So I sat down in that big leather-covered armchair and put on a pair of large and efficient earphones. I wanted to give Peeled Eye some ear-time, without surrounding interference. Hear where they are ‘at.’ Out the night window of the 5th floor apartment crashes of lightening fractured their way down onto the tip of the Berlin tower. Perfect background for this music!
Let me begin with three simple things. First this is serious music. It’s not just a gig. Something fine is being played, something unified, something shared. Second, each of the musicians is an expert. Care and proficiency are felt throughout the entire work. Third, this group really cooks together — each of the four an absolute necessary part of the whole.
With that said then there’s the delight in the complexity of what sounds are being made. My ear followed one of the players, heard his path beside the others, then followed another. The musical patterns they’re working with are far from familiar to me. I paid attention. At many points cohesion is not at first obvious, each seems to be blowing to his own wind, but not so. Sitting there and listening they opened my mind to many questions, just as all good art should. Is this in some way a fractured mirror to our society, where an individual cry in the complex night might, or might not, be heard by someone else? Gone the days of total agreement to what’s groovy? Maybe. Maybe not. All sorts of tasty questions.
A lick starts, gives a hint, then peters out. The sax heads into a painful wail, or was it ecstatic? Or a complaint? Or a shout of loneliness? Rhythms build, dissolve away into somewhere else. Electronic sounds come forward to blossom, add spice, sometimes dive in, but never steal the show. A piece ends, leaving a heart-filling drone to bring momentary ear comfort. Then some tinkles off to the side before a thump. It’s a landscape, and a beautiful one.
As another flash from Zeus raced down to touch the Berlin tower. Very fitting.
At the end of the second side of that yellow vinyl disc I lifted the earphones off into the silence of the room. Moments passed before I realized there’s a clear emotional stance of urgency in this music, and it’s one I’m not particularly comfortable with. I’d probably be more soothed with a bit more space between these sound conjunctions, but that’s just me. It gets a bit desperate at times, but don’t we all. Just like life.
So, do get yourself some good earphones, slice off a bit of time and sink into what these guys are doing. They’re pros.
Ron Walkey (Vancouver & Athens)