Song of the day – 169: Arrington de Dionyso
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Olympia, Washington from Arrington himself, sending me download links to yet more of his imaginative, multi-dimensional, freestyle music. I never quite know what’s it going to sound like: from full-on demented Pop Group-style distortion, to throat singing, to abrasive atonal squalls of noise on unaccompanied bass clarinet, to this latest project Malaikat dan Singa. The music is never polished, aims straight for the jugular. He describes his current sound (Indonesian music, and sung in Indonesian) as “future world music”, and well… have a listen. Here’s a song from his newest album – which you can track down via his MySpace, where he gloriously describes himself as the “James Bond of free improvisation”. The recording was made about a week after the song was written.
There’s a real shamanic quality to Arrington.
Here is a review of Arrington’s previous band Old Time Relijun, reprinted from Plan B #34, 2008.
Old Time Relijun/Charlottefield
Prince Albert, Brighton
It isn’t a hot night. No way.
The rivers of sweat cascading down singer Arrington de Dionyso’s T-shirt and into his swimming trunks have little to do with humidity and everything to do with exertion. He tackles the mic like a demon: face contorted, eyes popping, head held to the side in the way of someone who’s caught talismanic Olympia, WA icon Calvin Johnson play live a few too many times. He’s frankly a little worrying: but he needs to contort, he needs to strain, to reach deep inside for a voice not heard since the heady days of Mark Stewart and The Pop Group, stuttering and stammering and screaming, totally on-fire.
The heat extends to the remainder of his band: feral dub adventurers all – stand-up bassist Aaron Hartman (formerly of Olympia dance-heads IQU) slapping his strings in a numbing show of strength and dexterity, dementia saxophonist Ben Hartman blowing down two instruments simultaneously like every teenage Teenage Jesus And The Jerks fan ever wished for, Germaine Bacca doing the whole intense drummer bit to perfection. The heat extends out, out into the crowd where I’m attempt-dancing, right next to Plan B’s Richard Stacey and Andrew Clare, catching on our tongues and in our throats as we give voice between the brief bouts of flayed, splayed funk and centrifugal sax, apocalyptic visions all. “Shake!” comes the command all the way down the years, back from minimalist trio Blurt (sax wielded as instrument of aggression, of avarice, not consolation) and Bristol’s Gla*o Babies. “Shake rake, shake rake yeah!”
Context is king. While support played, as support must, Arrington drank Argentinean tea and offered ear-plugs. The support sounded strangely Louisville via Brighton: all smart math rock stops and screaming, “It’s all about the drummer”, the sort of music I’ve been witnessing for 15 years now and didn’t get even first time round – male, not male. Noise, not noise. Testosterone for geeks. Such a relief to hear Old Time Relijun then, with their, wired Olympia take on dance music and scratchy dancing. “This is the best gig I’ve ever seen,” announced one fan after. I wouldn’t go that far, but it was certainly up there with Sharon Jones And The Dap-Kings the previous week.
Dionyso regales the tiny Albert pub with his strangulated, stentorian vocals and thrashed, oddly tinny, guitar. Hartman (A) pounds his fingers into oblivion, raising weals in sympathy. A few of us sway staccato-style, and quite a few remarks are made by Dionyso about the moisture in the air and how it’s making his guitar sound “jazz”, and then he wipes his amp lead on his sodden shirt in a futile gesture and…wham! Off Bacca goes with another foot-tormenting beat, Hartman (B) pounding keep-up on bass drum, Dionyso in another dimension altogether…and, wham! Another tribal, guttural call to dance strikes up, and the moisture in the air congeals as one.