadn’t patiently waited for me to feel satisfied. And also a massive thanks to Charlotte for driving me to the airport this morning and spared me over an hour on public transportation. Thanks to all involved, mentioned, not mentioned, everyone who came to the show, everyone who picked up a tape and shook my hand. Thank you all, I had a great time!
First menu picture of Rein by Charlotte Thevenin, second picture Gregory Perier, third picture Johan Strömvall Hammarstedt, and final picture Gregory Perier.
Thanks again to Johan, and those who took the pictures..Johan Strömvall Hammarstedt