Noxagt @ Cafe Blitz

Live: Noxagt + MoE + Aiming For Enrike @ Cafe Blitz in Oslo, Norway, 10/05/2014

Computer word processing can feel too static sometimes, and perhaps my hand-written notepad scrawl better captures my experience with Aiming For Enrike. I can see where words have been rephrased and elaborations have been crammed in the margins; where one train of thought has been interrupted and recalibrated, revealing my words as a constant flow of presumption and misunderstanding. The music – brewed between just drums and guitar, it’s worth noting – is a continuous re-evaluation. Squarely thumping funk is stacked up and then detonated, the resultant rubble hurled violently in improvised gestures and then re-built via a hopscotch of polyrhythmic steps. At one point they drift off into a humid, mystifying forest of palm-mutes, and then into what sounds like old VHS footage of a carousel on its side, spinning backward and fast-forward simultaneously. Loops are built into towers, twisted like ribbon, dismantled like Lego.

MoE are just as temporal in structure, like a fraying rope bridge over an active volcano. Feedback cakes the walls at any moment that guitar and bass aren’t being strangled into position, while vocals document a brain splintering into bits in real time. Tempos speed up and slow down dangerously – into the doom of slow-motion hellfire, lurching through hardcore syncopation like a stuck tractor clutch – and I feel like I’m staring into the infernal void at any point the drums drop out entirely. The band peer perilously into chaos as recurrent guitar motifs retain just a notion of structure, with  Guro Skumsnes Moe’s manic screams of “DOWN!” pre-empting MoE’s submergence beneath the mantle of the earth. It’s terrifying to witness, but sometimes it feels like music built from fear too; there’s a chilling uncertainty on the band’s part, as if they are equally oblivious as to what they may be capable of.

The entry of Noxagt puts the room on a queasy tilt. Where the other two bands flood my body and promptly withdraw, Noxagt linger and gradually suck the energy away, climbing over me until I’m wearing their sound as a chainmail skin; each repetition becomes a drab spasm of habit as the crowd sway semi-consciously, dazed in the midst of muscle failure, caught right in amongst the band’s lurching gear mesh, jammed in a factory machine existing immortally on the edge of breakdown. Bass wraps around the drums like an oily metal chain, while feedback drips over the top like reverse wind chimes; I want to call it “beautiful” sometimes, but any emotive vocabulary just seems to grinds discordantly against the fact that Noxagt stagger so vacantly, ambling as a hollow body until purpose comes to find them. Even in the midst of Café Blitz’s rainbow banners, frantic wall art and heaving bodies, such sound makes the room feel oddly colourless and empty.