Saturday, October 12, 2013

Arto Lindsay at the Bowery Electric

Arto Lindsay was born in the United States on May 28, 1953, but spent many years in Brazil with his missionary parents and came of age during the 1960s eclectic Tropicália movement of Brazilian culture. This time of cultural experimentation and artistic cross-pollination impacted the young Lindsay. In New York during the launch of the punk rock scene in the late 1970s, Lindsay co-formed the seminal “no wave” group DNA. In the early 1980s, Lindsay’s aggressive guitar work was featured in John Lurie's "fake jazz" outfit, the Lounge Lizards, as well as the Golden Palominos. These groups combined rock, pop, improvisational jazz and avant-garde experimentalism. Lindsay also collaborated with John Zorn, playing in several of his ensembles, including Locus Solus. Lindsay later formed the Ambitious Lovers, whose music was more pop influenced and featured a link to Brazilian music, but the band’s three albums of genre-bending pop never caught fire and the band disbanded in 1991. Lindsay launched a different solo career in the early 1990s, significantly more oriented toward his Brazilian roots and electronica. His most recent solo album in 2004’s Salt.

At the Bowery Electric tonight as part of the second annual CBGB’s Festival, Lindsay played solo, accompanying himself only on electric guitar. Most of the audience looked as if it had not been born yet during his first excursion into music, but all were brought to a hush when he began singing and playing guitar. His music was immediately striking. Reading from handwritten notes on a music stand, he sang softly and interjected the guitar as a percussion instrument, hitting the strings and neck to produce a cacophonic assault. Basic guitar techniques such as picking or strumming were avoided completely in favor of choppy blasts of noise and distortion. I was able to handle only about 20 minutes of this noise rock experimentation and exited.

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