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Ulver + Zweizz

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The frequent visitors of Eskulap in Poznań have known, more or less, what to expect from the sound system of this place. As usual, technicians were ruthless and turned the machinery up to the maximum level, which rendered it possible for the the gathered to absorb the volume, generated by the performing artists, with their whole bodies.
This time a group of Norwegians presented itself on the cult stage.

For a start, a niche band Zweizz gave its show, welcoming the atendees with a lavatory placed in the middle of the stage, playing a peculiar combination of sounds consisting of black metal with a great deal of various musical turmoil coming from the bizzare contrivance. The toilet nonetheless turned out to be an exceptionally significant element of this weird show. From the very beginning the performer was flirting with the audience by means of his butt, while playing his pieces with electric tooth brushes, among the others. Among the appliances whihc were used by the musician, one could also discern an instrument shaped like a twisted trumpet and the already-mentioned lavatory, which the man was both talking to and using as means of communication with the listeners. In the background the sounds of building and renovation works were reverbating, with a predominating drill of a driller, pneumatic hammer, interlacing by the hum of a horn. At the acme of the show, the artist was blowing the horn, sitting on the toilet, presenting, not bothered by anything or anyone, his very own constrictor muscle to the audience. Little did this performance have in common with music itself, yet it was by all mmeans successful show which literally left the attendees bewildered. I assume that everyone who would give their show after the one I have just described, would be musically regarded just as a good one. There was constantly displaying a logo created from an upside-down cross and a pentagram, why it was vividly pink remains an arguable fact. The guy using the toilet to communicate with the audeince is at least distasteful, eyt on the other hand it was a good opportunity to acquaint yourself with the art of lavatories.

The whole comprised a composite mish-mash of broken tunes, interlaced with moans and the reverbation of machine sounds. The eclectic noise for the musical orthodox of such way of playing. I have to mention that I personally do not feel a strong inner need to watch someone's constrictor muscle, as well as I cannot come to terms with the majority of the audience, whose comments stated that this sort of a permormance is worth to be kept in memory for the lifetime.
despite different controversions, Zweizz from the beginning was building a specific atmosphere of a community, drawing attention of the gathered to his spectacle in that way, being immensly eager to share all his best with them. Some of the poeple were clearly disgusted, did not know what it was all about and were desperately trying to find themselves in the given situation, with no success, though. For some of them it was the total art, expressing itself by means of sound and picture, must have definitely pleased the tastes of programs in the style of Jackass. The show was expressive, exceptional, picturesque and, what is the most important - the aim was accomplished as the creator managed to capture the attention of the audience and the result is worth using every means, no matter how controversial they might appear.

Then played a band which everyone was anticipating, constituting somewhat a concert curiosity, for Ulver used to be a studio band, merely recording albums without giving life shows. The musicians firmly restrained from playing concerts for an umpteen years of their existence, which seemed quite an incomprehensible decision for their fans. The news from 2009 about giving the very first life show ever electrified a great number of faithful fans. The music of Ulver is simply perfect to play it live. The spacious compositiona exploiting a wide range of charmingly good samples and sound extravaganza are outstandignly tasty musical dish, which, unfortunately, did not reveal itself for every enthusiast of the band's work who came to see Ulver on 5th April.
Ulver treated us to an immense dose of dark experimental music, based on the sound of synthesizers. Some appliances placed onstage were creating disturbing sequences of tunes, fluently changing parts of aborted rythyms into soothing states of meditated silence. Still surprising, the subsequent tracks kept on creating different atmosphere with every change of sound, being an exquisite ilustration for musical researches.

Nonetheless, in no way could the usage of various means of expression hide the fact that the band turnes out to be rather average with regard to the live performances. After the concert, the mixed feelings related to the following issue - will the musicians feel at ease onstage after such a long period of exsisting merely inside the studio? - cristlized themselves - the artists' behavior spoke for itself - they had better contact with one another than with the audience. A specific sort of frustration was clearly visible as far as the sheer performace of the musicians was concerned. Little do we know what was the reason for it, whether it was a tight schedule or general tiredness, yet a kind of disrespectful attitude towards the gathered could be noticeable. Not that good a sound, problems with a battery, the vocalist struggling with the lyrics do not constitute an overly good recommendation for people who would like to hear Ulver playing live. At some point Garm turned to a part of the listeners standing by the railings asking them why they were not participating in the show and whether they simply did not enjoy it.
Interesting visuals and the eagerness of the audience, willing to take part in that peculiar misterium, did not help any due to the band's lack of interaction with the listeners and the professionalism, so characteristic of the old and experienced musicians performing live. Despite willingnesses, I have an impression that the concert was short of something. A couple of tracks, not even an hour of music are definitely too little in the case of the artists of such a class. Perhaps the atmosphere of the club did not work to the whole's advantage or maybe the tiredness of the crew got the better of them. Neither lively welcome of the audience nor moments during which the subtle voice of Garm sounded immensly well when combined with extraordinary blend of electronica helped whatsoever. The musicians did not manage to fully conjure the mysterious world of the latest release "War of the Roses" right in front of the gathered' senses. Recording a good studio album is one thing but playing it live with a view to mesmerizing the listeners with sounds is another thing. Entrancing the audience of a few hundred people is the real art. There is nothing left to do other than hoping that the group will someday succeed in mastering this art.
At the end, the band reminded everyone about their metal-based origin, leaving the stage with the words "you can fuck off now, we are off to drink".

Translator: murd
Add date: 2011-04-20 / Live reports

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