Monday, March 1, 2010

Wildbirds & Peacedrums LIVE

I saw the Swedish duo live Friday night at the intimate Bowery venue, Mercury Lounge.

The show was opened by the Loom, an enjoyable crew that sounded like a mix between the night's headliner and Beirut (at least when it comes to the trumpet's definition in their tuneage). I can see how their stuff could be really great, altho the sound levels were poorly mixed at the show, and there appeared an occasional dissonance from some of the instrumentation as well. Regardless, they're definitely worth a listen.

As for the main attraction: Mariam Wallentin's voice does things that Mariah Carey probably wished she could do when she was at her vocal best (you may think I exaggerate, or you may think "apples and oranges," but I certainly prefer one to the other). Her sometimes smoky, sometimes smooth, always incredibly-ranged voice-box jumps around like an absurdly graceful jackrabbit, simultaneously sabotaging you emotionally with unexpectedly long and wonderfully placed pauses. Same goes for Wallentin's husband and drummer bandmate, Andreas Werliin. His rhythms violated all kinds of expectations, calming at one moment, and exploding the next, suddenly changing tempo while the audience wonders how the couple could collaborate on such avante-gardely timed music. Their internal clocks must have been linked like those interactive Tamagotchi Connection pets, reading the sheet music in the other's souls, following some soundless metronome connecting their hearts. Ok, too much, I know. But I couldn't get over it. How did they know when to play off of each other in such a destructured song? Miriam probably just told Andreas to wait a long time in silence before coming back in, but I like the tamagotchi idea better (for a number of reasons, including my romantic soul as well as my "you know you grew up in the 90s when..." nostalgia. It's Aaaaaaall Thaaat!).

And I must mention the instrumentation. Other than Miriam's vocals & the vocal fx put on it, the harmonica is the only non-percussive instrument on the stage, making a single appearance the entire night. Granted there are some pre-recorded backing tracks, but there is an unbelievable excellence in the barely-melodic (when at all) instrumentation of this music still refreshing your soul, sending out calming energy. What a paradox: the stage being wholly comprised of percussion, and the breaks and changes in tempo promising theorists that the music will be incapable of being followed. It should induce anxiety, but instead the notes of the steel drum pair with the brushing of the snare to take you to a dreamy rainforest in which you can hear the music of giant raindrops softly bursting on leaves and branches, high and low, washing away your troubles and revealing the beauty of the world in its most natural state. Both heavy and uplifting, it washes away any negative auras as a heavy rain, theoretically bleak, washes away the dirt and disgust, leaving rainbows and fresh smells and the sparkle of morning dew.

Ok, enough romanticism. I know this post got a little out of hand, but now that I've calmed down, please take me seriously when I say it really would benefit you to catch them live.


Anhelo said...

Tamogotchi! I had one of those

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