Gradual – A Repost

The fine folks at DGML have released the new Slow Rey Show and it’s from a concert I attended. People are looking for this description I posted back then, but it’s been MIA since the incident. Here ya go –


First of all, happy day to all you mothers. Last night I attended the Slow Music show at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. The El Rey is a seventy-year-old movie theatre that’s been converted to a music venue. It’s nicely done with big chandeliers that catch the colored stage lights and then look like those fiber optic hippy lamps. It looks big enough to accommodate about three to four hundred folks. Last night there were about one hundred in attendance. I was happy to see that they had chairs setup for the Slowshow. As soon as the merch guy opened for business I snatched some CDs, but not the poster. The customer in front of me asked if the CD had the same songs they’d be playing. The merch guy and I shared a quiet laugh. I ran into DGM Bill and said a quick hello. Said hello to John Sinks. Grabbed a drink and sat down next to the soundboard. I looked around for Joe or Larry, but didn’t see them from where I was sitting. I figured I’d better go up to the stage where I could look back at folks’ faces and see if I could find them. Sitting in the middle of an almost empty front row was Larry. I sat down on his right and we chatted for sometime. He kept naming campgrounds I’ve never heard of. When the band came out he moved over to my right to get a clearer view of the English guitarist. There were enough open seats there in the front row to move around, stretch out, even set down my CDs on the chair next to me. The band hit the stage unintroduced and began to play. Actually, the first set began with Rieflin shaping some noise very quietly. Slowly (!), the others drifted in and out. It was sort of a team approach to soundscaping. And like at soundscapes, I was tempted to close my eyes and let the sound wash over me. But with six players on stage I was busy watching everyone. Lots of eye contact between keyboard/drum pad operator Rieflin and drum kit player Chamberlain. And American guitarist Buck was taking most of his cues from English guitarist Fripp. Buck was using his EBow to create single note lines that complemented and counterpointed Fripp’s chords and lines. Chalenor (who I think is really Kram) stood at the front of the stage and alternated between fingerpicking and bowing his acoustic bass. He may have been the only person in the whole venue standing up during the show. Zazou sat behind a big pile of gear including at least top laptops. It was sometimes difficult to identify what sounds he was generating and he stared into one laptop as if he was reading a book. Maybe he was checking Fripp’s email. The first piece was quite serene and very enjoyable. It seemed that there was a guideline that no player was to develop an idea beyond a certain amount of time. And silence was a major compositional component. The crowd was mellow and attentive and refused to rush in with applause, making the players determine the end of the pieces. The first piece lasted about 35 minutes, they took a break, and then returned for a second piece. Near the start of the second piece, as the music swelled, Fripp launched into the beginning of a majestic sounding theme, but then stopped before it developed. Buck vibrated his Rickenbacker with a butter knife. Zazou was more prominent with some swirling industrial loops sounding like an aggressive Tangerine Dream. Chamberlain made his cymbals sing by dragging the plastic tips of his drumsticks across them. During the piece, the music would wind down, seemingly ending. Like an elevator coming to a slow stop. But then someone would introduce something new and the elevator would begin moving again. Never quickly, though. Rieflin introduced the players, Fripp applauded his gear, and that was that. The vibe in the room was very peaceful. It was like attending a small classical music concert. For me, it could have been a bit louder. After the show, I bumped into (literally) Hector Zazou. I saw Rieflin and Buck talking with some folks. I really liked the El Rey and want to go back there for another show. Larry and I chatted some more and then headed off in different directions. Never did see Joe. Song titles? Right. Here’s the setlist –

And the infamous CD –