Friday, August 31, 2012

Concert Review: Synthetica at the Little Theatre Cafe

The local electronic group makes fascinating, beautiful music

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Someday soon, when ape-like creatures with digital watches are rummaging through the artifacts and wreckage of our civilization, the music of Synthetica will serve as a fitting backdrop. Synthetica is a blast of pearlesque dissonance, of controlled chaos, of understated beauty. I was moved. I parked in back of the Little Theatre Café Thursday night so I could inhale a brownie the size of my head without freaking out other patrons and hitting them with chocolate shrapnel, but also to listen to the band unencumbered by sight. In fact, I've opted for a black square in lieu of a photo for this week's column so you can contemplate the visuals that the duo conjured for yourself.

Synthetica -- made up of Eric the Taylor and Sonam -- paint in wide sonic strokes from a collision of swirling electronica and analog punctuation. Taylor manned the laptop and Sonam, in a sort of call and response, plugged in organic sounds and passages from an impressive arsenal that littered the floor like a Gypsy garage sale. Taylor's wall of sound was as soothing as it was unnerving as it occasionally threatened to take off. Sonam riffed, mixing a cast of tones and characters from recorders, conch shells, congas, cymbals, a busted accordion, and a trumpet. It had me dreaming of Bix Beiderbecke thumb-wrestling with Lenny Bruce in the Vatican as a chorus of swimsuit models sang Sophie Tucker tunes in pig Latin.

Alas, there were no vocals (none with words, anyway) so the pictures you saw in your head (if you had, ahem, shut up long enough to listen) were different from the placid Polaroids that this duo planted in mine. You might call this outfit weird and abstract, but by not adhering to conventional structures, Synthetica's layers and passages conveyed some of the most beautiful sounds I've heard.

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