by Cy Dune
Here is an amazingly positive write-up with photos from Friend/Music Lover/underwater cave photographer/Coffee Guru Anthony Rue about the Cy Dune 40 Drum piece at SXSW:
SXSW Postmortem: Cy Dune. I’m not sure what I expected at SXSW, but I know I didn’t walk into the event thinking it was about finding every possible way to saturate and extend branding as a means of replacing recorded media sales revenue. Yes, there was the Doritos stage, a sixty foot tall simulacrum of a chips vending machine where interchangeable hip hop stars performed from the vending slot. There was Andrew WK at the Vice party, sponsored by non-gender specific post-coital genital wipes. But even in the lower tiers, where new bands struggled for attention, the vibe often felt more about how to position your rock/pop/hip hop self in close enough proximity to a brand/blog/name to be able to synthesize sales. Of something. It’s not new to the world of pop music. Elvis sold baking powder and flour. I hope Mad Men renews for enough series that we get to see a seventy five-year old Don Draper doing coke with Wayne Coyne in the bathroom of HypeHotel as they sign a deal for the Flaming Lips to shill for Hyundai as a book-end for his failure to sign the Rolling Stones in the 60s.
All of this is to say that I went to SXSW to see Cy Dune. I didn’t even know that Cy Dune existed before the festival. While on a scouting mission to try to see if I could get into a show by Thee Oh Sees, I blundered into the last few songs by Akron/Family. I was able to stick around long enough to catch up with Miles and Seth; Seth M Olinsky invited me to catch his Cy Dune project a few days later. All I knew was that it would be Seth and as many drummers as he could round up for a one-off performance. And it was glorious. It made the dust fly. At phalanx of drummers with floor toms and cymbals lined two sides of the room. The small audience stood in the middle, while Seth was on the stage with his guitar and six drummers with full kits. No stage lights, no separation between audience and performer. With a wave of a hand the drummers began to sweep the room with repeated patterns. Over the next half hour, the room roared and whispered. It was fluxus and ‘pataphysics and for a short window it looked like the musicians were outside of SXSW. The festival needs madness and improvisation. Cy Dune was like a musical interpretation of Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York, balancing on the edge of self-destruction. It’s been too long since I’ve been around creative musicians pushing improvisation into new territory. There are no Dan Willems or Bill Zinks in Gainesville to bring together this sort of mash-up of free jazz, experimental classical, noise, and rock– and this sort of work isn’t going on tour. It made my SXSW.