Real Live Action

White Visitation

w/ Minimal Violence, Nervous Operator

Avenue Upstairs; July 25, 2015


Immediately before the arcane entrance to Sacred Sound Club’s Saturday night event, Nervous Operator was banging out the back alley. It was a nice material reminder of the crass thrum that discordant beats possess, before ascending upstairs to an interior space where noise is love. Inside the decor was conscientious, with ample room in what ought to be a tight spot cordoned off with opaque tarp.

Nervous Operator was the evening’s mode of exploration for local artist Spencer Davis: the moniker under which he has released anxious spats of controlled noise to the aggressive techno of late. Davis’s set worked with tracks that were maniacal in busy clamour, yet patient and lingering, casual uptempo. With factory clangs and perverse dub distortions that vacuumed right into the murk, Davis established the mood. While needing to warm up a room for hours, his craft was focused, and the set crept along with sustained impact.

With more evident transitions, Minimal Violence’s set was the most coherent as particular pieces and statements. While the element of live hardware suggested a focus on construction, Ashlee Luk and Lida P’s live idiosyncrasies also owed to their melodic choices. Repetitions of eroded synth shaded the tracks as dark ambient introspections. And there was a wonderful contrapuntal movement in the music. Often overlaid bass suggested melodic closures for the synth loop, or would render it more menacing, revealing a mutable texture. More than any other act that night, Minimal Violence gave us music with an emergent poetic and thought-provoking quality.

Hailing from Mexico City, Nick Guerrero’s White Visitation has built a reputation around distilling an array of influences, from avant-garde to house, into a stable of powerful innervations. With those influences, and beats that owe a dense sound to experiments with texture, White Visitation began his set with a powerful rush of noise somewhere between the om of jet engines and the drone of brass. Despite this introduction, Guerrero’s chosen beats snapped with a prompt energy. And while the set’s colour was industrial, there were bright tones and organic touches fitting gracefully: each layer popped amid busy sound. It was powerful techno that never sounded gawkish or trite, courtesy of Guerrero’s honed sensibilities. He was all on the mark, and White Visitation hit the crowd at the evening’s height.

I would have been content to dance with White Visitation all night, but the body is a material paroxysm: the vessel of pleasure and its throttling anchor. Besides, all these sleepless nights engender revolutionary thought. So I went home early, forgetting that Derivatives were up next. And it’s a shame because I’ve exclusively heard positive things. If only I were not so far from the German elixir Club-Mate. It’s 2015: I should be riding the flows of liquid capital and aerosol desire, sipping carbonated energy drinks while I’m blasted with artificial air.

Anyhow, drink Club-Mate. These late nights are worth it.