SF Weekly Review: Quake

Adventurers who swim with sharks in the turbulent waters off Stinson Beach and then catch The Deep Blue Sea at the local multiplex are the same freaks you'll likely find at this rare concert appearance by veteran noise-sculptors Chris Cutler and Thomas Dimuzio. The show celebrates the CD release of Quake (issued on ReR Megacorp), a strangely invigorating disaster soundtrack, whose joke will not be lost on fault-line audiences here in the Bay Area.

Recorded at East Coast performances earlier this year, the sounds have been organized as an 18-part, two-section suite - "When Cracks Appear" and "Gravity Waves" - using samplers, tape loops and processors (Dimuzio) and drums, metallic percussion and "low-grade electronics" (Cutler). The music produces an adrenaline rush that evokes thoughts of surfing with great whites or surviving the latest megatemblor: Its haunting vibrations set off convulsive bursts in the synapses.

But Cutler and Dimuzio are highly efficient, even sympathetic, experimentalist-composers. They don't pummel listeners with relentless ear-bursting drama or self-indulgent tirades in the upper painful register, like too many noise craftsmen. That's not to say that they're never rambunctious or loud - they are - but they know how to balance the machine-generated roar with deep rhythmic pulsations and subterranean rumbles that somehow seem a comfort after the industrial hammer crashes down. And it's these calculated aftershocks, as it were, that sustain the absurd thrill of the ride. —Sam Prestianni