Elevate Difference

Malaikat dan Singa

The music of Arrington de Dionyso (also of the band Old Time Relijun) lies somewhere in a crazy Venn Diagram where Sonic Youth, Nick Cave (circa The Birthday Party), Miles Davis (circa Bitches Brew), and Jerry Lee Lewis intersect. (Yes, I said Jerry Lee Lewis. If you don’t believe me, check out a live version of Arrington de Dionyso’s “Kedalaman Air,” where he dances around the stage with the same squirrelly eyes and reckless rock-n-roll abandon that Jerry Lee Lewis has when he performs “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On.”) Heck, there is even a little bit of the Melvins in there; think “Bar-X the Rocking M” and you would be heading in the right direction. (Arrington uses a bass clarinet rather than a trombone, but I think you get the idea.)

Arrington de Dionyso isn’t exactly rock, and he isn’t exactly jazz. I’m not sure all of it even would fit in the category of “music”—at least, not the kind of music that utilizes the traditional, catchy, verse-chorus-verse format. Listening to de Dionyso, there are many times when it sounds like a band of gypsies and a group of Tibetan monks fell down a flight of stairs, and the sounds they emitted as they tumbled were recorded on a scratchy eight-track.

Perhaps, though, this last analogy doesn’t give enough creative props to the man and his troupe of noise-artists. de Dionyso and his band somehow manage to make cohesive music while also making their instruments sound like they are being jerked into life by Dr. Frankenstein and about three million volts of electricity. It’s as if they created the musical version of H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Rats in the Walls.”

Sure, call it a bit pretentious if you want (Sonic Youth and Nick Cave have both been accused of the same), but how can anyone really claim that this music is pompous when it jangles around like a massive Sasquatch orgasm? I can only hope Arrington de Dionyso will be around for a very long time—if only because I am curious to see what he will come up with next.

Written by: Emily S. Dunster, December 5th 2009

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