Support the Free Press.
Facts matter. Truth matters. Journalism matters.
Salt Lake City Weekly has been Utah's source of independent news and in-depth journalism since 1984.
Donate today to ensure the legacy continues.




Curtis Jensen is on the road with Utah's Eagle Twin and will be reporting his experiences on this blog for your enjoyment. Enjoy.


Recent Metal consistently toes a line laid out by its histories' and genres' significations. Closed systems of significations, most usually, or nearly closed with only cracks at its kick plates and jambs through which may (or may not) flicker the efforts of the music's innovators, in cohorts or as individuals.

A creative act is not the singular fulcrum for upturning a closed system; ideology has never been disrupted solely through painting a bowl of fruit. Or by puking out noise/melody on a Moog or through a Big Muff or with Pro Tools or out of an electrified mouth harp or by the deployment of any of the countless other material means available to the individual in this info-democratic period, including literary / theoretical / cultural devices such as repetition, time expansion, metaphor, knock knock jokes, etc. Instruments and devices are complimentary to an action, they may to different degrees be useful in the carrying out of a certain intention, even critical, nevertheless instruments are supportive components to any particular act. On July 5, 2009 at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, the primary instruments are mostly, well, instruments, plus improvisation.

Eagle Twin can improvise. Improvisation is not determined simply by making shit up while one is on a stage. Improvisation requires that its participants' relations in the live setting bare the traits of communicative interchange, without which improvisation does not exist in its fullest, most substantive forms. Negotiation between the players is possible and necessary, happens frequently and in a sustained and building fashion, and this mirrors the negotiations of individuals one with another, one with each other, one with one's self, one with the natural world, one with the caddisflies smacking the street lamps of Dinkytown on a Sunday night, and so on.

Eagle Twin, on July 5, 2009, at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis seized upon the core of such dialectic negotiations- one with another; together with the sign systems of Metal, other Musics, Language et al., and on out into the night in all directions at once. This fertile position between the poles of improvisation mirrors the malleable mid-belly of our negotiations (one with another, one with each other, one with one's self, one with ruling ideology, one with the world, one with the plume of smoke billowing up from the mini-van in flames at the side of the highway, and so on), and was summarily contracted, embellished, inverted, pummeled, polished by Eagle Twin last night by means of the primary device of improvisation. The negotiations on stage began, were built, were resolved, and then at the shouts and calls of the present hundreds of listener / receivers, were struck up again, built further, and laid out to be examined by all those present, manifested in the hearty dude-embrace by Gentry Densley of Tyler Smith to close the set.

Sunn O))) sees all of this. Sunn O))) takes to the stage, and in doing so takes up the still warm material instruments and devices of the Eagle Twin set- speaker magnets, vacuum tubes, the charged air, the invigorated symbol-fields of Metal- branding irons still hot in the fire of Eagle Twin's four song forge. Sunn O)))'s set is animated, tense, live, and outros with Greg Anderson and shortly thereafter Stephen O'Malley hanging their respective instruments by headstock from the twin art-deco chandeliers strung from the high ceilings of the Varsity Theater's expansive show hall.

Back to the second paragraph- a creative act is not the singular fulcrum for upturning a closed system. Improvisation is not some sort of saving act. A past question rephrased: if Metal is a spectacle of excess composed of closed or essentially closed systems of significations, a multiple systemed spectacle of excess which can be (and was on July 5, 2009 by Eagle Twin, and then Sunn O))) ) manipulated through the primary instrument of improvisation, then what is the moral concept that such improvisers set out, consciously or unconsciously, to purvey?

Admittedly, I've got my fingers crossed for total ideological restructuring.