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ultra milkmaids, v., cornucopia - cincinnati (mar. 2002)
posted on 16-May-2002 by anton
this show in cincinnati was one of those events that draws in all kinds of people: you get idm heads, industrial fans and post-rock indie kids. it seems to be the case here, although the "crowd" barely amounted to 15 locals.

the venue itself was quite intriguing - big old house converted into a bar and a performance space with many victorian artifacts left intact. the show itself took place in a big room adorned with massive bookshelves. if not for the jukebox noise downstairs and uncomfortable chairs (complete darkness and huge leather couches would have been a lot more appropriate, thank you), it could have been a perfect place, lost in time and space.

we have cornered both brothers and made them sign our stack of vinyls and cds, then we occupied even more of their time bombarding them with questions; partly it was this embarrassed, shameful feeling for the state of the local scene, this subconscious attempt to make them feel welcomed and display our interest (of course as far as interest goes, we were completely sincere), and I hope we did not scare them away with the sheer collector's zeal.

cornucopia was first, and his set was extremely minimal - one guy hunched over his equipment, playing a mix of liquid drones and dark fluid atmospheres. with my eyes closed and maximum of concentration I could build a certain atmosphere with slight analog touch and pulsing, flowing feel. overall it served as a nice interlude to v.'s set.

v. consists of two people - jeff and james, and their material is an intriguing mix of angular glitch and various percussive elements, often found before the show (which was the case here). during first part of the set I could not get into overly "acoustic" and raw percussion sound, accompanied by slightly glitchy minimal lines; I closed my eyes and a few minutes later was startled with heavy, almost tribal percussion that turned out to be two wooden blocks, picked up before the show that became a percussion instrument, livening up the set. it might have been my lack of exposure to these "found instruments" improvisations, but I could only get into the music with my eyes closed, perhaps it is the whole raw, luddite-like approach to technology that bothers this tech-sensitive nerve in me. altogether, this live improvisation was quite impressive, and more successful than anything I have seen in this genre before.

after short intermission, milkies appeared on "stage" wearing their white lab coats/jump suites that glowed in the dark, reflecting the light cast by the projector, displaying pixelized abstract pictures on the screen behind them. ultra milkmaids set was very fuzzy and layered, this peculiar angular ambient with layers and layers of drones and drawn-out acoustic elements overlaid with small glitches and clicks. everyone in a while there would be a quiet minimal interlude that would launch into yet another sonic escapade. it always retained this hypnotic feel, first experienced by me on their "peps" release - quiet acoustic glitchiness and mellow atmospheres.

frankly I like more laid-back, minimal soundscapes by the duo, they always proved to have more emotional impact on me, but seeing both of those guys in their jump suits, filling the room with wonderful acoustic electronica mix was a completely different experience. those of you that missed it, won't have a chance to see it again, because, according to both brothers, this american tour was the last live performance for ultra milkmaids (although their website might tell a different story), and those jump suits were indeed retired in chicago - the last stop of the tour.

picture gallery
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ultra milkmaids/v.
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photographs © 2002 by alan mcclelland

related links
ultra milkmaids "peps" review
zeromoon/v. website
cornucopia website
ultra milkmaids website

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