Tungsten 74, Live at Minicine?
Hailing from Brooklyn, Tungsten 74 once again graced the little ole town of Shreveport with its presence last Wednesday. I'm a bit of a closet experimental/instrumental music fan, and it's always a delight to experience it live, because let's face it, there's something about just hearing some guitars and swaying around that makes you feel like you're on drugs, even though you have never smoked a doobie in your life.
Tungsten 74 was able to use the performance space to their advantage, placing themselves in a triangle around the audience, which created a strange live experience. The drummer was hidden away so well that I thought for awhile that it must have been a badass recording of a drummer. It also invited the user to experience the space interactively, turning and shifting depending on the sound that interested them at the moment. Very little passive swaying or nodding typical of indie rock shows was involved.
Not only did you get involved with observing the band members, but there was experimental film to accompany T74's performance. Images of racecars, moire filtered crowds and people, highways and long spaces of plains interrupted by trains and windmills merged together to create a mishmash of nature/culture/technological juxtopositions that I creamed myself over (I don't work here for nothin'). I couldn't help but notice the implications of trains running through open plains, with their little boxes full of products for humans to consume. It reminded me of the idea of packaging nature, of how we often set aside where nature is and isn't. See the Nature Conservancy for a prime example. It was almost as if T74 had arranged for the train to pass, signalling the little boxes of nature to pass by.
More apparent was the dynamic of the audience. At times people moved across the projecter, juxtaposing the simulated video, and the real-life movements and interactions in the room with the band's work. It created a live, one-time only effect of exploring the intersection of nature and culture by blocking out sections of the video (sometimes of natural settings) with the sillouette of a human figure. Talk about an image there: a human taking up the space where nature should be.
T74's music is almost like a rock power ballad in its pulse and the way it creates a theme, drives it home, drones it on and builds on it. The melody may just be a series of surging notes up and down the scale, but they manage to add on to it with layered instrumentation that creates a wall of sound. Similar to how Mogwai can take a meloncholy sound and by the end of the sound turn it into a joyous and triumphant sound, T74 take the listener on a ride of emotion and sound building on the established rhythms and sounds. The percussion is as tight and interesting as Pelican's, but takes out the darkness to their sound and replaces it with ethereal, intense motion-filled sound.