Last May I had the privilege of covering the Ende Tymes Festival for this publication, after years of previewing the annual event. It was a life-affirming assignment that had the effect of simultaneously redeeming festival culture for me, and probably spoiling me for all other festivals. Ende Tymes feels like a community or a family; plus, there’s very little of the bullshit that happens at most live events, refreshment rates are eminently reasonable, and the merch-table ground game is ridiculous enough that it encompasses tapes, LPs, and discs by artists who aren’t even featured on the bill.
This year’s event runs from Wednesday, May 13, through Sunday, May 17, at Knockdown Center in Maspeth, at the Silent Barn in Bushwick, and at Outpost Artists Resources in Ridgewood. You can find the full schedule of Ende Tymes 2015 artists here. I can’t make it this year, but if you’re reading this you probably can, and if you have the time and wherewithal to attend this and you don’t, you should probably be ashamed of yourself.
Because prodigal scrape mavens Metalux, who don’t play out anywhere as often as they once did, are performing. Because Pharmakon — who firmly nailed down a wicked aesthetic on last year’s underrated Bestial Burden — is performing. Because the Clang Quartet are returning to save souls and Pedestrian Deposit are back to blow minds.
If the aforementioned aren’t reason enough, check our 10 Ende Tymes picks below.
9 p.m., Knockdown Center
On record, Timeghost is represented by dense, not-quite-fractal swarms of bleeps and blips caught in the act of devouring themselves while Providence, Rhode Island’s Adam Morosky calmly proffers tangentially related narration. On stage, the music’s pre-existing vibe of temporal dislocation and strangeness is ramped up via intense light shows and a lit candle that he sings into, the effect seemingly changing his voice into the garbled jabberwocky of a transforming Decepticon.
9 p.m., Silent Barn
If, like me, you find yourself gravitating toward noise that is earthy or terrestrial — as though someone buried a running cassette deck underground in a plastic bag in the morning, then dug it up in the afternoon and cut the results to vinyl — then you’ve got room in your life for Sterile Garden. Tough to pin down an exact location or lineup for these guys, but their palette flutters between treble-y, low-frequency roars, field-recorded growls, and hazy feedback sheets, with loops, crescendos, and recognizable instruments poking out of the melee on occasion. Be warned: Once you start down this rabbit hole, it’s difficult to reverse course.
Sadaf H. Nava
9:20 p.m., Silent Barn
Grasping what New York’s Sadaf H. Nava gets up to is something of a fool’s errand. There’s some outre performance art, some coruscating electro, some sonorous singing, and a whole lot of pop-circling abstraction at work. I’ve been camped out on Nava’s SoundCloud and YouTube videos for a couple days now, and I still don’t fully get what she’s about — which, in an era of easily digestible and disposable mainstream culture, is probably a really good sign.
9:40 p.m., Silent Barn
Hailing from Brooklyn, Dreamcrusher traffics in the sort of rattling, claustrophobic scuzz that exists to defy categorization. There’s fricasseed acid house, but it’s no-fi enough to pass for noise and so hook-stabbed that one can pretend to hum along even on a crowded subway at rush hour. (Remember Japanther? Anyone? No? Well, this band is like a digital hardcore Japanther to the tenth power.) Anyway, this set is liable to scorch anyone loitering too near the front, so don’t leave your volunteer fire gear at home.
11:30 p.m., Silent Barn
Last year’s Noise Matrix (via Generations Unlimited) marked Arcane Device’s return to the experimental scene after an extended hiatus. There’s a tentative, exploratory feeling there, as New York’s David Lee Myers teases coiled, psychedelic loops and cosmic quasars from his machines. The new material marks a stark contrast to this project’s comparably abrasive, postpunk late-Eighties/early-Nineties origins, but both Arcane Device iterations bring something special to the noise table. It should be noted that Myers kept quite busy during Arcane Device’s hiatus.
12:30 a.m., Silent Barn
Jah Excretion is Tokyo’s Yu Iwasaki, formerly of Brutal Terrorism and Zothique. Her metier? Long, loping washes of euphoria flooded with nature samples that are capable of turning insular and depressive on a dime. Call it mood-ring ambient. Any of her more recent Meditation releases are suitable for full-on psychological oxidization, packets of balm that expand into synth-fed canopies. Expect magic.
8 p.m., Silent Barn
The politically minded work of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s Postcommodity encompasses video, still photography, installation art, music, and more. The collective’s growing discography — new album We Lost Half the Forest and the Rest Will Burn This Summer saw its release this week — fuses drone rock, avant-garde extremity, and spoken word into cerebral, apocalyptic soundscapes that evoke the ancient mystery of the American Southwest.
9:50 p.m., Silent Barn
Sacramento’s Bob Scott has been recording as Xome since 1994, scaring up platter after platter of broiling, spastic noise cut with brusque samples. 2010’s Separation Anxiety (Negaton Heavy Industries) — the project’s most recent release, despite a steady string of festival sets over the last few years — shuffled Scott’s characteristic scrawl blare with pastoral field recordings and absurdist monologues.
11:30 p.m., Silent Barn
Literally a marriage of two minds, East Lansing, Michigan’s Dead Machines finds husband and wife John and Tovah Olson doing, well, whatever feels right in the moment. A searing musique concrète suffused 2005’s Futures (Troubleman Unlimited), the pair’s most widely available release, but their surrounding avalanche of live and studio recordings explore almost every permutation of noise imaginable, from the whimsical to the annihilating to the strictly generative. In other words, expect any- and everything.
8 p.m., Outpost Artist Resources
Carver Audain‘s compositions burn with a quiet fury, ambient drones reminiscent of stand-up fans that come on like sleeping gas piped in through a hotel room vent. Each breathy blare initially seems to conceal more than it reveals, but whenever Audain opts to initiate a tectonic, dynamic shift, it’s noticeable in a way that makes you aware that you’ve truly been probing those fungible clouds of static, reaching for the hidden truth beyond what you can’t quite hear. Recorded output from this native Australian is depressingly scarce right now, a state of being that I hope changes in the very near future. Remember: He goes on early in Sunday’s bill. Be there.
Highlights From Ende Tymes Festival 2014
April’s Best Noise Music: Vinnie Paternostro & Michel Kristof, Power Monster, and More
Brooklyn Night Bazaar Moves From Greenpoint to Jacob Riis Park Beach