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Maufactura/Converter/Sonar Review:
A Collective - Late But Not at all Forgotten!
The Vogue - Seattle, WA
~reviewed by Mistress Catherinna
(Photos: Dj Hana Solo, Manufactura Comments: Steve Saunders, Mini Interview with: Scott Sturgis)

I would like to preface this review with an apology for getting it out so late!!  It's truly amazing how quickly and often, one can get caught up in their many alternating responsibilities and let something slip through the cracks.  It's not a great excuse, but hey, I was intrigued enough by the show, to still want to share the information I experienced and learned with others! So that must count for something right?  Hence the well deserved title "Late, But Not At All Forgotten!!"

The only down fall to writing a review so late, is that all of those wonderful rants, compliments, suggestions, criticisms that one experiences at a show are not as intense as they were that very night.  However, on the upside, this show made enough of an impression in my mind, that most of it is still pretty vivid!!

Originally, I did not plan on going to this show, as I haven't really been able to cross the line to the 'other side' and understand this genre of music so to speak.  To be quite frank, prior to seeing this show, Noise, just really wasn't my cup of tea nor did I have any interest in spending my time at a show.  I have tried to listen to various CD's by different artists, but just really never quite got into it at all.   I decide to jump out of the box, a little with this review and take a different approach.  In this review you will encounter: a small interview I had with Scott Sturgis of Converter, my take on the show and an small review on Manufactura from a promoter here in Seattle, Steve Saunders.

I ended up attending the show due to a conversation several people were having about the vary same views I have pertaining to Noise.  I decided that A.) I would never truly understand it unless I gave it more of a chance.
B.) Maybe I would be surprised.  C.) Experiencing a live show might be better than trying to listen to a CD. and D.)  Two of the bands are people I know and figured extra support is always appreciated.  So off I went!!

I arrived at the show around 10:40 pm. and realized I had missed Manufactura.  This is unfortunate as it was their first live show and from what the audience remarked, they did a really good job. I decided in all fairness that it would be more tastefull to ask a patron/fan to write a brief summary of their take of the Manufactura portion, rather than trying to write up my interpretation from audience comments. His comments follow:

Manufactura~ a perspective by Steve Saunders

When I attended the Sonar/Converter/Manufactura show, I knew what to expect from 2/3s of the acts...but I had little idea what to expect from Karloz M's sonic endevour, known as Manufactura.  I had heard a little of his material before, but peforming live is an entirely different animal...and this was Karloz's first time on stage. Needless to say, I was quite skeptical of the overall satisfaction I would have as a result of Manufactura's set.

Boy howdy, do I love to be proven wrong and greatly surprised! Karloz, with live assistance from Dre (of Noise Box, Data Bomb), proved his project to be a elektro/noize hybrid to be reckoned with. Excellent rhythm structure, pounding beats and super-charged attitude ensured instantly a place for Manufactura in my heart. If you like harsh ebm/electro and would like to cross-breed it with rhythmic beat noize, then you ought to love this project.

Now, as per usual fare, the live show itself was a bit lacking...but I have discovered that it's quite normal for a "noise show" to be a little on the boring side stage show wise. It's understandable though, that nervous must've been racked considering it was Manufactura's debut performance...little things could have been done to make it better...such as Dre being more visible, because even behind Karloz, his energy was pretty intense, and the mastermind himself was buried behind his equipment.  However, if the above are my only complaints, then I am happy. Others were happy to at Manufactura's overall performance. I do hope they play again soon, for it is always a treat to hear a "noise band" that doesn't suck serious eggs these days.  If you hear about Manufactura traveling to your neck of the woods, check them will not be disappointed.
-Steven Saunders

Converter V.S. Sonar~ a perspective by Catherinna

Now, as stated before, I walked into this show blindly.  I really wasn't sure what to expect and wasn't sure if I would enjoy myself musically. Converter put on a very powerful show!!  Up until now, I really didn't even understand how anyone could dance to Noise, but Scott, opened my eyes!  The Vogue had an excellent turn out for the show which I am sure helped in atmosphere of the club, but the crowd combined with Converter is what made the energy level rise in the club!!

Converter started out the set with a white strobe light which faced the audience.  This strobe light really set the mood for what the crowd was about to experience, as Scott spewed out the raunchy beats, samples, and underlying electro hard bass beats.  There were many times when I found myself looking around at the crowd and feeling like I was at a rave only on the dark side.  This music reminds me very much of trance/house music only with static beats and noise looping through the varying thickness of layers. I was actually quite impressed with the show overall and thought it was absolutely amazing how Scott pulled in the crowd from the get go, as if they were hypnotized and they didn't stop until Converter's set was over!! Personally, I had to move away from the direct line of sight, as the strobe light was directed at the audience throughout the entire set.  I was getting nauseous, I suppose the hypno therapy didn't work so well on me :)

I did enjoy the show overall.  I remember a point where I felt like between the music and the strobe light, something had reached into my soul, shredded it, put it back, but yet I was at ease.  I guess I could see this being an attraction to this genre for some.  And the draw seems to make more sense. I suppose now in retrospect, that even my opinion has changed somewhat, as I would enjoy seeing Converter play again.  So whether it was the energy or the live music or the two combined, I was able to step out of my typical likeness of music and experience a whole new sense of uneasiness.

Now Sonar had the complete opposite effect on me.  I was completely bored, as I believe much of the crowd was as well. Many people started filtering out after a few songs.  Maybe it was the fact that they were the last of three similar sounding bands, and people had their fill as of then.  It wasn't because it was late, as I distinctly remember them starting it early and that being why I had missed Manufactura.

I felt like Sonar lacked originality. Most of the songs sounded the same to me, and definitely did not capture my interest at all.  Again, I am not the best judge of this as I am not really a fan of this genre of music, but it just didn't do anything for me at all.  This is somewhat disappointing as Dirk Ivens of Sonar, is the mastermind behind Industrial's infamous project called "Klinik" and his more recent project "Dive".  Both of which I feel hold more talent and promise.  The truth be known, it is possible that Sonar is just a type of Noise genre that I don't care for more so than the other, and my ignorance to each classification could stand in the way of my overall opinion of this part of the show.

Interview with Scott Sturgis of Converter
I would like to close this review with a small interview I decided to do with Scott Sturgis of Converter concerning noise and some of the differences in genres of NOISE.  What prompted me to do this, was the fact that Starvox mainly reviews artists that are in the gothic/darkwave genre (although we do have our share of experimental, some noise and such).  I thought that readers might be more inclined to give the varying degrees of Noise projects a chance if they had more of an idea of where it came from and what they can expect from it.  I know it would have helped spark my interest more, had I realized it wasn't always just NOISE in a raw and unnerving form.  I really encourage you to continue on to the interview portion of this review, as Scott has an excellent attitude about his musical direction and just simply RAWKS for humoring me and answering my questions!!
Catherinna: What is Noise?

Scott: I think the simplest way I can put it, in my own words, is that noise in its most general sense is anti-music.

Catherinna: What is the difference between Noise and Power Noise?

Scott: Noise is generally considered "white noise", without much of any structure.  Power noise, on the other hand, is typically relies on structured arrangements and heavy percussion.

Catherinna: What do you consider your project/sound to be?

Scott: Converter is definitely part of the "power noise" genre.  It has its moments of ambience and atmospheric tracks, though.

Catherinna: Did you ever produce any other types of music and how would classify it?

Scott: Yes, I have several projects... they include music in the genres of dark electro, ambient noise, death industrial, idm and dark-hop.

Catherinna: Why did you move into this music direction?

Scott: I've nearly always been drawn to dark music, so I was a fan first. As for my own music, it's just the stuff that comes out when I write music.  It just sort of "happens."

Catherinna: What type of musical influences do you relate Noise creation to?

Scott: Many different bands have influences throughout the history of music. Strangely enough, I believe classical music tends to be high on many musicians' lists of influences.  The atmospheres and moods, the dark tendency of much classical music, the musical boundaries the composers crossed... it all figures in.  More recently, I'd say many have also been equally inspired by the bands at the roots of industrial music like Throbbing Gristle, Puppy, Neubauten, etc., etc.

Catherinna: Do you consider Noise to be similar to Techno/Trance type music?

Scott: I think it certainly can be.  We are all crossing borders and experimenting with many similar sounds, song structures and software.  Whether this is a direct result of being influenced by either genre's music or if it's a coincidence, I don't know.

Catherinna:  When listening to Noise or creating Noise, where does it take you?

Scott: Sometimes into a realm of complete chaos and other times one of structure and order; Sometimes it's a great way to release the stress of the day or clear and unclutter my mind.  It all depends on the track and my particular mood at that moment.

Catherinna: Where do you think it takes your audience?

Scott: Hopefully to the same types of places... or maybe even "further out".

Catherinna:  Do you think Noise will evolve into another music form?

Scott: I think it already has to an extent.  You hear bits of noise here and there in nearly all forms of music now.  I think it has a lot to do with the role technology plays in music composition nowadays.  There's a lot of room to tweak things during the writing and recording process, so many people take advantage of that and throw in bits of noise every once in a while. Some of  us just use it more than others.

Catherinna:  Anything you would like to add?

Scott:  Listen closely... noise is everywhere. 

I certainly have gained alot of respect for the genre and what's behind NOISE, since I received this completed interview from Scott.  I think his closing words are in a sense the best way to end this review.

"Listen closely... noise is everywhere!"