Home / Music / Concert Reviews / Bridges of Königsberg w/ Blessed Sacrifist and August Traeger @ Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts

Bridges of Königsberg w/ Blessed Sacrifist and August Traeger @ Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts

Oct. 6, 2016

Oct. 10, 2016
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The mystery of many electronic music concerts can be just how necessary the people behind the keyboards and monitors are. For all we in the audience may know, the principals involved may be necessary as Paris Hilton is said to be for her DJ sets. Among the many things that could be said about Thursday night’s Bridges of Königsberg’s concert at Riverwest Artists Association’s Jazz Gallery Center for the Arts is that they and their two opening acts all exploded that assumption in intriguing, often startling, ways.

Bridges of Königsberg started a brief tour with this date at the multiple-use East Center Street space. The trio is but one of the numerous projects into which Milwaukee power electronics maven Peter J. Woods has invested himself over the past several years. On Facebook, he held some trepidation as to how good he, David Collins and Christopher Burns would be working together again after an extended time of not having collaborated.

Beginning with the tentative air of a sound check and quickly ramping up to an assured steadiness of attack at the trio’s respective stations, Bridges’ performance turned out to belie Woods’ trepidation. Though the bright-eyed, bespectacled Burns and the seemingly more casual approach of bearded Collins provided enough of a contrast in approaches sitting behind their laptops, Woods provided the focal point as he stood to their audience’s left. When he wasn’t manipulating gadgetry residing in what looked to be a couple of hollowed out Gideons Bibles and more traditional-looking soundboards, he rode a thick knife blade over stringed instruments such as a zither or rolled a metal cup and saucer over them or shook an amorphous shaker appearing to have been a lumpen piece of plaster painted to appear burnt golden.

Possessed of passages of nerve-rattling dissonance as Bridges’ piece was, it was relatively somnolent compared to the aural attack perpetrated by Blessed Sacrifist. The erstwhile Jay Bullart had his platform of equipment set to about the height of his shoulders and bedecked by glowing blue and white bulbs intended for road emergencies, his back to the audience and the house lights out. When he wasn’t facing the wall tinkering with the sounds of what could have been a roiling thunderstorm from the bowels of perdition, Bullart could be seen in profile, bellowing anguished, largely inchoate wails sounding as if they were caught between demonic onslaught and psychic catharsis. The Milwaukee power electronics veteran’s music this evening was nothing for the faint of heart.

The night started more playfully with August Traeger. Announcing that he was about to improvise on his computer and that computers are neat, he then slowed down and sped up his vocals in varying snippets, something along the lines of a less rhythmically linear iteration of ’80s Miami bass hip-hopper Maggotron, as varied manners of glitchiness swelled and ebbed around them. At one point, Traeger pounded a few chords on the piano at the back of the Gallery’s stage, and it may have been the breakdown of a bit of that which went from strength to decay as a softly rumbling and implied beat surrounded the keyboard motif’s decay until the entire composition’s cessation.

After Bridges of Königsberg’s piece, Woods announced that the venue should soon be hosting more all-ages experimental music shows such as this. If they continue to abide by this concert’s sliding-scale admission price policy and contain such a wide variety of talent, makers and lovers of adventurous music should be pleased.

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