The Nasty Art of Power Electronics (Boston Phoenix, 11.5.09)

Posted on December 14, 2009


Article on the very challenging genre of music known for decades as “power electronics,” in anticipation of a huge festival in Boston and seedy pubs and tranny bars like O’Briens and Jacques Cabaret.

Inside the dusty corner room of a dungeon-like warehouse basement, Karl Giesing dumps out a bag full of pedals, samplers, grimy cables, and homemade synth boxes. Their functionality seems questionable. Giesing, clad in black leather jacket, scratches his goatee, and it starts to come back to him.

“Shane Broderick did a backflip into my gear at the end of my last set. I’m not sure if any of it’s going to work.” Turns out everything’s fine when he plugs in — you can tell from the awful, tortured-livestock sounds suddenly bleating from his speakers. Crisis averted!

Performing as Karlheinz, Giesing plays a kind of music called power electronics, a well-worn format in experimental circles hated by plenty for its vicious noise, violent shows, and creepy lyrical content obsessed with murder, fascism, rape, and worse. There are no beats, no melodies; there’s nothing resembling a sing-along chorus. It’s Hell’s Angels without the bikes, horrorcore without the fans. “This is a very anti-social type of music.”

Whole article at the Boston Phoenix here.