DVD-R, Zvukoprocessor, 2006
I’m never really sure how to review live DVDs. This is partly because I don’t buy them often myself, except as records of gigs or tours I’ve seen in person. But also it’s because they don’t really fit with my music listening habits. Of course, not all electronic bands are particularly suitable to the DVD medium, since the visual experience is often very much secondary to the sound, but this Israeli three-piece is thankfully an exception. Their sinister soundscapes are generated partly in the physical domain, with spoken and manipulated words and indistinct noise-making devices — such as something that looks like a TV aerial played with a violin bow on “Antimatter” — and their stage set of oscilloscopes and broken monitors adds eye-candy.
But even the majority electronic components of their sound are orchestrated by means of banks of inter-connected equipment, meaning that when things get hectic (such as on the aptly-titled “Insects”) the musicians become rather frantically animated in a way that bloke-with-laptop acts never do. Their music leans heavily towards cold, dark ambient trips, punctuated with digital glitchery and an industrial edge that recalls grandmothers of the genre like Throbbing Gristle, and while they hint at the capability for Merzbovian sonic destructiveness they never quite break into full-on noise. At times (“Hum/Sine” and “Noizeek Box”) they playfully flirt with an element of childlike whimsy which is a welcome counterpoint to the serious experimentalism.
While the sound quality is pretty good for a live recording, the video seems to have been recorded or transcoded at a slightly low frame rate; at times this gives a sensation of being stuck in an early nineties video game, albeit one with slightly more creative bad-guys than usual. There’s very little crowd noise until the end, since it’s one of those gigs (we’ve all been there) where the transitions between the tracks are so fluid that to cheer early would break the spell. The overall effect is highly competent and pleasingly hypnotic, and not a million miles from Nurse With Wound’s recent live debut; they’ve certainly made the best of what’s clearly a low-budget production and I hope they can bring the show to London some day. It’s good to see the lo-fi DIY ethic surviving and prospering.
— Andrew Clegg