Calla & Flux Information Sciences

THE AQUARIAN WEEKLY "Area 13" review | Mark Steiner

Live Performance & Young God Records CD Release Party at The Mercury Lounge, NYC - Friday, January 19, 2001

Young God Records, the brainchild label of Michael Gira (Swans, Angels of Light) recently ushered in the new year with both an intriguing sampler CD simply entitled "Compilation 2000 A.D.," as well as "Ego: Echo," the label's first impressive release from revisionist French avant-rock artists Ulan Bator. Friday night at Mercury Lounge marked yet another double release in the expanding repertoire of this delving indie label, with live showcase performances by Calla and Flux Information Sciences, both in support of their respective new releases. Unlike overseas peers Ulan Bator, who sing in French, both Calla and Flux Information Sciences are already causing more of a local stir, but then again, both bands currently reside in New York City, which fortunately lowers the odds in catching either act again in the near future.

The vigorous live performance for which Flux Information Sciences already has a reputation is certainly fueled largely by the intensity of frontman Tristan Bechet, whose unpredictable stage antics include jolting about in a dressjacket and shorts while playing a casio keyboard or banging on a guitar (with an effects-pedal duct-taped to the body), all while spouting words whose meaning often seems disguised as poignant near-gibberish. Methods of combining music with noise are utilized in a way that parallels bordering on near-genius and insanity (which may help explain the paradoxical nature of the debut CD's title "Private / Public," in itself a truly warranted studio interpretation of their exploration in sound). Flux Information Sciences further defines itself as a band through loops and samples as performed (live, not programmed!) by keyboardist Sebastien Brault. With the stage aid of recent recruits Siobhan Duffy (The Gunga Din, ex-God Is My Co-Pilot) on drums and bassist Chris Pravdica (also from The Gunga Din), an initial introduction to Flux's unique effort is perhaps best delivered through live performance, which in turn allows for maximum appreciation of their provocative approach to noise-inspired, sometimes Kubrickian, manic-driven music.

The music of Calla, on the other hand (though not necessarily in direct contrast) is more of a beautiful, haunting slowdive into the inner conscience of melancholia. Though originally from Texas, (George W. Bush jokes aside), and with a sense of dynamic not unlike the weaving of time by the Three Fates (from Greco-Roman mythology), this trio has proven it's worthiness through the bandmembers' natural chemistry and collective diligence. Calla's songs probe into the murky unknown, as singer Aurelio Valle almost whispers secrets of heartache and longing. At times reminiscent of lesser known, acid-induced (and consequently more interesting) periods of The Doors and Led Zeppelin, Calla's album "Scavengers" seems to reveal a wide array of influences which one can merely speculate on. The album does end with a delicious rendition of (yes) U2's "Promenade," a tasteful cover indeed. Perhaps the only unfortunate aspect of the evening was the club's mysteriously low sound level; Calla's music is best absorbed through drowning in it's ocean-like depths.

P.S. Heard a Flux track today on "The New Afternoon Show" WNYU 89.1 fm. Cool