Posts Tagged ‘Pure Ecstasy’

Underwater Visitations Sunday Brunch Takeover #2/Episode 10: The Woodsman Episode

Thursday, June 24th, 2010


Heat can be pretty psychoactive. I have suffered through enough late summer DIY shows in this city to know that it can make you feel drunk when you are dry, induce dizziness, lightheadedness, blurred vision, tunnel vision — and, on rare occasions, even predator vision. It can dull your experience of the most bad-ass jam you’ve heard all year while heightening its impression in memory. I am actually pretty glad that I missed Woodsman‘s set at Monster Island Basement in Brooklyn last Friday because it don’t think I would have survived to tell the story. When they swung by Newtown Radio last Sunday, the station was probably just as cramped, but the free-standing air-conditioner wheezing dutifully in the corner lowered the temperature to a level that was pleasantly hallucinogenic. Each color and each sound was more saturated than usual, each beat went straight to the temple. Maybe it’s just that Woodsman is so percussion-heavy, but I couldn’t help feeling like was trapped inside my favorite Can video — minus the long and stringy hair.

“Underwater Visitations Episode #10: The Woodsman Episode

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Download the entire episode here

Playlist after the jump.
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Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Live, Big Troubles kick up such a sandstorm that it’s hard to remember that the band began as a bedroom recording project — or, rather, two separate bedroom recording projects, two hermetic hearts that began beating as one when high school buds Alex Craig and Ian Drennan got together last summer and decided to start a band. When the duo rolled up to Newtown Radio last Thursday, the station — recently fitted with a deluxe leather couch and a fridge filled with junk food and sodas — felt homey enough to bring us back to the days when the guitar-playing and songwriting half of Big Troubles had yet to round out into a full rock line-up.

Alex and Ian played out of the same guitar amplifier, sung out of the same mic, and babbled away in the kind of half-English vernacular you probably remember sharing only a few times in your life with one or two very close friends. They couldn’t seem more like two peas in a pod — which is why I was slightly disconcerted when, following the set, Alex presented us with a hand-drawn Venn diagram designed to represent their friendship: two giant circles labeled “Alex” and “Ian,” with only a tiny sliver of overlap at the center. I can’t remember what they said the middle part represented, but I think it had something to do with food. Whatever the reality of the situation may be, I like to think of the Venn diagram as a nice metaphor for the way their instruments interact in the episode you hear below: two runaway orbs of screaming guitar noise, colliding here and there into the shape of a song. At times they overlap a little too much, sharpening into points of feedback — but that’s kind of where the magic begins.

For those of you who tuned in for the first hour of last week’s show and were a little freaked out to discover a rambling discussion between a man with a heavy French accent and a panel of small children, please be cautioned: we don’t know why or how, but Underwater Visitations was hacked! Luckily, we were able to rescue the true-blue episode from the Newtown Radio archives — including a first hour of jams by Ari Stern and yours truly, and a Big Troubles-spun spool of semi-mainstream ’80s gold, which we proudly did not decide to censor.

“Underwater Visitations Episode #4: The Big Troubles Episode”

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Download the entire episode here .

Playlist after the jump.
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Sightings: Pure Ecstasy’s “Alexandria,” live at the Tortilla Factory in Bushwick

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Pure Ecstasy – “Alexandria” from Elise Oh on Vimeo.

Back in Art History 101, I remember being slightly distressed when my professor pulled up a slide of Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa in the Santa Maria della Vittoria and I detected a strange twist of agony in the figure’s marble expression. According to my textbook, the statue is a representation of a 16th century Italian nun who experienced a combination of spiritual epiphany and bodily pleasure when she was visited by an angel and stabbed in the heart with a long golden rod. The French postmodernists like to read it it as a cloaked allusion to the female orgasm, which it may very well be, but I am unable to get past the fact that Saint Teresa doesn’t really look all that ecstatic at all. In fact, to judge from the nun’s own journals, I think it is fair to say that she was unable to experience all that ecstasy without simultaneously experiencing an equal amount of pain — or, perhaps, that the two are actually one and the same thing.

The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it.

So what does Saint Teresa have to do with Pure Ecstasy playing a set at a Tortilla Factory in Bushwick? Not all that much; though I think you will find, in this glorious video by PIXELHORSE, something lurking beneath all those those blazy afternoon bliss vibes resembling ecstasy’s oh so bittersweet underside. And it’s not just the way Nate Grace’s face contorts when he sings, the scorched caresses of guitar, the debilitating throbs of bass; it’s the way Pure Ecstasy’s songs make us feel. Bypassing all the art historical jargon and cutting straight to the meat, “Alexandria” just hurts so damn good.

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