Locrian, House of Low Culture, Mamiffer @ Hideout

Story and photos by Carmelo Española

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For fans of experimental music who couldn’t attend the Utech Festival in Milwaukee and the Neon Marshmallow Festival in Chicago, Locrian headlined a show at the Hideout with Mamiffer, House of Low Culture, and RM74. This was a great opportunity to watch participants in these festivals in a smaller, more intimate setting.

The night begun with a few glasses of the Hideout’s signature drink, The Wooden Leg (an adventurous mix of rye whiskey, bitters, soda, and lemon), and the brooding soundscapes of Swiss experimental artist Reto Mäder’s solo project, RM74. For this set, he primarily used a bass guitar, as well as a Korg synthesizer and a kalimba. RM74 conjured multi-layered soundscapes that evoked Luis Buñuel’s haunting surrealism. He twiddled different devices over his bass pickups to bring forth sounds not possible through traditional ways of playing the instrument. The synthesizer brought forth uneven rhythmic patterns, while the kalimba reminded me of Celtic Frost’s “Danse Macabre”.

After RM74’s brief cinematic voyage, Mamiffer took the listener into a Cascadian funeral march. This act was a vehicle for Faith Coloccia’s melancholic keyboards, while Aaron Turner and Travis Rommereim added layers of dense atmospherics within the burning coffin of sound. Coloccia’s playing stripped away at the core of the funeral doom gloominess characteristic of bands like Evoken and Mournful Congregation. Rommereim utilized a suitcase as a small stage for bringing out unordinary sounds from ordinary objects such as bricks, kitchen utensils, and chains. Turner’s minimal drone guitar added heaviness to a suffocating aura of sound.

After a brief intermission, Turner and Coloccia returned to the stage as House of Low Culture. In contrast to the lush moodiness of Mamiffer, House of Low Culture was harsher and more volatile. Coloccia switched to a Gibson Les Paul, playing it lap steel-style. Turner alternated between a Travis Bean guitar and a multitude of pedals, looping different variations of screams. These layers sounded like a mountain of trapped, tortured souls. A buildup of tension with a suddenly quiet climax ended the set.

Locrian had a very ritualistic feel. Candles added a lot to their dark atmosphere. Locrian patiently built layer upon layer of riffs, soft synths, and minimal percussion, akin to a black mass performed in utmost silence. The slow buildup of sound resembled a dam filling after days of rain. As the set progressed, this dam of sound slowly cracked. Once the drums of “Elevations and Depths” started bludgeoning the senses, this dam suddenly burst, while a blinding bright light came from the beyond. The atmosphere didn’t stop until the lights faded to darkness.

— Carmelo Española
Full photo set here

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LOOK

Mamiffer

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House of Low Culture

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Locrian

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Locrian

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LISTEN

Mamiffer / We Speak In the Dark (clip) by Hydra Head Records

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