Iceage & Helm at Berghain Kantine / Monday, 24.11.2014

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Just out of their teens, it seems Copenhagen’s Iceage have only added to the anxiety and tension that made their debut album, New Brigade, so compelling. But now, they’re challenging their raging emotions instead of simply expressing them.

You’re Nothing, Iceage’s sophomore album, is the sound of a band pushing their singular mix of punk, Goth, hardcore, and post-punk to even further extremes. It’s overwhelming how many ways Iceage have found to write the short aggressive rock song.

When you see Iceage live you get the feeling the songs are just about to fall apart before miraculously recovering, always rewarding you with a climax. This menacing energy is more forceful on You’re Nothing. It is a more epic sound, like a rough sea.

Plowing into the Field of Love is the third album from Iceage. It is new, bold and forceful. Channeling the rage and emotion of their tempestuous early releases into finely honed musicianship, Plowing Into The Field of Love features piano, mandolin, viola and organ atop Johan Suurballe-Wieth’s razor-sharp guitars and the lolloping, synchronized rhythm section of Jacob Tvilling Pless and Dan Kjær Nielsen.

The record has a clear, uncompressed sound, and Elias Bender Rønnenfelt’s desperate vocals are out front, nakedly accountable for the words. At the other extreme, the album tends to a sort of euphoria, especially in the unexpectedly upbeat country number “The Lord’s Favorite,” and even humor.

Yet desperation and loss lurks behind. This is an album about seeing, learning, and rejecting things, in a cycle that repeats and builds. The reference points are wildly varied – on a recent German radio show, the band played records by Abner Jay, Rowland S. Howard, Brian Eno, and Coil – but the sound is uniquely and darkly Iceage.

Helm is Luke Younger – a sound artist and experimental musician based in London, working with a vast array of revolving instrumentation and abstract sound sources. Younger’s compositions build a dense aural landscape that touches on musique concrete, uncomfortable sound poetry, noise, and hallucinatory drones.

His most last EP on PAN, ‘The Hollow Organ’, toes a deliberate line in the mud between his previous transgressions and a chokingly dank realisation of his most untoward, paralytic sound.

Poised as a dark interpreter between the grotesque and the transcendent, he activates research gleaned from his petrifying live performances coupled with an increasingly squalid and visceral palette of anguished machine voices, sub-zero drones and bone-scraped rhythmic noise to divine unearthly space somewhere between semi-legal horror soundtrack and hyperstitious surreality.

Iceage & Helm

Monday, 24th November 2014 | 20:00
Berghain Kantine | Am Wriezener Bahnhof | 10243 Berlin/Friedrichshain

iceagecopenhagen.eu | soundcloud.com/pan_recs | berghain.de

 

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