GNOMES OF ZURICH
Thursday 24th April, 8.30pm
Rose of England, Nottingham
£5 adv from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/26932
In a world where making music that has it's roots in improvisation is often a cowardly move designed to allow people to never have to allign themselves with something definite, Magik Markers' freeform and free-rolling gigs are a direct opposite. Sure, they're rooted in improv, but this is all about seizing the moment, reacting to the environment and engaging in courageous attempts to connect with an audience that can give rise to tremendous moments of truly uplifting personal power.
The Markers' first visit to Nottingham was nothing short of astounding, utterly baffling the crowd at the Social with a physical and emotional attack that was part terrifying and part pure (accidental) theatre. Read about it here:
And then when you're done reading then watch some footage from the show that Mr James Smith had the good sense to film.
Honestly, it was something else.
What sets the Markers apart from other contemporaries is vocalist/guitarist Elisa Ambrogio (also of Six Organs Of Admittance). Whereas so much 'noisy' music is designed to make an audience feel alienated or to question what's going on, there is always something empowering and communal about Ambrogio's efforts that lifts the Magik Markers into the realms of ecstasy as opposed to revelling in anger or hollow gestures.
I'm not shitting you, I felt I could tip a truck over after seeing Magik Markers at SXSW in 2007.
Now reduced to a streamlined 2 piece of Ambrogio and drummer Pete Nolan, the Markers' aim is even sharper. Their recent LP Boss for Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label (and recorded by Sonic Youth bandmate Lee Ranaldo who contributes guitar) is more structured than previous efforts though no less demented. They've wowed audiences opening for Sonic Youth, Dinosaur and The Germs (!), J Mascis has even woken from slumber long enough to pound the kit for them on occasion. We're super excited to have them back in Nottingham on an amazing bill. Don't miss them. http://www.ecstaticpeace.com/artist.php?id=5
Human Bell is a collaborative effort between 2 of Baltimore, Maryland's most forward-thinking musicians. Dave Heumann is perhaps best known as a long time band member and collaborator of Bonnie Prince Billy as well as leading his own band Arboreteum who you may have seen with Dead Meadow in Nottingham a while back. Back as early as 1999 Heumann began playing with Nathan Bell (get the band name now?). Bell was responsible for the thick, endlessly pulsing low end of the now legendary Lungfish in their mid-period, contributing his anchoring bass to the albums Artificial Horizon, The Unanimous Hour and Necrophones. This alone would be cause for lesser men to hang up their music hat but since then Bell has forged his own musical identity with beautiful solo banjo pieces and in collobration with Heumann. Human Bell takes a similarly meditative stance to the mighty Lungfish, letting slow riffs intertwine and simmer perfectly. Their music takes in American primative blues and meshes it with Eastern influences in an effort to create a perfectly measured and intuitive whole, designed to lift the listener into a wonderful void where mobile phones don't ring and the internet is just a bad joke. They're over here to promote an LP on the lovely Thrill Jockey label and to play Scotland's Tryptych Festival but we managed to convince them to come down here and do this Nottingham show for us. It's going to be excellent. http://www.myspace.com/humanbell