I had never seen a set-up quite like it. A beautiful mess of colorful wires strung up and over the electronic equipment. Sure, I have seen set-ups in the past, but they were tame in comparison. This one demanded curiosity.
A Box in the Sea, a one-man ambient electronic group, headlined Columbia City’s Royal Room last Thursday evening (July 31). This came as a little surprise since A Box in the Sea had never played live before. And somehow, he found himself in pole position. No pressure.
I decided to enjoy tonight’s performance with a cannabis-infused lozenge known as: Zootrocks, by producer DB3. Each lozenge contains approximately 10mg of THC. I took half, which was enough to mellow me, and enjoyed a cocktail. You can read our past ZootRock review here.
Once the musician was ready and the audience quieted, the first sounds lifted off of the stage. It was a slow build up.
Feedback pinged, and sound volume thresholds were tested. The intro sounded a little shaky. I couldn’t exactly tell if everything was intentional or not, or if nerves were getting the best of this first time act. I thought maybe this night would be a struggle. Maybe even a long one.
But my natural instinct to critique everything, even a musicians very first performance especially after being catapulted to headlining status, quickly disappeared around the two minute mark. I was lost in sound. Sifting and turning, blending and bouncing, comparing and contrasting. The thick, bold layers of sound, you could almost see. You could almost touch.
A Box in the Sea played about 7 pieces. Each piece stood out on it’s own, with it’s own personality and character. That’s a gauge I like to use when reviewing performances: does the act have more than a couple pieces that are different enough, yet similar as a whole?
Something interesting. Admist the chaoctic wirings and maze of electronic equipment, A Box in the Sea picked a couple of unlikely instruments. A piece of tin foil and and waved it ever so slightly in front of the mic to create a dominant crisp sound effect. Then, the musician picked up a chrome gas lighter and flicked the lid shut. Both sounds looped, weaving around the existing music.
There were some hiccups which is expected with anyone’s very first performance. Overwhelming feedback distracted from the flow at times, and a couple spots were a bit sharp and loud for the ears. Of course, I was standing underneath a looming monitor. Still, just a tad loud.
But, even the most obvious inconsistencies couldn’t take away from a phenomenal set and a pleasant surprise. This isn’t a fly-by-night act. A Box in the Sea is something really special.
Check out an excerpt of the live performance:
Check out A Box in the Sea on Soundcloud:
Check out A Box in the Sea in the studio: