Monday, October 23, 2017

The Anti-Group: U.S. Premiere of Electro Pioneers

Posted By on Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 4:58 PM

click to enlarge Adi Newton
  • Adi Newton
The historical moment that gave us punk rock was actually a series of minor aesthetic explosions that produced any number of unpredictable musical adventures. In bringing the group X__X to town, Gonerfest 14 just celebrated one such explosion that occurred around Cleveland in the late '70s. Meanwhile, in Sheffield, England around the same time, another take on revolution was fomenting. Clock DVA was part of a movement that included Cabaret Voltaire and Heaven 17, but never achieved the commercial heights of those groups, probably because of their more industrial sound. Ultimately, Clock DVA co-founder Adi Newton, who approached his electronic experiments as “research,” struck out on his own with a more open-ended, collaborative project known as The Anti-Group. Making music consisting primarily of layered electronic noise and haunting tonalities over bass pulses, not necessarily underpinned with drum machine rhythms, The Anti-Group, aka The Anti-Group Communications (TAGC), played out more like studies in psycho-acoustics than pop entertainment.

All the more remarkable, then, that TAGC, not unlike X__X, continues to have legs. Though electronic music permeates nearly every corner of life now, it tends to fall into the same over-worn dance patterns. The search for the uncanny, which flourished when the genre was in its infancy, has dwindled as the sounds themselves become more pedestrian. Not so with the Anti-Group. The collective presents it's expeditions into the territories of noise and tone with carefully thought-out dynamics that suggest classical compositions.

Given the renaissance of electronic weirdness that the Mid-South is experiencing these days, perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that Memphians will have the chance to hear the Anti-Group in real time tomorrow at the Amurica gallery space, as they begin their first American tour. Luís Seixas, who curates the electronic music label Thisco, based in his hometown of Lisbon, has seized the moment of Newton's recent spate of touring to bring the pioneer to Memphis. While this would be remarkable in New York, Paris, London, or Munich, it is doubly so in what many call “the largest small town in America.” While our city has long been considered the home of independent-minded musical pioneers, we can only hope that such a sense of adventure brings out fans of truly cutting-edge sonic explorations this Tuesday.

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