Things Learned At: Elevate by Tristan Bath ,

Things Learned At: Elevate by Tristan Bath , 4.11.2014

(…) Several other Austrian acts made a huge impact at the festival, including Broken.Heart.Collector up in the cold dusty space of the Dungeon, and ‘live techno’ trio Elektro Guzzi, who headlined the main stage on the opening night. The Dungeon is christened by the punctuation-abusing Austrian metal duo [[[Altar:Thron]]], who combine a Godflesh- and Rapeman-like approach to throbbing harsh metal assisted by a meticulously-programmed drum machine along with strange operatic vocal stylings. Later, at the front Vienna-based quintet Broken.Heart.Collector, Slovenian born singer Maja Osojnik sings and performs with the bassy intensity of a Carla Bozulich, sing-speaking her way through the group’s disjointed song structures and improvisations. The band are all phenomenal musicians, with a bassist, guitarist, bass clarinetist and utterly brilliant drummer in the form of Dieter Kern (who has recorded with Austrian resident, Mats Gustafsson). Kern kicks off the set with some manic freeform flailing all over his drum kit, while his bandmates rumble to life on all sides, eventually chanting and humming a mournful theme called ‘Eckig’ (from their great self-titled debut album). They break back down to sparse atmospheric free improvisation, moving to drones as Osojnik’s breathy tenor voice eventually starts to croon, and then suddenly kicking into full swing through a mutant rock song punctuated with alien-sounding contra-alto blasts ala Red-era King Crimson. A stonking great set of colourful music unfolds, with bass clarinet blasts, bass guitars whacked with drum sticks, guitars scraped with biros and a whole heap of high-energy drum clatter from Kern. It’s an intensely physical performance throughout. They’re something of a rarity, as Broken.Heart.Collector manage to navigate us through a rich series of non-sequiturs, kaleidoscopically invoking central European folk tropes and freeform rock music all at once – without seeming the slightest bit pretentious. (…)