Space psychedelia descended on the Rotunda in Philadelphia last night. In the latest concert in the Event Horizon series, it was a three band show with PYXL8R, Groupthink and headlined by Tim Motzer & Bernhard Wöstheinrich.
Tim Motzer is sonic experimentalist who you’ll find attending most of the outside music shows in Philadelphia from free jazz to Radiohead. He’s recorded with a host of new music luminaries including David Sylvian, King Britt, Can’s Jaki Leibezeit and his own electro-lounge group, NuCultures.
Bernhard Wöstheinrich has been on the German avant-space music scene since the late 1980s, playing with Centrozoon, Markus Reuter and Ian Boddy. His album as The Redundant Rocker, Escape, is an oblique take on techno-pop.
On the stage of the Rotunda, Motzer and Wöstheinrich created one long, circuitous performance. Wöstheinrich sat on the right hand side of the stage behind a computer and some controllers while Motzer sat on a stool, stage center, playing his guitar with a video camera mounted on the headstock. The camera is important because it was part of the elaborate set of projections performed by Dejha Ti who sat stage left with her partner, mixing live camera feeds with an array of designs from trees to abstract patterns. Projected on six irregular screens set at different depths, it seemed to embrace the music of Motzer and Wöstheinrich in an immersive shifting cocoon.
As Motzer’s music goes, this was on the more accessible, chilled side as Wöstheinrich set up a palette of electronic rhythms, sometimes evoking Terry Riley’s “A Rainbow in Curved Air,” Tangerine Dream circa Phaedra and electro beat bongo bands all put together like the blocks of Tetris. Across this abstracted electronic field, Motzer sometime played his guitar in tandem, dropping blips and bleeps from his effects laden instrument, once playing it with a bow to set up drones. Like the visual patterns of Dejha Ti, the Motzer’s guitar wove into Wöstheinrich sound design, moving from foreground to background depths and a few times emerging with scintillating solos where everything seemed to coalesce around his guitar like a magnet drawing the electronic fragments together.
Motzer and Wöstheinrich are incorrigible experimentalists not afraid to go to the edge of sound without a safety net. But, as evidenced by Motzer’s NuCultures and Wöstheinrich’s The Redundant Rocker, they are also connected to rock streams past and present. At the Rotunda, experimentalism won out as they sculpted exotic Kandinsky-like sound worlds that sometimes eschewed any center, but it was the rock and melodic side that allowed it to occasionally coalesce around a locus of control in the psychedelic storm.
(Event Horizon has another event coming on November 9
~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))
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