POISON//ANTIDOTE: SISTER IODINE IN BERLIN @ URBAN SPREE (2016 LIVE REVIEW)
(Our guest writer Ani Samperi is a music journalist based out of Berlin. Here, she dives into ravenous pits of noise in an attempt to map out the layers of controlled chaos.)
French experimental noise rock band Sister Iodine, formed by Lionel Fernandez, Erik Minkkinen, and Nicolas Mazet in 1992, is an assault on the rational mind that simultaneously evokes feelings and images of health and sickness. Scratching itself out of a translucent skin defining the bounds between raw atonal no-wave and scathing noise music, it is a spectral beast that quietly dominates its audience with terminally latent portents of imminent madness.
The black-washed walls of Urban Spree’s main showroom were [dis]graced with their presence on Saturday, May 14th. Juxtaposing prenatal red lighting interrupted by white flashes of light, the live experience is a familiar, primordial feeling laced with guttural screams, at once indicating a clawing desperation to remain inside the visceral bounds of embryonic safety vs. the harrowing inevitability of pain and confusion that comes from exposure.
It is an exercise in taking confusion into focus and making it sharp with the here and now, making it friendly, converting it into a simply physical experience. Signs and symptoms that the medicine is being delivered properly, intravenously: upon walking into a certain point in the room, specifically somewhere in the front-right-middle of the room, the physical convergence of sounds from all amplifiers causes an uncanny sensation of being able to feel the texture of one’s own guts from the inside. And yet, a pleasant surprise: the absence of vomit, or any secondary excretions for that matter. A view up close, for intimacy… The eyes of the vocalist: blank with a thousand-mile stare reminiscent of Ian Curtis, yet facing mostly away from the audience, holding just out of view the place where he ends and the embodiment of pixelated chaos takes possession.
Currently on tour promoting Blame, their 5th studio release album, Sister Iodine comes with a few warning labels: may cause nausea, amnesia, and repetitive rocking bordering on the ritualistic.