winterkälte/ah cama-sotz show has been organized by kontrol alt delete and took place at the vogue in seattle. we arrived a bit early, and while my companions were having a few drinks, I managed to stumble upon udo, herman, dj hana solo, carlos from auricle media/manufactura, and a few other people I got introduced to. we chatted for a while about hands/220N, latest winterkälte/ah cama-sotz releases, and music in general; I managed to get udo's opinions about all recent hands releases as well as some of the upcoming stuff. it felt so nice to be standing in the store (music werks) next to the venue, listening to synapscape (when was the last time you heard that at the store in the states?), speaking about music with the people that write it and spin it.
some time later, around 10:45pm, when the club got sufficiently packed, ah cama-sotz went on. herman had a simple stage setup without any extra lights, or fog machine. standing close to the stage made the setup look very "ordinary," reducing the "show" aspect of it. he looked like a small skinny vulture perched on top of his keyboards, constantly moving between various pieces of his equipment.
his set lasted for about an hour, and he played most of the well-known tracks off previous albums with most of the ambient parts removed, leaving straight bombarding, at times almost technoid, percussion. it seemed like the crowd was really into the music, only waiting for someone to start dancing, breaking awkward immobility. but that someone never appeared, and only a few individuals appropriately dressed in tkk and kill switch klick shirts moved around reluctantly.
overall I liked the energy of the set, and I did enjoy the unusual presentation of material. I wish it was a little louder with some visuals, or maybe even lights. probably I was expecting too much, spoiled by alan's account of hands2000 canadian show. it was a little disappointing to hear the strictly rhythmic performance. it might be perfect for a live show, getting the crowd going, but personally I wanted to hear rhythmic, yet heavily layered, dark, ritual, eerie ambient material - the atmosphere that I have always liked ah cama-sotz for.
throughout a short intermission, during which I allowed myself a glass of beer to get me into more festive mood, I enjoyed a nice dj set with a mix of rhythmic noisy electronics and some technoid rhythms. some time later a shrill piercing frequency cut through the noise of the club crowd, announcing winterkälte's appearance.
as you might already know, the live setup for winterkälte is rather simple, consisting of udo on keyboards and his partner behind the synth drum kit. from the very start the duo got the crowd going instantly. it was the first time I heard winterkälte at the club with people actually *dancing* to it, instead of fleeing, covering their ears. it was the first time I heard it that loud, clear, with heavy clashing layers of static, driving frequencies, and pummeling rhythmic attacks. at once, its sheer density and aggression got to the crowd; the music was literally exploding in the air, advancing with constant rhythm through cacophony of fried electronics.
this is the way winterkälte should be heard, and although the sound could be a little louder (I did see a few people covering their ears during piercing atmospheric interludes, and yet I still craved for louder, harsher sound; I suppose I have been forever spoiled by a sound system at "speaking in tongues"), the intensity of the whole set was something i have not experienced before. even atmospheric passages managed to keep the intensity of the whole set, introducing yet another side of the band.
to free myself from any doubts and avoid suspicious thoughts potentially affecting my impression of the show, I stood in the farthest corner of the dancefloor, where the band was still visible, but people and layers of smoke concealed enough details, making it impossible to tell what parts were actually played live, and how much has been actually a recorded sound. if I closed my eyes, the music filled the space around me completely, becoming larger and even more powerful than just a performance by two musicians on stage. this does not mean that winterkälte had a poor stage presence, on the contrary, I was very surprised witnessing the transformation of quiet, soft-spoken band members into thrashing, frantically moving, grinning duo that produced the most aggressive, most intense, truly "industrial" music, in the full sense of this word.
during one of the tracks, the drums got abandoned, and udo was joined by his partner at the keyboard stand, and for a while both of them looked like a remarkable pair of siamese twins, grinning at the crowd, moving as much as the keyboard stand allowed, sending walls and walls of crushing electronics into the crowd.
finally, after a much-welcomed encore the show was over and truly yours had to retreat outside and walk around the block to calm down and try to recover after this intense sensory overload. and only a few hours later I was able to put together something somewhat intelligible to describe this show. this probably was one of the most intense shows I have been to, and I could only recommend seeing both bands to anyone that have not done that yet.