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Live Reviews

Numusic Festival 2009

By Published: October 22, 2009
The evening's true surprise is Captain Credible, apparently a Norwegian native, but armed with an accent that sounds authentically English. He's also influenced by the UK-based sound that was pioneered by breakcore DJs such as Shitmat and Scotch Egg. He's lost in cables and small devices, triggering percussion via his toy drummer, spurting with extreme velocity and stupidity. He alters his voice pitch into high womanly and gutter manly tones. Credible climaxed his set by smashing up his laptop with a hammer and chisel, although it's suspected that this might not exactly be the Captain's prime vehicle of file-storage.

On Saturday, another problem arose with Faust's early set at the Folken club. These eagerly anticipated (honorary) German pioneers spent too much time attempting to be woefully arty, their approach coming across as being badly slung into the past. This was in a dated way, rather than in a vitally nostalgic manner. The principal offender was Geraldine Swain, lounging on an armchair intoning portentous poetry. Along with guitarist and keyboardist James Johnston, she's part of a recent British augmentation of the band. Johnston's presence is more beneficial, with his contribution of fragmented guitar strikes. Speaking of nostalgia, Faust fared much better with a clutch of songs from their best album, IV from 1974, including "Jennifer" and "The Sad Skinhead." For a band that had been responsible for such a wealth of innovative music, parts of their set were extremely disappointing.

For the final Saturday stretch at Tou Scene, dubstep was the conqueror, although not before the healthy re-awakening of New York's Liquid Liquid, bringing back the early 1980s sound of sinister art-funk. It's a stripped, percussion-dominated 'scape, fronted by conga-man Salvatore Principato, delivering deadpan eerie-echo vocals. They funked long and hard, bare and urban. This was just the beginning of a curve towards full dance-floor hypnosis.

Across in Tou Scene 2, the smaller room, Neil Landstrum was setting in motion a Scottish dubstep boom, aided by additional bass cabinets, brought in specially for the occasion. This set the stage for the massive escalation provided by Kode9, opening with a live set then merging into a DJ role. The whole factory was juddering, and a brief step outdoors revealed a virtually tangible quaking sensation from a car park vantage point. Womenfolk were inconceivably pressing their entire bodies against the whooming extra-bass bins, while male trousers were flapping, even from a greater distance. As if this weren't sufficient, the Spaceape was bounding up steps to the higher level, radio microphone in hand, exhorting the crush towards even more abandoned dancing. It was extremely gratifying that the Tou Scene part of Numusic came to such a head, providing suitable release of all mass that had built up over four days. It was to be another night in church on the closing Sunday, with Arvo Prt and his "Tabula Rasa." Such are the extreme contrasts that inform daily life during Numusic.

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