A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Tim Hecker & Chihei Hatakeyama, Cafe Oto, 19/05/10

I made my first trip to Café Oto on Wednesday night to see Tim Hecker and Chihei Hatakeyama. I was impressed by the venue – an excellent, small, dimly-lit, informal, seated venue. Tonight’s show was sold out (I would guess the venue has a capacity of around 150?) and was played through a 4 way speaker system, which helped create a suitably hypnotic, enveloping atmosphere.

Japanese musician Chihei Hatakeyama opened with a studied set of ambient electronica, played via two laptops. Tonight was his first show in the UK. He began with 20 minutes of Brian Eno-esque waves of warm, textured, fairly unfluctuating sound. He introduced a little more variety into the final minutes of his set, the sound being disrupted by gentle moments of distortion, before it eventually faded away into silence.

I have been enjoying Tim Hecker’s recorded albums over the last couple of years (‘Radio Amor’, ‘Harmony In Ultraviolet’ and ‘An Imaginary Country’ in particular) so was very much looking forward to the live experience. He played his set from the opposite end of the venue to Chihei Hatakeyama, using a laptop and electronics to create a rewarding, immersive sound full of layers and detail. It was loud, but not uncomfortably so, and contained everything I expected from a Tim Hecker show. Barren, inhospitable sonic landscapes. Crumbling, decaying walls of sound. Dense, metallic thunderstorms of distorted noise. All in the space of a 45 minute set. Highly recommended. Go check out Café Oto also if you get the chance – a great little place in Dalston, east London.

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