Public Memory

AdHoc + Felte Present

Public Memory

Devon Church

November 30th

8:00 pm

Alphaville

$10

This event is 21 and over

Public Memory
Public Memory
Public Memory is a mixture of damaged and dubbed-out percussion, unfurling synths and sparse sampling - all strung together by producer Robert Toher's spectral tenor. The project's sophomore LP, Demolition follows 2017's Veil of Counsel EP and 2016's Wuthering Drum LP with cinematic fortitude.

While Public Memory's prominent krautrock and trip-hop rhythms are represented here, Demolition explores a greater range of tempos and an expanse of alien emotions with layers of electronic drums, live drums, Korg synths and samples from nature. Themes of rebirth and reflection imbue the album's atmosphere, rich in tape delay, spring reverb, and textures that conjure a sci fi and supernatural narrative.

Opener "The Line" sets the album in motion with a driving energy and introspective unease, as if estranged from the world it was created in. A meditation on impending collapse, "Red Rainbow" begins with an arpeggiated melody that hints at a sense of dread. Like the darkness of night descends, the track unfolds with haunting atmospherics and howling synths, finishing with an unexpected climax that ominously builds until at last it falls apart, quickly, softly, without incident. The slow-tempoed "Aegis" reflects on the banal reality of love lost, with shuffling rhythms, lingering inflections and a growling synth at its core.

Toher's adept use of space and tension articulates the world of Demolition as eerie, emotive, and above all, narcotic. Each track is an existential procession. "Turning out the lights on your illusion," Toher sings to close the album, accepting that change is an inescapable condition of being.
Devon Church
Devon Church
It can take years to find your voice. In the case of the Winnipeg-born, Brooklyn-based musician Devon Church, it took the dissolution of a decade-long marriage and creative collaboration (Exitmusic, a nightmare-pop project co-founded by Church's ex-wife) to send him down the road of discovering his own singular, rough-hewn-yet-elegant style.

Exitmusic is known for haunting soundscapes and hair-raising emotional climaxes. With his remarkably assured Felte debut, We Are Inextricable, Church applies his experience as a producer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter to an equally absorbing solo project—one that plunges his Cohen-esque pop poetics into an ocean of drone, psychedelic minimalism, harmonic noise, and distortion-tinged, angelic ambience. The result is a well-crafted exploration of samsara and nirvana, heaven and earth, two states seemingly coexisting in the songs themselves. It's an entrancing listen.

Sensuous, surrealist lyrics—touching on themes of romantic obsession, religious ambivalence, dysfunctional families, and the ineffable strangeness of human existence—are delivered in a ravaged, soulful baritone, approximating some chimeric offspring of two-cigarettes-at-once Tom Waits, a tripped-out David Bowie, and John Maus. Trance-inducing, tape-saturated echoes of minimalist and ambient composers like Terry Riley, Pauline Olivera, Steve Reich and Grouper fill the spaces left by post-punkified chord structures, primitive drum machines, shakers, tambourines, and delirious, overdriven synthesizers.

The album opens with "Chamomile," a simple, striking, four-chord dirge with a big hook, somatic synth arpeggios, and strange lyrics suspended in a burnt-out cathedral. Ominously juxtaposed images and impressionism give way to a chorus built around a platitude read from an herbal tea bag. Repurposed for a sarcastic suicide note, the chorus line ("life is for the living and you’re meant to be free") takes on multiple layers of meaning and intent, set between verses dripping with tragic irony, biblical references, and bodily fluids. It serves as a prelude to a night-sea journey through the depths of a complex and conflicted psyche, concluding with a brief glimpse of transcendence in the starlit closer "Sky Save For Us."

"Your Father's House," which muses on a family history of addiction and mental illness, is an unexpected dream-pop epic about the struggle to leave the past behind ("and lock the door to your father’s house"). Meanwhile, "Nothing Is Revealed" meditates on the adult effects of childhood trauma, while the relentlessly hypnotic, strangely catchy accompaniment recalls a Suicide song played backwards and synced up with one of Basinski's Disintegration Loops. And "A Wave On Land"—an ethereal but emotional waltz, written for a hospital-bound brother—offers a metaphor for the human condition: "we could never leave or stay/ orphans like us, we're like ocean waves/ wandering/ ocean waves on dry land/ stranded here, wandering." Its soaring refrain sums up the album's union of spiritual opposites as well: "crash, break / roll like a wave / always change / always stay the same / silence and wonder.’

We Are Inextricable's title track, with its pulsating synths, ghostly guitars, and powerful vocals, stands out as a stylistic and thematic mission statement. It seems to refer to both human bondage and our common human bond, a song as much about the pathological eternal recurrences of a bad relationship as our karmic and cosmic interconnectedness. What binds us—seen from another point of view—sets us free.
Venue Information:
Alphaville
140 Wilson Ave
Brooklyn, NY, 11237
http://www.alphavillebk.com/