Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Live Review: Alog @ Empty Bottle 8/17/06

Alog is atmospheric and dreamy with minimalist music that has slowly added effects to it in order to create something complex as it is simplistic, which is to say that it’s something you have to listen to for awhile to understand why it works. It is, to be sure, music you have to be patient for. While it is rewarding, it is not easily accessible. I cringed at first when I saw band members Espen Sommer Eide and Dag-Are Haugan come out with laptops because there’s a certain aesthetic to watching people play an instrument vs. pressing a keyboard button (which I guess is why we don’t have rock shows inside offices). In addition, fellow Norwegian artist Kim Hiorthøy had unfortunately done just that when I saw him live a couple of years ago opening up for the lovely Mum. Even though I had enjoyed Hiorthøy’s music that night, I felt a little disappointed overall. Luckily, I was put at ease right before Alog’s set when two guitars were also brought out; both a regular guitar and one without a headstock were used. In addition, a Thndtrix (which is an instrument invented and hand built by Alog) was used which looked like a small box and sounded a little like a fuzzy electronic theramin to me. Another instrument that was used was a midi-based sax that controlled various samples on the laptop, which I found interesting both in theory and in practice. In one song, there was almost a heart beat-like sound and in another the guitar tunings were slowly tweeked during the song to remind one of a slowly adjusting camera whose image goes in and out of focus. At times, it was a surprisingly organic feeling electronic symphony. Check out the bizarre but captivating video to Alog’s "Secret Flash" by clicking in the center of their website. Check out their songs by visiting their Myspace page

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