Friday, 27 May 2011

Samekhmem - Redcar Church of Glue, 44th June, Year Gamma

You have to wonder if unsuspecting punters arriving at Samekhmem’s live shows should have warnings from the Government Health Sphere beamed into their skullplexes before entering the show. Any number of vital organs seem to come under threat during their 25-timeblock set and, possibly due to rumoured connections with important personnel within The Eternal Coalition, nobody seems to have tried to stop them.
Those present might come out wiser, weaker people, but this still turns out to be a unique experience which, at points, makes the son et lumiere eye-poppingness of Katie Price’s 130th birthday celebrations look like a tacky firework display in comparison.
The enigmatic trio’s avowed intention is to force fans to listen to the music rather than focus on their physical forms by obscuring them with dazzlingly bright light-suits which induce pain in the naked eye if gazed upon directly.
“It’s quite hot in the suits,” Drone 1 Sam said in a rare interview with Technocore fanzine Killerwatt recently. “But it helps create an atmosphere of anxiety and discomfort on stage, to match the emotions we wish to create with our music. We want people to feel pleasure, but with an edge of unease. Like tripping on a cocktail of Glee and Snore tablets, perhaps, where you always feel you could tip over into a comedown of paranoia and cold sweats at any moment."
The cognoscenti turn up wearing power-goggles and pale, light deflecting suits, but when the Sam, Ekh and Mem materialize, hovering a few feet above the stage, there is still a palpable sense of apprehension in this mid-sized venue.

They play only one, 25-timeblock track tonight – they play a different single track at each show – and it is simply entitled 'Pink Sigh'. Initially, it tickles our cochleas with lush, glossy major chords sliding blissfully around on a soft featherbed of somnambulant nonsense chanting. The gentle rumble of Burundi drums suggests distant danger and, just as we are getting comfortable, we detect beneath the surface melody a repetitious, hypnotic sequence of three whistles, a pink noise mantra reminiscent of the semi- discordant whistling moog riff that underpins the ancient Maceo & The Macks classic Cross The Tracks. Gradually that becomes more prominent within the sonic maelstrom, before another layer of emotion is released. Bursting out of the mix, we hear a sample of a child’s cry – culled, I can exclusively reveal, from Ekh’s two-year-old when she had a spork confiscated this morning. There is a pause after that initial cry of dismay, as the child catches her breath, which causes us to calm once more, before we are startled by the second, guttural tsunami of anguish. Each time it repeats, the unbearable tension builds again, yet the release of energy following it is impossibly cathartic.
Increasingly, at around the 15-timeblock mark, some members of the audience complain of feeling unwell, and veterans of previous Samekhmem shows offer reassurance, urging them to ‘embrace the fear’. Finally, the central mantra is played in an upwardly changing key, causing a feeling of rising tension until, as the higher registers are reached, people gasp for breath and their limbs tingle and shake with orgasmic intensity. There is no encore. How could there be? Physically, mentally and emotionally, we are all spent.
Anybody who, since the Eternal Coalition’s ban on procreation, has been deprived of that much-mythologised feeling of what sex is like, well, just open your orifices and enjoy.

Arts Appreciation Facilitator BS3588 J Sharp

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