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Columns > Dan Alford - Audio Files

Published: 2004/09/29
by Dan Alford

STS9 Winter/Spring 2003

Quick Picks From the Disc Changer:
The Slip, 2/18/98- WERS in studio performance
The Dead, 6/17/03, Disc 2- Drumz > Mnts. Of the Moon > WRS!!!!! The Best!
Phish, 10/31/96, Disc 1- Really nice DWD
Garaj Mahal, 12/20/02- A long time favorite single disc set
Dub Is A Weapon- 3/29/04- Excellent small band, live dub
Discman: The Slip, Live at Lupos, Disc 2- Can’t stop listening to it
Sound Tribe Sector 9, 3/1/03, Irving Plaza , NYC
This soundboard recording comes from Sector 9’s official download site, which in a few short months has provided a much more balanced and representative archive than is available at (as much as you can compare lemons and pomegranates), including a number of recent shows, sets from 2002 and even an older 98. Circulated soundboards of STS9 are rare at best, although there are a number of matrix recordings on Live Music Archive, and there is much to be said for hearing the computer effects and Murph in pure digital sound. There are movements of sound that just come across better with a board. Be that as it may, the Sector 9 fan base includes many of the very best tapers on the scene and excellent- no, breathtaking- recordings abound. The point is, the band has done a nice job with, but it’s not necessary to go download the whole catalogue. Still, grabbing one every now and then is a real treat.
This gig opens with a very fine pairing of Breathe In > Rilly Wut? and also includes a full suite of Evasive Maneuvers > Kamuy > Nautilus > 4 My Peeps in the first set. Many fans have lamented the move away from jammed out segues, so this is a nice exception to the rule. The second set opens with a lurking Today that ends with vocal cuts from George Bush followed by a huge grinding intro to Moonsockets. Also, Audio Angel sits in on a number of tunes, the best by far being a cover of Enjoy the Silence!
Sound Tribe Sector 9, 2/18/03, Madison, WI
This is very much a personal favorite. Just about everything on this show shines, and just thinking about it makes me smile. The Once Told is so lively with deep geologic rhythms, it is unquestionably the best version around. And to follow it with a heavy, pulsing Tap In is just perfect. The short set closes with a classic Crystal Instrument > Luma Daylight- again, perfection.
The second set opener is my favorite Breath In- just amazing at the mid song transition- is on the first disc, creating a nice continuity to the whole gig. Also of note is whole end run of Inspire Strikes Back, Rilly Wut? And Hubble. There is not much more to be said about this gig except go get it.
Sound Tribe Sector 9, Music Farm, Charleston, NC
From early in the tour this show boasts a different sort of set list and different sort of performance. While there is a nice Surreality > EB early in the first set, the EB riding particularly large and loud, most of the set is low, broad and atmospheric with sudden bursts of energy. We’ll Meet in Our Dreams takes the vibe out and even lower, where it pools and lingers until the mid-song spark in Wiki Chikana. With the taunting anxiousness of Your IT the music slinks down again, darkly- certainly a different type of musical journey for Sector 9.
The second set is likewise pensive and atmospheric. The mid-set Improv is a great listen, and sums up the weightiness with a driving, sparkly percussion charge. The full percussion matrix is outstanding through the entire set, with a few more opportunities to shine and solo, but what really makes this show stand out is its darkness and jousting with melancholia. Also, there some great Murph comments just before the whole vibe is turned upside down by the fantastic What Is Love? Encore.

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