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Massive Philly Prog event tomorrow!

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  • landofchocolate5
    Celebrate the Underground: June 1 Philadelphia Underground Music & Culture Festival By Laralai, Obzine, June 2002 issue On June 1st, an event will be happening
    Message 1 of 1 , May 31, 2002
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      Celebrate the Underground: June 1 Philadelphia Underground Music &
      Culture Festival

      By Laralai, Obzine, June 2002 issue

      On June 1st, an event will be happening in Philadelphia that excited
      me so much I felt compelled to help get the word out. Being a fan of
      music that is daring and experimental, I get so sick of the local
      music scene: a string of bands that all sound like bad rip-offs of
      grossly popular MTV acts, that fit neatly into some tired genre or
      other. I want to hear music that is wild and fresh; that jumps up
      from shadowy corners and makes me leap out of my seat. I don't want
      to see a bunch of stiff, slobby guys staring at their guitars; I want
      to be taken on a sonic and lyrical journey. I want to be disturbed. I
      want to be enraptured. The Philadelphia Underground Music & Culture
      Festival will celebrate the landscape of the underground: music that
      is too complex, too deep, too hard to classify, to fit into the mass
      media mold. There will be four bands performing, from diverse yet
      converging areas of the rock underground, as well as independent
      vendors selling everything from food to indie CDs and merchandise, a
      theatrical light show, a dancer, and other surprises. Two of the
      bands scheduled to perform, The Red Masque (also the event
      organizers) and Land of Chocolate, are local Philly experimental prog-
      rock influenced bands.

      The Red Masque, an eerie, powerful, theatrical band with avant-garde
      inspiration and gothic and psychedelic tones, will be debuting their
      new CD, Victoria and the Haruspex, at the festival. With moments of
      freeform space improv oddly interspersed with metallic guitar,
      accented clashes, angular beats and harsh accents with pulse changes
      at odd moments, abrupt clashes of dissonance, they feel like a
      soundtrack to a nightmarish anachronistic postmodern opera. In any
      one song they go from dreamy spacious soundscapes to dissonant and
      jagged and suddenly melodic in a bawdy medireview way. Just when you
      think you know what's going on, it is dropped from under you, leaving
      you breathless. The vocalist Lynnette Shelley is a deep soprano who
      sometimes sounds almost operatic, at other times breathy and ethereal
      or harsh and growling. The Red Masque has been described
      as "expanding the boundaries of what we call music in an
      extraordinary and adventurous manner", "brutal, beautiful", and
      an "intense sonic experience."

      Land of Chocolate is also considered avant garde and prog rock, but
      is influenced by funk, jazz and fusion. Their CD, Unikorn on the Kob,
      features prominent lyrics and thick vocal harmonies amid syncopated
      beats with mixed meters. Jonn Buzby, former drummer of Finneus Gauge
      (whose album "more once more" was selected as one of the Top 5 albums
      of 1997 by Keyboard Magazine), switches to keyboards and lead vocals
      for this project. The songs are edgy yet catchy with a spirit of gen-
      x fun and lowbrow humor mixed in.The CD ranges from dreamy and
      whimsical to melodious to campy to fast and furious, choppy and
      crashing, with some creepy, spoken-word splashes. At one point you
      hear a voice saying, "I don't want to sound like a queer or nothing,
      but I think unicorns kick ass." What else can you say?

      Hailing from Pittsburgh is Persephone's Dream, a band named for the
      Greek Goddess who embodies the interplay of light and dark: the cycle
      of birth and death. They are a hard-edged art rock band with an
      otherworldly feel, moving from haunting and moody to almost celestial
      to industrial-edged to fast-paced with a punk feel. They present
      extremely theatrical light shows incorporating lighting effects and
      complicated props. Vocalist Karen Nicely is recognized for her
      movement-oriented stage presence and passionate voice.

      The enigmatic Church of Hed comes all the way from Ohio. Their logo
      intrigued me as reminiscent of psychedelic pseudo-but-real religions
      like The Church of the Sub-genius. Conceived by cult musician Paul
      Williams from Quarkspace, Church of Hed is a sort of cyborg, mixing
      organic and robotic, kinetic and computerized sounds. They create
      challenging and atmospheric space rock. Their music traverses
      structures from songs to experimental improv to futuristic dance
      music. The share a sort of musical language with musicians like Bjork
      or The Orb.

      Now, even though these four acts are radically different from each
      other, they share something that is hard to pinpoint: musical
      expertise but with a daring disregard for traditional form. They are
      rock bands that stretch the boundaries of rock music and blend genres
      in startling ways. They all have a taste of surreal and dreamlike,
      looking to take you to a place you're not sure of the ending. Their
      themes deal with the depth of human experience: mythology, religion,
      confusion, emotion and chaos. Their songs run through peaks and
      valleys, never staying at one level. They are unpredictable, tightly
      structured at points yet fond of atmospheric improvisation. They are
      interested not just in playing, but in putting on a show that
      captivates the audience almost against their will and takes them on a
      journey they will not forget. Be there. I will.

      Philadelphia Underground Music & Culture Festival, Saturday June 1 @
      The Sedgwick Cultural Center, 7131 Germantown Avenue; 215-248-9229/
      $10 admission or $20 package with T-shirt included. All ages. Vending
      or ticket info? Visit www.theredmasque.com/pumc.htm
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