The Cube, Bristol
27 April 2013
Experimental doom dub – noise made listenable – may not be for everyone but our reviewer finds it captivating, and a formula that leaves him punch-drunk on the dreaminess.
Jon Porras and Evan Caminiti are the two experimental musicians that make up the band, Barn Owl. Over their years together, the pair have been developing their unique minimal sound.
Usually pulling the tones from their guitars then tweaking the frequencies with an impressive array of effects pedals. It seems as if they have forgone the guitars as there are none to be seen on stage, just a table full of knobs and leavers attached to what seems like a homemade mixer.
Nonetheless as the tones chime up, they are as dark and intense as ever. Their ‘Doom Dub’ as they describe it is a heady mix of rumbling bass, hissing static and bending feedback. Ten minutes the PA cuts out inexplicably just as they are building the wall of sound. We are sent back to reality by the awkward silence but within minutes the sound man twiddles a lead and hey presto we are back in.
Tonight’s set seems limitless and fresh. These aren’t songs, more like alien worlds in which we are immersed, fluid and featureless. An ever-changing noise, because that’s what it is. This is noise made listenable. Not everyone’s cup of tea but those that have made it out to the Cube tonight are transfixed but what is occurring on stage. Each movement of the hand by the duo unfolds a new pathway through the noise. Melody is present but it is hidden. Unearthed with each fizzing frequency.
The show is accompanied by black and white lo-fi visuals that seems to marry well with the music being created. The shadows highlight more than light sometimes as we project our own subconscious into the spaces between the music and visuals.
For most of the show, I feel drugged. Drunk on the woozy vibrations fucking with my head and just as I almost about to fall into a half-sleep, the music/noise abrumptly ends. The crowd show their rabid appreciation as the duo leave the stage. My walk home tonight feels like a dream and it’s all Barn Owl’s fault.
All words by Philip Allen. You can read more from him in his author archive.