Nü Sensae Punished the Room

Alaina Stamatis

Little ghost homies couldn't handle it.

“WE COULD BE HEAROS”
For the past two shows I attended at Death By Audio (Nu Sensae this past week, PC Worship the week before), my boyfriend has been a “forcible” supply of earplugs. Identifying as a carefree and nonchalant night creature, I naturally resisted the precautionary measure the way I'd turn down knee pads before oral sex (unless there was a lot of broken glass) and when I finally stuck them in my perception wasn't radically changed. I simply went from biffing it repeatedly on a sludgy tidal wave of sound to sitting cross-legged a goofy yellow raft that bobbled around, as a shark decided I was too boring to eat.
“I miss the mountains,” I thought, as I watched a slew of unprotected heads flip their hair and jerk around. And then I noticed the weirdest thing in the world: lots of people wear earplugs (or TP plugs), and the people who don't 'be sittin' around getting slammed. Literally sitting down during a show. Like Nu Sensae starts to really punish the room with this momentous shred, and their singer Andrea Lukic is oscillating between shrieking and reading us some kind of end-times rights, and there are unprotected people lounging on lofty musical equipment because they're exhausted because each of their respective bodies is using all of its energy to try to process and deflect a massive audio overload.
The Dreebs headlined, playing newer, chiller, more romantic songs: effected violin tunes, lots of ooooos and rolling cymbals, not as much screaming or thrashing as in their earlier work, plus Jordan Bernstein ditched the wig and nobody used the F word (re: Fucking In A Pool).
Rating: 4 weed leaves
LE WALLET
“WE BELONG TO THE LIGHT”
Thursday night at Le Wallet was an evening of experimental music paired with light-responsive technologies. Ashcan Orchestra activated a noise maker, whose sound pattern became exceedingly shrill as they lit candles and placed them on an adjacent mirror (and deeper and more motorcade-esque as they extinguished the wicks with their fingers).
The band then turned on three colored light bulbs which hung loosely on cords, and swung them rapidly in front of sensors, simulating an air raid.
C Spencer Yeh performed his brand of avant guarde violin and his deep, didgeridoo-style, drone throat singing beneath Peter Edward's vibrant, sound-sensitive orbs. Tim Rusterholtz also created projections by obscuring a small, movable lighting fixture. It was gorgeous, meditative, and entrancing.
The headliner was basically a robot: a powerful, three-part lighting rig (arranged to blast the whole room), complimented by a poisonous green laser. The light's blaring domination over the humans in the room was magnified by overwhelming power noise which corresponded neatly. Afterward, everyone was dumbfounded and staggered home.
(Mike Etten of PC Worship, using protection.)
(Poor Zoe!)
EDIT: The robot prefers the term Artificial Intelligence, and its name is KEROAÄN, and I'm adding this because I'm afraid of it.
Rating: 4 weed leaves
The Babycastles summit was this past weekend, commencing with a keynote discussion between Keita Takahashi, who created the game Katamari Damacy (We <3 Katamari!), and the hilarious Frank Lantz of the NYU Game Center. It was Mr. Takahashi's first visit to New York City, and while he seemed comfortable with English, he seemed to be a smiley man of few words. Instead of conducting a traditionally-moderated talk, Lantz chose instead to lunge at the world class game designer with skits that connoted different relationships; Lantz would pretend to be a job interviewer ("Mr. Takahashi, what would you say your greatest strengths are? Why should we hire you?" "I can work low money."); a crisis counselor ("Do you remember the accident?" "Not really." "Do you remember having chemicals spilled on you at all?"); a border control agent; a Babycastles camp counselor; and, my personal favorite, a dumb journalist asking about video games ("What do you think of violence in video games?" "Hm, nice." "What do you think of the indie (games) scene?" "Awesome." "Do you think games are art?").
A Q&A ensued afterward, and in a similar fashion to the improv-style interview that preceded it, Mr. Takahashi (despite having a translator) gave brief, non-revealing answers. When asked what the weirdest thing he has ever received from a fan has been, he answered, a CD with music on it. When asked if he ever gets addicted to his own games, he said that he plays them constantly while he's developing them, but when they're finished he never plays them, he doesn't even have a console. When asked where he receives inspiration, he said that he is probably influenced all the time but isn't aware of it. One audience member asked if he feels pride and a deep connection with his games once they're finished, or if they're just something he's completed and he forgets about them, to which he replied, “Both.”
On the seventh floor of the museum is a modest performance space that overlooks the traffic and tourists of Columbus Circle and the southernmost treetops of Central Park. Artist Neil Fridd and his troupe (Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt) blocked out the windows with brown paper and converted the space into a handmade jungle, laced with Christmas lights, rubber snakes, and real bananas hanging from duct tape.
The main attraction was a rocky (paper) pit filled with regulation-size beach balls, which encouraged visitors to belly-flop.
A stage was made from glittery white blocks (ice), and behind the stage was a space blanket tunnel where people could huddle together.
Small, antique monitors poked out from the terrain, presumably to display video games, but nothing had been installed as of Friday night. A kid in an animal-print dress cued up some happy hardcore track and started dancing around, percolating his butt cheeks and expelling messages of unflinching, unconditional acceptance and love.
The room began to smell like farts so I headed to Bubby's.
Rating: 3 weed leaves
The Tribeca chapter of the rustic comfort eatery was to be spotlighted on a show about late-night bites; to ensure an after-hours bustle with silverware clanking and smart-looking young people chatting by candlelight, some guests were offered free meals; our reservation was for 11pm.
Seated at our table were artists, others employed in the arts, french girls, a New York City tour guide who hung his fedora on his chair (because there wasn't a hat rack), and a prominent hipster literary figure. The french girls said quirky things, and the NYC tour guide talked about his OK Cupid success rate. I had the fried chicken with waffles and a side of macaroni and cheese and three glasses of pinot blanco (I recognize that that doesn't match).
At a moment when the prominent hipster literary figure was engaging the NYC tour guide, it appeared that the PHLF was attempting to record their conversation on his iPhone.
UPDATE: After exiting the restaurant, the prominent literary figure was seen on the cobble street vomiting his complimentary meal.
Rating: 3 pinot blancos
“PASS THE BUCK”
A return to Death By Audio was warranted because my favorite back-country hardcore industrial band, Buck Gooter, was playing, supporting Gary War and Puffy Aerolas. If you don't know, the band consists of a wild, glistening-when-shirtless 20-something from Virginia named Billy Brat, with a military haircut, electronic drum MIDI-controller thingy, and a theramin, and my 60-year-old Facebook friend Terry Turtle, who has a trembling Neil Young voice and the portrait of a WWI soldier taped to his guitar; both of them were wearing black Converse and church pants.
The crowd was not especially full when the boys started, so they filled the room with sludgy power chords, phat beats, and Brat's deep, gritty screaming. He quickly jumped off the stage and began flailing, making eye contact and demonic hand gestures while dragging the mic stand from his shoulder like a poached carcass.
Rating: 4 weed leaves
“TITTIES 'N' BEER”
While Fort Tilden is a National Park, it's also a fisherman's beach and a national reserve, so you can't drink alcohol or smoke weed there on crowded weekends and holidays because the horse cops will get you.
(We knew this ahead of time, and behaved, and never felt their equestrian wrath.)
After sunning and rip tiding, we cruised over to Ripper's to try to catch some of the rock show.
We had missed Tony Castles. The surf bar was blasting Master of Reality. The band Workout was setting up. While I was waited (so anxiously) for my fish torta, I heard one kid remind another that they'd seen the band open for Big Freedia at Santos. To which his friend responded, “Do you think they're gonna clear the place this time?” Bad sign.
(Ryan from the So So Glos sippin' on some Clamato, brand out.)
(Jordan Robin, villainous beach chic.)
Workout was very early 2000's, like Arctic Monkeys or Phoenix, so it was totally reasonable that people showed up in wet suit cut-offs, Strokes tees, and 2 chainz.
Rating: 1 hard cider
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