If you’re roaming the streets of Santa Fe searching for live music this weekend, you’re bound to come into direct contact with at least one rendition of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”
If by Saturday, March 16, you’ve had about enough of the Irish hullabaloo and yearn to wrap your ears around something completely different, there’s one place you should definitely show your face. At 8 p.m. on Saturday, High Mayhem Emerging Arts (2811 Siler Lane, www.highmayhem.org) welcomes San Diego industrial-doom-drone soloist Author & Punisher (aka Tristan Shone) and local band We Drew Lightning to the stage. The concert is We Drew Lightning’s chance to unleash its brand-new self-produced album, Glitch. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce fans of WDL’s lush experimental psych rock to the band’s newest addition, keyboardist Aaron Jenks.
Roland Ostheim (guitars, keys, bass, brass, and “howls”) and Michael Smith (drums, keys, samples, and “more howls”) have been at the core of WDL since the band’s founding, and fans get weak-kneed over their instrumental prowess as well as their creative live looping and sampling. WDL’s debut album, Swimming With Orange, dropped on High Mayhem Records in 2007 and saw Ostheim and Smith tinkering with the juxtaposition of electro-centric ambient noise and propulsive rock-based instrumental crescendos. Jenks’ contribution to four of Glitch’s tracks doesn’t just fill empty spaces or even the stylistic odds. His keyboard lines further texturize an already-full-sounding ensemble and challenge preconceptions about a keyboard’s “place” in a band as diverse, dynamic, and technically meditative as WDL.
Glitch, which was recorded at High Mayhem Studios and We Drew Lightning’s own Ruthless Sweetheart Studio in 2011 and 2012, draws on many influences, including the Pixies and Sonic Youth. It also contains musical contributions by Carlos Santistevan, Lily Taylor, and Joan Yatsevitch, all of whom have strong Santa Fe ties. This is an album so immersive, so hauntingly beautiful in composition and execution, so expertly produced and infectious that it could propel We Drew Lightning to a type of national recognition it never dreamed of — and perhaps never wanted. Hear for yourself by visiting www.wedrewlightning.bandcamp.com.
Author & Punisher is a sight and sound to behold. Shone received a Bachelor of Science degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2000 and uses many custom-fabricated machines and instruments to create his industrial sound. A professional background in automation and custom mechanical design came in handy when he was developing his Dub Machines — instruments he describes as “precision industrial sound interfaces: rails, rack & pinion, headgear, big knobs” — and his Drone Machines, which comprise throttles, bellows, a linear actuator (something that creates motion in a straight line, as opposed to the circular motion created by a conventional electric motor), and a rotary encoder, which is commonly used in place of potentiometers in electronic-music devices to ensure that a value selected by the encoder can be recalled and then incremented or decremented without having to account for the position of ... oh hell, nevermind. Ask a DJ.
It’s difficult to get a sense of what A&P does without watching him do it. For a taste, head over to his website, www.tristanshone.com, and check out a few performance videos.
There’s a $10 cover at the door for the all-ages High Mayhem show. Oh! One more thing! Pasatiempo is online now. You can read “Sound Waves” and other great stuff at www.pasatiempomagazine.com. It’s free through April 9.
— Rob DeWalt