Six different artists – two from Ottawa, four from the U.S. – congregated at the Avant-Garde Bar to make weird and baffling noise for people with ears on the cutting edge and subscriptions to 'The Wire'.

The first band was Paris Hilton. It featured members of two Ottawa groups. Post rock outfit If Then Do and noise manipulators Akisikala teamed up, grabbed a few masks bearing a vague resemblance to the notorious hotel chain offspring and made a racket.

I’ve seen live shows by Akisikala and If Then Do in their separate incarnations (opening for Sunburned Hand of The Man and Do Make Say Think respectively), and enjoyed both sets. After seeing the two duos combine their talents as Paris Hilton, I’ll just say I’m eager to see them perform again … as duos (and I definitely don’t mean I want to see any homemade sex tapes). While the Hilton masks and cutout of Tinkerbell (her pet Chihuahua, for those of you who don’t read the gossip rags) were slightly amusing, there was too much noise to too little effect.

Next up was Crystal Eagles, the nom de noise of Christie Watson. Accompanied by a pair of glowing thingamabobs, he produced feedback with an amp on the floor and microphone. The method was interesting, the result only intermittently so.

The next act was Charalambides’ member Christina Carter (now Madonia) in her solo incarnation. Strummed guitar and lullaby ululation made a compelling combination.

My sole previous experience of Fursaxa was her 'Mon Lion' track on the Acid Mothers Temple Family triple-CD compilation, 'Do Whatever You Want, Don’t Do Whatever You Don’t Want!' Live she created an entrancing combination of vocal loops, shaker sounds, guitar, dulcimer, music box and flute. She was certainly the performer most concerned with constructing actual melodic relationships within her music. She got the most resounding applause of the evening.

She was followed by Zaimph, alias Marcia Bassett. She made most of her music with a guitar, using e-bows and laying things across the string while she picked and sawed at it. She also held the microphone in her mouth for some vocals. Noise, but with enough melodic content to make sense to my ears was the result.

The closing act, Carlos Giffoni has collaborated with such notables as Jim O'Rourke, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth and experimental guitarist Nels Cline.

Despite those credentials, I can’t say I was impressed with his laptop sound manipulations. The technique - moving a cursor around a field on his laptop to manipulate the sound from various noise-emitting doo-dads - was interesting enough, but the resulting sounds lacked enough cohesion to appeal.

In summary, the night definitely belonged to the women.

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Commenting On: Avant Garde Bar, Ottawa, 20/8/2005 - Carlos Giffoni,Zaimph,Fursaxa,Christina

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