June 8, 2018 | doors at 9:00pm
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Triple Ds presents:
Xambuca | Martin Bisi [band]
  • $15
  • $15
Ulan Bator (France)
In today's increasingly barren rock and roll landscape, Ulan Bator stand as beacons of explorative songwriting. Formed in Paris in 1993 by Amaury Cambuzat (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Olivier Manchion (Bass), the band's atmospheric approach to composition has consistently yielded guitar-driven avant-rock at once hypnotic and untamed. And while their sound has developed in a variety of directions – often in relationship to changing line-ups and various collaborations, including with krautrock legends Faust and Swans' Michael Gira – Ulan Bator's resist simple categorization: kraut-y repetition, post-rock guitar flourishes, kosmische synth work, intimate whispering and pounding drums have all taken an audible lead throughout their now twenty-year career.

2017's Stereolith sees band mainstay and founding member Amaury Cambuzat continuing on in a tradition of experimental rock and roll, currently projected through a contemporary prism of electronics and synthesizers. Written while touring Ulan Bator's 2016 album Abracadabra through Italy, Cambuzat pieced together the band's 12th LP on his laptop in various hotel rooms before eventually rerecording individual drum, bass and guitar parts in the studio. The result is a crispness in sound that resists typical psych- and experimental cliches of washed-out und contourless improvisation. But perhaps the most impressive – and surprising – aspect of the album is its epicness. The songs on Stereolith achieve a grand, looming presence despite their relatively short lengths.

While the Stereolith's longest and most obvious genre-nod "NeuNeu" clocks at a pleasantly meandering five-and-half minutes and features explorative guitar work reminiscent of Michael Rother, most of the songs on the album clock in at under 4, with dreamlike atmospheres established from the get go. An excellent example is "Blue Girl", which opens moodily with deep sustained piano, gongs and industrial bleeps before exploding into a playful postrock groove that plays off Popol Vuh-like synth vamps. The song could easily continue for 10 minutes, but Cambuzat appears content to imply an endless groove without actually simulating it. That quality continues on album standout "Ego Trip", sung by Cambuzat in both French and English. The song's various melodies – harpischord, chorus bass, guitar – shift over a steady chord progression to create a glorious interweaving, while slightly above the din, Cambuzat intimately recounts what sounds like the wounding words of a spurned lover. "She said you're not a star," he intones, converting someone's pain into music to our ears.

Elsewhere, Cambuzat's non-native approach to writing in English, like that of Björk or Damo Suzuki, borders on the surreal. "I lost myself in a spinach can," he murmurs on "Spinach Can", evoking a lysergic-tinged scene from an episode of Popeye, which he soon takes into deeper, darker waters by adding, "I crossed the ocean of tears and blood." By the end of the slow, dirge-like final bursts of album closer "Dust", it becomes clear that in Cambuzat's world, the dark, the light and the strange are comfortable bedfellows. It's an atmospheric ménages-a-trois that occasionally pushes beyond the boundaries of taste and coolness into vaguely new-age-y and adult contemporary territory. Which is what makes Stereolith both far more interesting than most rock and roll today – and inviting for multiple listens. "The music is best listened to in a 3D pyramid, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean," the singer said in a recent interview. Short of that however, closed eyes and open ears will suck you deep into Ulan Bator's shadowy universe.
Chandra Shukla (b. 1975) created XAMBUCA before performing a debut performance in Berkeley, CA on April 20, 1995 came up with the nonsensical moniker. He formed them from letters left over from a Scrabble game that spelled out what has come to be known as 'XAMBUCA'. It was this that prompted the need for a name and the beginnings of an ongoing collaborative project that was completely free of genre, form, context or musicality with a rotating arsenal of sonic guests. Though now in 2018, the lineup for XAMBUCA consists solely of Chandra Shukla (sound) and sometimes collaborations with Geo Lynx (video). XAMBUCA has performed internationally and continues to produce, record and perform live. The symbol of XAMBUCA is the 'x' that marks the spot appearing on every product and stemming from the likes of chromosomes to tuning forks and is a brand logo to be recognized , everywhere. One of those symbols that you've felt you've seen before but weren't quite sure where. Many derivative and copycat logos have emerged since its inception in 1995 either by mere coincidence or sheer plagiarism. XAMBUCA strives to give emphasis to its art both sonically and visually.
Martin Bisi [band]
Martin Bisi is an American producer and songwriter. He is known for recording important records by Sonic Youth, Swans, John Zorn, Material, Bill Laswell, Helmet, Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop, White Zombie, Boredoms, Angels of Light and Herbie Hancock's Grammy-winning song Rockit.

In 1979, Martin Bisi started BC Studio with Bill Laswell and Brian Eno in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn, where he recorded many of the No Wave, punk bands, and hip-hop of the early 1980s including Lydia Lunch, Foetus, Live Skull, and Afrika Bambaata. In 1982 he recorded the instruments for Whitney Houston's first recorded appearance as a lead singer -the song "Memories" on Material's One Down LP.

In 2002 Bisi recorded The Dresden Dolls' critically acclaimed debut album, and in 2005, mixed the surprise break-out CD by Serena Maneesh of Norway.