Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nothing Lasts Forever with Dhug Diario & Donovan; The Lovecraft Bar, 4.11.12

Nothing Lasts Forever is a monthly night of experimental horror music. Each second Wednesday of the month a different group of artists collaborate to create a dark atmosphere. Hosted by Portland's best Horror theme bar, The Lovecraft.

This month's installment of Nothing Lasts Forever was made up of Dhug Diario & Donovan, who together make electronic music under the bizarre moniker Chickenhed. They were joined in a collective improvisation with host Jonathan Christ, to create a bizarre three - headed biomechanical noise machine, with visual ambiance added by Dustin Christ (no relation), who was showing existential German cartoons and scenes from Hellraiser 2. The overall effect was of a spooky hall-of-mirrors, straight to hell.

The three musicians were all perched over glowing laptop screens, running a variety of sound-mangling software, manipulating samples and loops from household objects and acoustic instruments and mashing them into unrecognizable to create a kaleidoscopic jello salad of flangers, beat-repeaters, resonators and reverb; they had the local vampires and zombies literally writhing on the floor, freaking out the squares who wandered in off of Grand Ave. At times it sounded like a funeral for Mega Man, at times it sounded like out-takes from the Escape From New York soundtrack, the whole was satisfyingly murky and deranged; nostalgic yet of the moment. Listening to the loops fall in and out of sync was lulling and hypnotic, my eyes were beginning to roll up in my head, and only the intercession of my friend Nathan prevented me from drifting off to the 5th dimension, right in front of everybody.

It was impossible to tell what each musician was adding to the mix, the mark of a truly accomplished improvisation. They were tuned into each other, and looked as if they were having a good time. I'm not yet familiar with the works of Chickenhed, and it was the first i'd heard of Dhug & Donovan, but it seems to be satisfyingly surreal, and there's a shitload of free material on their website, so it looks like i've found a new band to love. There was the best turn out i'd seen so far, everybody was friendly and talkative; new allegiances were made, old friendships were re-kindled; Nothing Lasts Forever just keep getting better and better.

Jonathan Christ does a good job of re-inventing what horror music actually means, anywhere from electro-acoustic improv to harsh noise, introducing a diverse array of the dark pleasure of Lovecraft's infernal ambiance. It is a refreshing addition to Portland's somewhat schizophrenic experimental music scene. The sound is good, and listening to people improvise noise music for hours is always a good time. Good place to make some new friends, to zone out and channel spirits, to draw or write or drink and make out. Some people even dance! Considering that there's no cover charge for these happenings, and there is just no excuse to not make the jaunt, every second Wednesday. Don't miss out!

Dhug Diario



Jonathan Christ

The Lovecraft

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