|Detroit, Michigan -
Picture it -- a dark and ultimately barren night sky. Travelling down
the pothole-laden roads of the motor city, it was clear that the ebb and
flow of traffic had long since passed, leaving nothing but our own two
headlights illuminating the street ahead. With Leviathant serving as scout,
we went out in search of a venue known as Detroit Contemporary. After
driving through ominous steam rising from the grates of the manholes below,
we turned the corner on to Rosa Parks Boulevard, and it was then that
we spotted the building in question. There, immersed in shadows, was Detroit
Approaching the entrance, it was clear that we were -most unfortunately- late. High tempo electronic beats pulsated from a room awash in red light, just beyond the gallery hall. We made our way in, taking care not to trip over the enraptured audience. What first struck us, aside from the engaging rhythm resounding from the speakers ahead, was the intimate nature of the show itself. There were no security guards sporting that horrid shade of yellow, over-sexed testosterone oozing idiots, nor scantily dressed hoochies flashing their "goods". No, this was an atmosphere of appreciation.
Though we don't know the actual titles of the songs performed, each one was unique and set a profound soundscape. Joshua was playing a smooth guitar line through heavy delay. Charlie tweaked a pair of Apple Powerbooks while James Hughes, formly of Ilium, played a second guitar. Spastic bass-drum beats coalesced with 32nd-note hi-hat poly-rhythms, while the melodies of the dueling guitarists played lightly over the composition. The band performed confidently. If we had one word to describe their countenance, it would be focused.
Towards the middle of the set, any NIN fans in attendance received a special treat. The band performed an exclusive interpretation of 'Even Deeper', interspersed with cut-up vocals from the original track found on The Fragile. Musically, their style brought together distinct dichotomies, fusing man with machine-leaving in its wake a clean-textured instrumental set.
As the show progressed, we found ourselves just as enthralled as our peers. Subsequently, at the show's close, we were eager to inquire about the release date of their upcoming album. Upon following up, we were pleased to learn that it's tentatively slated for a late summer release. Until that time, if you want to hear more work from the Telefon Tel Aviv camp, Joshua worked with Danny Lohner to produce two remixes for A Perfect Circle, including the 'Feel My Ice Dub' remix of 'Three Libras' and a remix of 'Judith.' Telefon Tel Aviv also plays a heavy hand along with Lohner on Things Falling Apart, for the remix of 'Where is Everybody.' Charlie Cooper will be collaborating with Slicker on the upcoming Shitkatapult comp, "Cosmik Suckers 2," along with a Fiorna ep on Chicago's Parotic label.
After an intimate, extraordinary show, we would love to shower the band with our accolades, but instead we'll keep it simple and to the point. Given the opportunity, do not hesitate to go see them perform.
To find out more about Telefon Tel Aviv, visit their label's website, heftyrecords.com.
Coordinated and written by Haze and Leviathant for The NIN Hotline.
Do not reprint without permission. Article ©2001 The NIN Hotline