‘Hypno drugnoise’ with Experimental Audio Research (aka Sonic Boom of Spaceman 3) & Bowery Electric at Speak In Tongues, 1996


This Speak In Tongues show was booked by resident soundman and scary noise enthusiast Ralph Haussmann, I believe. Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 aka Spectrum) was performing solo as E.A.R. or Experimental Audio Research this night. Why does one performer have to have so many alter egos? Don’t answer—rhetorical question.

FYI I am selling an absolutely STUNNING somewhat-contemporaneous, twice-played 10″ picture disc by Sonic Boom in the shop right now!

There must be more photos. I remember there were a LOT of photographers clicking away at this one. I printed one shot (see below). Afterward I lost the negatives. Ugh.

Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 and Spectrum) performs as E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research) at Speak In Tongues in Cleveland, Ohio on July 19, 1996. Photo: Sean Carnage, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

Here’s the great writer/musician Michael Stutz‘s appraisal of this night’s show, from the August 1996 U.S. Rocker:

US Rocker cover Steve RaskinA quiet introduction was given by Mr. Sonic Boom when one of his current bands—Experimental Audio Research—took the stage. Then, the noise began. Powered by cymbals, bass, two analog key-boards and a theremin, E.A.R. put on a thrilling show of hypno drugnoise. Sound waves lapped across the dimly lit room, steadily rising, until the bleating noise completely covered us. You’d hear that humming sensation caused when two or more sound waves of slightly different frequencies mingle; these became the focus of the piece. Sonic (ex-Spacemen 3, now of E.A.R. and Spectrum) controlled the synths. Sonic hunched over this equipment and went back and forth from synth to synth for most of the show, twiddiing knobs and occasionally operating the theremin. The sound was relentless.

Bowery Electric warmed up. This is a comparison kind of band. I initially thought of Ride—nice, pure shoegazing—but then a stronger com-parison came out: My Bloody Valentine. The steady rain of hyper-processed guitar in front with vocals put back who knows where had MBV written all over it. Several times I thought they were doing covers from the Loveless album, and I found myself wondering if that wasn’t in fact Kevin Shields on guitar.

Unfortunately, they got worse the longer they played. The volume was so painfully loud that many people ran outside to wait for E.A.R. With proper earplugs the vibrations must have been great, but I couldn’t imagine how the non-protected people inside could take it.

Download this review & more

I actually found an AMAZING recording from two nights later in Pittsburgh that features Mr. Boom, Bowery Electric and Windy & Carl. [Q: Were Windy & Carl on this bill too, but perhaps us U.S. Rocker folks showed up late?]

Check out the Pittsburgh perfomance at Synod Hall:

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