The All Tomorrow’s Parties festival held up in the Catskills sounds to have been incredible. My Bloody Valentine “curated” the event. (I’m still getting used to this word in reference to music fests) So there’s hardly anyone in the line up I wouldn’t have loved to see. Additionally, the site itself just seems perfect, an old run-down resort where music-listeners can retreat and commisserate. The best weddings I’ve been too have been held away like this, where the setting creates a new communitas and a chance to be intimate with strangers. So many shows I’ve attended are so sad for how little interaction there is between people, when we’ve just shared such profound sonic and bodily experiences.
So I was so happy to learn that in their new and growing identity as a location broadcast host, WFMU would be sharing live sets from the fest. The broadcasts I caught sounded GREAT. And now that more are being released, I’m even more grateful. Well-recorded live music, especially that which is attached to specific and meaningful sites and events, only grows in significance with the disappearance of time from music in the MP3-ipod era.
The live set from Growing – an act previously unknown to me – is incredible. I just keep listening to it, and get lost in the loops and repetition, forgetting the site and event again, only to get snapped back into the document of the thing. The nature of the recording nicely echoes the music itself; the documentary nature of the recording comes in and out just as the music’s loops take one in and out of the perception of human intervention. Only once in the 36 minute set (which is over so fast) does the fabulous Liz Berg step in to station ID the thing, and as always I’m happy to hear her voice, reminding me that I’m tied to other listeners. And at the end, when the liveness kicks back in one more time, an ecstatic concertgoer near the mic lets out a blessed “THAT WAS AMAZING!!!!! HOLY SH%T!” The ecstasy is contagious.