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Alias Pail, Zs: Black Crown Ceremony, CSC Funk Band, Dustin Wong
Wednesday, August 24
Better than: The Mets’ season.
The residents of the Brooklyn DIY outpost known as Shea Stadium, located on a blessedly unreconstructed stretch in the East Williamsburg Industrial Park, are having a far better go at it these days than the residents of Citi Field. On this particular Wednesday night, one of the Lebanese furniture makers across the street sits with the door open to the shop, languidly smoking a hookah. Everything else is deserted as far as the eye can see, an increasingly rare sight anywhere near a stop on the L train.
One of the night’s attractions calls in sick at the last minute, but nobody seems terribly bothered. The bill is a top-flight cross-section of very different but wholly compatible acts—all the better for the pleasant trip to Shea, the nearest faraway place to see music in North Brooklyn these days. The cancellation is Sam Hillmer, set to roll out one of the many guises his uncompromising Zs project has fanned dizzily into. This one, a duo with Marty McSorley, is known as Black Crown Ceremony. Given Hillmer’s ambition, it seems only natural that he have at least one side project in which he himself doesn’t play, so McSorley hits it solo, stretching woozed and oscillated Beyoncé samples under Zs loops at a piercing volume, the high-pitched noise taking on physical properties and panning wildly. The girls on the couch look on uneasily, though McSorley wraps up fast.
The couch-girls stand for the next act, the almost completely inside-the-box horn-driven Afro-funk act CSC Funk Band—a particularly odd evolution for Brooklyn noisesters. Led by guitarist Colin Langenus (formerly of prog-metalists USAisamonster), the CSC Funk Band are not the slightest bit obtuse. They’re even concise, and they often have moments (usually when Langenus solos over elegantly loose arrangements) when their roots paying tribute to Sun Ra’s ethereal Lanquidity come clear. It’s party music with unexpected celestial pay-offs. Though without oddball keyboardist Matt Mottel (also of the long-running jazz spazzes Talibam!), the band is plenty giddy, celebrating the release this week of their first proper album, Things Are Getting Too Casual. Only on the last song do they let loose, and it’s just enough.
More time in the evening air, and then Dustin Wong, the Baltimore guitarist once of Ecstatic Sunshine, sometimes of Ponytail, and currently of a solo joint with lots of loops and delays and gimcracks, appears. Melodies spiral into astounding, dense complexity as Wong adds layers, often clearing the palate with a pedal-stomp for an abrupt scene change. He never stops for the duration of the 40 minute set. Occasionally, Wong drops in jarring beats and, for fleeting seconds, sounds ready to erupt into anthemic buzzband histrionics. But Wong never develops anything that deeply, wiping away his loop constructions with impetuous returns to square one. When he finally stands up to sing, he veritably shrieks, a Yoko Ono-like vocalization that sounds as if it’s communicating directly with the frenetic and alien loops below. When it’s over, nobody seems in any particular hurry to leave.
Critical bias: Trying to tie acts together because was originally intending to write mostly about Zs.
Overheard: “What did ‘CSC’ used to stand for again? ‘Carcinogenic Static Canoodle?'”
Random Notebook Dump: Colin/no dreads.