I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Decibel Festival is the one long weekend of the year that Seattle feels like the city it imagines itself to be: cosmopolitan, modern, bustling with world-class music and nightlife. You hear two stylishly dressed dudes in line speaking in French--they could be performers, they could just be festival-goers. You see your friends in town from Brooklyn and Berlin (and crawling out of their hidey holes here at home). You bounce from one club to the next because there's more great stuff to see than you could possibly manage. All of which is not say that Seattle isn't a lovely city (put your hands up) the rest of the year. It is. But to me, Decibel feels like Seattle living up to its potential. I love it. And I haven't even taken any drugs yet!
Demdike Stare and La Vampire Nue: T&A TK
The fest, which runs through Sunday, began last night at the Broadway Performance Hall, a hundred year-old stone building that a friend pointed out made a nice contrast for a conference of future/electronic music. Outside, Innerflight DJs tended to a beer garden on the patio, a nice civilized touch; inside people milled around getting passes and formed a long, snaking line to see Demdike Stare's live re-scoring of Jean Rollin's '70s French vampire film La Vampire Nue. Demdike Stare are a Manchester UK duo who tool around in some dark corners of electronic music where echoing beats and swells of bass turn into ambience and noise. (See also this review of their recent show at Black Lodge.) For the film scoring, they set up side of stage, seated, minding a pair of laptops, some controllers, and a single turntable onto which they placed one record after another. Their score was a seamless palette of ominous drones and clatters, aided by the fact that they were controlling the film's A/V from one laptop, ducking in bits of badly dubbed English dialogue, or looping an erotic dance sequence and cutting it backwards and forwards. About that: La Vampire Nue ("The Nude Vampire") is meant to be "erotic" and "surrealist," and it was--in that the plot didn't make sense (spoiler alert: "there were never any vampires...but there ARE mutants ") and that these were vampires as American Apparel lookbook (I bet money Dov Charney has seen this film), all '70s chic and in various degrees of undress--but there was also an element of unintentional Porky's-style slapstick with all those boobs flying around. Demdike could've used to drop in a slide whistle at some point. Overall, though, still better the Twilight Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.