Volcano the Bear, founded in Leicester in 1995, combines improvisation and playful experimentation with a conception of music that borders on the anthropological. Their extensive knowledge of the traditions of both experimental and folk music, combined with their other influences, makes the band formed by Clarence Manuelo, Aaron Moore, Nick Motti and Daniel Padden a difficult one to categorise. Although Volcano the Bear has been mentioned in connection with bands such as Vibracathedral Orchestra, Jackie-O Motherfucker and No-Neck Blues Band, VTB differs from the aforementioned as it consciously avoids the trance-inducing pulse in its music. Rather than trying to reach a trance through repetition they set up a ritual space where a large number of instruments associate freely. Absurd humour and eclectic ways of producing sounds are characteristic of VTB’s live performances, which are largely built on improvisation. Familiar themes can be introduced as milestones on a journey towards a result, which remains unknown. The band records everything they play, and uses these recordings as raw material for their albums. For Volcano the Bear, post-processing is part of composing; their records are reminiscent of how This Heat and Faust used collage methods in rock music. On their latest record, a double CD entitled Classic Erasmus Fusion (Beta-lactam Ring, 2006) the sounds of woodwinds, finger pianos and electronic sources entangle with those of helicopters and the rain. The surprise element of their performances is further emphasised by the fact that their records — combinations of disciplined studio work and recorded improvisation — often sound nothing like the music played by the band on stage. Volcano the Bear, however, promise to be something the audience will not easily forget.
Avanto/Potlatch Club in Gloria on Saturday, 17 November from 9 pm to 3 am
Volcano the Bear