Live Music Review //
Silk Factory / Xena Glas / Baron Von Elsa / Instant Messenger
April 28th, 2023
@ Never Ending Books, New Haven CT

Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

This was the fifth edition of FiFac's House at Never Ending Books and every volume seems to bring on a new range of musicians who are all equally talented yet span different genres.   If you paid close enough attention during this show, you would've heard the loudness of Instant Messenger, brought on by a guitar and other sounds.   Everything got less loud but still remained fairly loud with the guitar of Baron Von Elsa, before the quieter guitar of Xena Glas.  It all really calmed down with Silk Factory, so the way the sounds all connected and somehow stripped down during the show was impressive.

Instant Messenger was on first and I must say that as someone who has listened to a lot of cassettes and not gone to a lot of live performances, if you played me an Instant Messenger cassette and it sounded like this set I would assume it was more than one person.   Going back and forth between a computer and guitar, and other various instruments, set the tone that Instant Messenger was doing the work of multiple musicians all at once.  

And you never really think about how you can make a song and record one part at a time, but then have to do all the various layers yourself at once when performing live.   This was noise at its finest and at times it got really loud- with the distortion just blasting through in a wave- and it just felt like it was overtaking the entire room.  Complex sounds and just that overall feeling of unpredictability made this set something everyone should've experienced.  

Baron Von Elsa was up second and performed an intense set filled with noise that was sometimes made by guitar, sometimes other sounds and just overall also had vocals which were both live and then looping.  I will admit that as a child I was most afraid of the movie "The Wizard of Oz", with the wicked witch and how she was presented with the visuals and music.  The sounds of Baron Von Elsa reminded me of that, with the line "You look good enough to eat" coming through as well.

There's something to be said for that drama from earlier times when movies had villains who were actually scary, and in a lot of ways those movies were aimed towards children because I think of "The Wizard of Oz" obviously but also older Disney animated films such as "Snow White" or "Cinderella".  When I was a child and "The Black Cauldron" came out, I specifically remember my parents saying I was too young to go see it in theaters with other kids because it was just too scary looking.

And the entirety of the music by Baron Von Elsa isn't scary, but it just has that level of suspense that reminds me of the score to a film from a forgotten time.   Much like the movie characters themselves can be complex, there is also a lot of beauty to be found in this music because even though something can feel haunted or brash, it still can have that layer of melody behind it and begin to take you in and almost calm you.

Xena Glas was up third and as Instant Messenger had an electric guitar and Baron Von Elsa had an acoustic guitar, Xena Glas also had an acoustic guitar.  We were told a story before this set started of how Xena Glas used an AI chat to create a story about an alien who crash landed on Earth.  The AI script that created this story had the alien crash and ultimately die.  So those generated words were being spoken through a computer as Xena Glas played along with an acoustic guitar.

This whole concept is something that I'd not heard of before but found fascinating.  The computer generated voice read through the words, but then later they came back in pieces as well.  I'm not sure if anyone else out there is creating music in this manner, but Xena Glas is definitely talented when it comes to playing the guitar and every other sound that came out in this set.  Eventually, I expect a lot more musicians and artists to be doing similar things, but since this was my first time with it all I'm always going to attribute it back now to Xena Glas.

Silk Factory closed out the show and though there are two people they were the least loud and were stripped down to ambient electronics and soundscapes.   The duo of FiFac and Secondhand Silk created Silk Factory and their sound together really was appropriate for the end of the show because it felt like we were being soothed into this hypnotic trance and then at the end were going to be shot into space.  Not from Earth into space, but as if you were in a spaceship already in space and just left out in the nothingness.

I must also note that this entire show was enhanced by the visual effects of Milk Mandarin and I just feel like whenever you can have visuals that are fitting with the music it can make the whole experience that much more trippy.   The music itself was right on for this whole show, but in many ways even things such as my pictures wouldn't be what they were without those images in the background and that just helped make this whole night even more special.  

FiFac's House can be found on Instagram here :::

Instant Messenger can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Baron Von Elsa can be found on Instagram here :::

Xena Glas can be found on Bandcamp here :::

FiFac can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Secondhand Silk can be found on Instagram here :::

Milk Mandarin can be found on Instagram here :::


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