Pleasant cacophony at Struts

Two local acts and a touring band play noise show.

The stark light and minimalist art of Struts Gallery was a nearly ideal setting for last Thursday’s noise show. The show featured Sackville local JFM, Germany’s Jealousy Mountain Duo, and Sackville’s El Ron Maltan, who played their second show ever.

JFM started off the night with music that layered ideal forms of existence and paradoxes on top of one another to present an ambitious amount of ideas. However, these ideas, though many and bold, felt underdeveloped, shallow, and at times naïve. Many times they failed to come to any sort of climax or felt as if they weren’t as well-suited as he intend. It took just half a soul hook and some heavy bass to reveal his intent, as well as create a great moment in the middle of his performance.

‘Moments of greatness’ was the theme throughout the night, of which Jealousy Mountain Duo’s ruthless, ear-pounding drumming and inane pangs of electric guitar were undoubtedly the highlight. Their clash and gradual convergence through instrumentation spoke to the meandering effort of humanity. Imperfection lapsed into climaxes of utter despair and the kind of triumph civilizations are built upon, reminding all in attendance that their imperfect parts can come together and become something greater. While just beginning their five week tour across Canada, the Duo typified the evening and made it incredibly memorable.

El Ron Maltan’s approach started off semi-conventional, reminiscent of American rock band Kyuss, but its quick loss of composure was a desirable turn that shed all predictability in the process. The set had a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas feel surrounding it, as if there was a slow loss of the music’s link to reality, becoming more and more dream-like as it progressed.

The show was not without its flaws. A late start was exacerbated by a few technical difficulties, which led to a noticeably shortened set by JFM. For JFM’s set, the venue, which seemed so close to perfect for the other two groups, didn’t work particularly well; the stark light contributed to an uncomfortable aura and a lack of crowd participation. JFM’s set, which contained the most movement-centric music of the three acts performing, would have benefited from a darker environment that’s more conducive to dancing, like the Legion. Instead, the crowd found itself pinned against the gallery wall as if attempting to be as far away from the artist as possible. The night itself was particularly unstructured, with sets ending in unpredictable fashions, though this served to emphasize the unpredictable nature of the music.

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