When: Fri., Sept. 25, 6 p.m. 2015
As Author & Punisher, San Diego-based engineer Tristan Shone plays numb, grinding industrial doom with a menagerie of electromechanical devices whose mass and inertia help give his music the ponderous, punishing weight and colossal bulk of open-pit mining equipment. He creates the huge crashes and detonations of his songs’ core beats with a track-mounted horizontal piston anchored to a coiling-and-uncoiling chain that looks like a tank tread; he slams it back and forth, his hand on a pistol grip whose buttons activate different sounds. Shone’s toothy drones and intestine-addling blast waves of bass—which slide and swoop, leaping in pitch like a goosed motorcycle engine or diving like a lawnmower biting into a rough patch—are controlled by twin motorized throttle levers that push back against him, as well as by a polished 300-pound metal disc that he spins up and down by hand. He subjects his voice to a variety of machined aluminum masks, a network of four contact mikes strapped to his trachea, and a sculptural grid of eight small microphones all on distinct channels. The latest Author & Punisher album, Melk en Honing (Housecore), is distinguished by Shone’s best vocal performance to date, but among its echoing roars, metallic shrieks, and cloudy choruses, the most effective element is his vastly improved clean singing. Strong and clear but lonely and almost mournful, it dovetails with lyrics that often seem to grieve for our species from the distance of a postapocalyptic future—reminding us that we’re listening to a solitary human who’s both piloting and trapped inside several hundred pounds of infernal machinery.
Price: $46 per day, $85 two-day pass