Fake Jazz Review: Upcoming Events

The cover of this disc is one of the best I've seen all year; a cadre of riot police, decked out and ready for action underneath an electronic sign, presumably for a public gathering space of some sort, that reads simply "Upcoming Events." Given this imagery and the typical tenor of No Fun's caustic catalog, one might expect something a bit more destructive, but Upcoming Events's fifty-seven minutes are far too wide-ranging to be pinned down within a single means of attack or character of sound. Recorded at a number of live dates in 2004, Upcoming Events pairs Illusion of Safety founder and longtime noisemaker Dan Burke with San Francisco's Thomas Dimuzio, only slightly less of a veteran, having released cassette in 1988. The disc is compiled from performances over a three-day period, its fifteen tracks covering a great deal of ground, from the icy atmospherics of "In God We Trust" to the sparse glitch of "Transmission." Burke and Dimuzio are inclined, it seems, towards the ambient, and while Upcoming Events has its share of sharp edges and grit, there's a hum, drone, or tone at the heart of nearly every track. Cloudy static often drifts in the background, setting the tone for the incredibly textural manipulations that tend to come to the fore. The contributions of the duo mesh with the ease usually produced by years of collaboration, and while distinct voices are obvious, that they're being improvised simultaneously by twoseparate musicians is far less so. So while things aren't as "eventful" as those chipper chaps on the cover might suggest, Upcoming Events feeds chaos in ways more subversive than an all-out riot of sound. Identifiable vocal snippets in "Leave Here Right Now" are some of the few points of context in an otherwise alien confluence of sound sources, and its this unfamiliar feel that makes for the disc's most compelling arc. Burke and Dimuzio's digital soundsmithing doesn't often hit the listener like a club to the head, but its disorienting effects tend to sneak up on the listener, and pack a punch all its own.