Body/Head (Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth & Bill Nace)

In Conjunction With Ars Nova Workshop

Body/Head (Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth & Bill Nace)

Axis: Sova, Fully Glazed

Fri, November 11, 2016

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

PhilaMOCA

Philadelphia, PA

$16.00 - $18.00

Sold Out

This event is all ages

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Body/Head (Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth & Bill Nace)
Body/Head (Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth & Bill Nace)
Creative alchemy doesn’t just happen in the studio or in the practice space; so much of it is the product of solo time with one’s instrument, learning how body and wood and electronics fuse, and of subconscious processes as one lives one’s daily life—picking up the ambient noise of the world outside, listening to others’ work, talking through ideas with friends. For Kim Gordon and Bill Nace, time together these days is limited to live performances and recording, so they’ve got to bring all their magic to every encounter. Lucky for us, these are two experimental sorcerers of significant renown.

Their debut album together as Body/Head, Coming Apart, from 2013, was more of a rock record—heavy, emotional, cathartic, spellwork in shades of black and grey. The Switch is their second studio full-length, and it finds the duo working with a more subtle palette, refining their ideas and identity. Some of it was sketched out live (if you’ve not had the fortune of seeing them in that natural environment yet, see 2016’s improvisational document No Waves), but much of it happened purely in the moment. Working in the same studio and with the same producer as Coming Apart, here Body/Head stretch out, making spacious pieces that build shivering drones, dissonant interplay, Gordon’s manipulated vocals, and scraping, haunting textures into something that feels both delicate and dangerous. Less discrete songs than one composition broken up into thematic movements, a slow-moving narrative that requires as much attention and care from the listener as it did from everyone involved in its creation, it is a record that sticks around after it’s done playing.


This is Nace’s favorite of Gordon’s guitar work; she’s truly come into her own as a guitarist, having built up her confidence through solo shows. The way the duo work together, you’d never know they spend so much time apart; on The Switch, their vision and focus feel truly unified. If Coming Apart was dark magic, The Switch works with light, though it never forgets that these approaches are two sides of the same coin, and that binaries—black/white, near/far, emotion/analysis, body/head—are made to be broken open, and that the truth of things is in the energy between.

-Jes Skolnik, May 2018
Axis: Sova
Axis: Sova
Just a little more than a year since last transmission and suddenly the rotation to Motor Earth signals a new day in the life and anti-life of Axis: Sova! We expect our music to reinforce perceptions of time as an arrow bolting forward, one way, into the future. But where’s the symmetry in that? Everything else in physics is two-way traffic; that’s the Faustian Universe that Axis: Sova scans for its rock. Where past, present and future are all pulling together, known together — as if we could get a clean link to that other hemisphere in our brain. We’re at the edge of the edge, how much further to the fringe?

The fuzzing, burning film stock of Early Surf was like a solarized sound of discontent and not-belonging, a state of dissonance within a state of reverberating vocals, circulatory systems of guitar and test-tube rock beats. The mix was TWEAKED, slaved over in an endless night. Motor Earth trips that trend further, rife with percolating boogie, suicidal punk shredders and cavernous rock, but this time, it’s a planet cleared of sonic brush so as to cleanly reflect the star it orbits and the moon it mirrors.

A key to this was working with a wider tape-head — Sova’s former four track fantasia is an ashy otherworld half remembered, replaced on Motor Earth by a broader expanse. Buoyant low end is well-defined rather than inferred, bearing out the robo-rock propulsion that drives Axis: Sova through space. Guitar grit remains profound, but distinctly un-smeared; here, the sound of the four-track is used as a tincture, an exotic accent to the flavor.

Another thing was building a band vibe. See, Axis: Sova began as Brett Sova’s one-man operation, building up and stripping out parts from new and repurposed equipment, pitting meat against machine to find interplay, equilibrium. But touring the last two years as a band blew things wide open. Motor Earth demanded that same visceral, live approach, so Axis: live band mainstay Tim Kaiser’s input on guitar was necessary and utilized. Along with him, others from the Axis: inner circle visited to transmit one sound or another, telescoping Sova’s terms of psychic distortion into clearer sight lines. Studio takes were live in duo and trio style, even, driving deeper into a spontaneous countryside than ever before. All the while, alien hands working the boards for the first time.

Motor Earth flames into action with the band ablaze, two guitars finishing each other’s sentences before expanding in the ether, only to catch fire and plunge back to earth, reentering with steel-melting velocity. This is the moment of “Love Identity,” the keys to Motor Earth’s ignition. Past its album-opening arc of floating feedback, more songs reveal themselves in tightly wound chugs. “(Like An) Intruder” is a slab of classic snarl, “Eyes Have It” dances a serrated, two-note tumble. The flip stretches out — “Violent Yellow” swirls with paranoia before detonating into syncopated dual riffs; “Routine Machine” lopes a hot lead over a damaged progression, meditating like a funeral procession to album’s end.

Motor Earth finds Axis: Sova assimilating back down on Earth, soaking in the flawed humanity and broken systems of the world, the repetitive nature of days and days, the course of years. Who’s getting off on the mundanity? Kiss the Axis and you will find a parallel world of time. You’ll find the human collisions that occur as we run from society’s dreams of total control, causing sprays of rust from the decaying undercarriage. It’s the meeting of the reptilians and the beast within — the good, odd vibes resonating in late nights and the blown-ear mixes: the fractured togetherness of us all, revolving on Motor Earth!
Fully Glazed
Guitar-wall ecstasy achieved thru relentless monotony. dead horse-beating trio bliss that simultaneously channels live VU boots, PSF-label woolliness/amp melt & Bo Diddley-beat West Coast psych duncery reduced to its lowest possible common denominator.
Venue Information:
PhilaMOCA
531 North 12th St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123
http://www.philamoca.org/