Mar 122012

Friday, March 30

Al’s Sidecar, next to Al’s Bar at the corner of 6th and Limestone.

Some of North of Center’s readers may remember last year’s “Double Down Tour” featuring Peter J. Woods and Bryce Beverlin II, who over the course of two nights presented electric and acoustic noise sets, a monologue, and a physics discussion.  Well, Peter J Woods is once again venturing outside of Milwaukee, this time with the harsh noise/free improve group Phoned Nil Trio, which also features Dan Schierl (of Dan of Earth) and Neil Gravender (of Lucky Bone, and a recent Nohl Fellowship winner).

Because their sound is difficult to pin down, here’s a description from a recent Phoned Nil Trio press release: “The sounds are spastic and totally awkward, combining harsh static blasts with synth pulses, tape hiss, arbitrary vocal samples, and long silences in a way that barely holds itself together. Sounds awkwardly cut in and out, slowly reaching a point of equilibrium only to have it ruined by the next jarring idea, leaving the audience constantly in a state of intriguing confusion. Live, the group matches its bizarre sounds with a strange theatricality, including the band brewing a free pot of coffee for the audience at every show during the performance (the percolator often doubling as a musical instrument as well).”

Rounding out the show are Lexin’tonians Wretched Worst and Trance Substantiation.  Wretched Worst plays “gore-splattered, wounded-berserker, barebones squish-metal—metal too liquefied to bang your head to.” All you can do, one fan has opined, is “grimace and make a sour face, while shaking your head in disapproval, unable to turn away.” Trance Substantiation, meanwhile, makes for what NoC reviewer Matt Minter has called “uneasy listening” that comes “from the bottom of a barf bucket—like the radiation that is slowly giving you cancer, or the sound of somebody getting stabbed in slow-motion.”

Those hoping to imbibe more than the live-brewed coffee provided by Phoned Nil Trio ought to bring their own refreshments—It’s OK.

–Aaron German

Doors open at 8:30PM, Show at 9PM; $5 donation (more or less as you are able). Show location has been updated to reflect new location at Al’s Sidecar, next to Al’s Bar at the corner of 6th and Limestone.

May 112011

By G. Jordan Johnson

Hack-er |noun|

1.     An enthusiastic and skillful computer programmer or user.

2.     A person who uses computers to gain unauthorized access to data.

Anytime the word hacker is uttered, images come to mind of pasty, frail, eyeglass-clad boys and girls intently staring at computer screens and tapping away at the keys. Many associate the word with its second definition and think of misuse, illegal intent, unauthorized employ of one’s technical faculties; the result is a derogatory depiction of any who choose to don programmer’s apparel. However, as a self-proclaimed hacker and an avid fan of all things technological, it is my duty to educate those unaware of or misinformed about hacking.

I find it best to develop an accurate definition of hacking by use of structured examples. Enter Collexion. I was first introduced to Collexion when browsing the web for local Ruby programming groups during my return move from Boston, MA to Lexington. Finding the term hackerspace on their website was all that I needed to validate my query. For all intents and purposes, that’s what Collexion’s location at 109 E. Loudon Avenue is: a space where hackers convene.



Photo by Jordan Johnson

Collexion space at 109 E. Loudon Avenue. Photo by Jordan Johnson

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May 112011

NoC Music

There are musicians who become proficient on their instruments, but who then choose to work within the established confines of a particular style or category of music. Then there are those who choose to use their proficiency to explode those categories and follow new directions. Percussionist and gong-bower Tatsuya Nakatani falls in the second group.

The music Nakatani plays is experimental in the truest sense of the word. Using a combination of traditional drums and percussive instruments and various sticks, bows, bowls, and found objects, Nakatani improvises soundscapes, moving from gentle to jarring in masterful fashion. Continue reading »