MA/PE/FU article in the Boston Phoenix

1 May 2011 xdementia No Comment

Special thanks to Ian Duncan-Brown for his inspired article about the first EE vinyl release and first volume of the MA/PE/FU series!

Here’s the introduction, follow the link to read the article in it’s entirety:

Beneath New England’s long-established hardcore, metal, and indie scenes lies the increasingly vital subculture of noise and power electronics. Once or twice a month, an unsightly, intimidating crowd packs into a dingy basement in Allston or Somerville, where they stand shoulder-to-shoulder and exchange barbed, sidelong glances as they jostle for space at the front.

As the artists set up, the crowd hungrily scrutinizes each performer’s gear and appearance, attempting to guess the caliber of the forthcoming set. Everyone is waiting for something to happen. Sometimes, the amps and PA issue sedate, experimental sounds or atmospheric drones and everyone stays civil, even though there’s a lingering, difficult-to-identify sense of disappointment. Other nights, fans witness a power electronics, or PE set; somebody cues up a barrage of harsh noise with his grimy, corroded mixer and array of pedals and bellows a hateful diatribe into a mic while throwing onlookers onto the cement floor or slashing his chest with a broken bottle, carving deep gashes that are tricky to explain to the staff of Lawrence Memorial.

Massachusetts power electronics isn’t all fistfights, blackouts, and visits to the ER, but there’s a seething belligerence that runs below the surface of the scene and bubbles up without much provocation. It’s like Boston itself, an ostensibly cosmopolitan college town with a mean streak; the bitter, sarcastic disposition shared by many locals informs Massachusetts PE’s discontentment. It’s a futile, closed scene whose artistic achievements go unnoticed, creating an endless feedback loop of frustration and release; only the most hardened crazies keep at it year after year given a seemingly unchanging level of interest or recognition. Though noise and power electronics have always existed on the fringe of music, things are picking up.

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