The month of not understanding, Part II
I’ll continue this whining session by adding some blatant self-promotion (ah, the glories of the blog!)
There’s another LIC musical phenomenon I can’t grasp, and with even less excuse than for the SWM [see: The month of not understanding, Part I], as it’s ECB – El Chico Blanco. Well Shark, you may say (if you allow me to feed you your lines), How can that be?? You are after all helping produce the ECB Live at Domaine disc/download thingie that you talk about constantly, and you’ve spent many hours inebriated on Robert’s finer bottles while listening to the band. And even some sober ones listening the rough mixes for whatever album will see the light of day. If you don’t get this group (you might say if I wrote longwinded scripts for you), how the hell can you presume to tell us out here on the Greater Interwebs just what goes down at the wine bar?
You make a lot of sense for a kid from Queens.
What manner of creature is the ECB? Metal electronica? Acid improv alt-soul? Distorto-trip free hop? It’d be easier to come up with a marketing-friendly cheeseball label if the sound didn’t seem to change every two weeks. I had hoped that the short respite provided by an interlude in Prague (yes, great name for a French espionage/relationship film) for Steve Blanco, who fronts the group, would allow me to get ahold of it.
Well, it did allow me to realize I didn’t need to get ahold of anything. This past Tuesday, I met D., a friend – not sure why we’re friends, as he’s into wine, knows finance, noodles around on keyboards, and is a decent tennis player – at Domaine. Now D. was already a Steve Blanco fan, but had only heard the Trio, and had only been to Domaine, once, some time back. This was a perfect test for my theories of how to label, and then maybe corner and capture, this sound.
Phfft. D. heard the music as primarily rock-based, and mentioned that Jon Schaefer – yes, the same WNYC guy who cameoed in part 1 – has classified a good deal of current music as ‘post-rock’: it uses the language of rock, eschews vocals, and is structured in ways closer to jazz or classical. Schaefer intends the label to be a non-genre, not a limitation but simply a ”not that, but something (though not quite anything) else”. Well look, ‘new wave’ was a useful term for a few years in the 70’s. “Post-rock’ is true as a referent for ECB as far as it goes; it just doesn’t go very far. I’m going to let myself stay confused, and enjoy ECB as the music evolves.
The Silver Shark is always moving, just under the surface of the LIC scene. He comes up suddenly to snap up some wine and music, and perhaps bare his teeth at nearby lovely mermaids – though he generally doesn't bite. You can catch an occasional glimpse of him at your favorite LIC venue, and regularly here at his blog.
* Photo by Ferny Chung, from ECB Facebook