Without actually knowing the band it’s hard to say if Paik nicked its moniker from Fluxus member, Cage/Stockhausen student and father of video art Nam June Paik, who casts a long shadow by any reckoning upon those who seek liberation through the interface of technology and art. Coincidental or not regarding the choice of name, however, for these Detroit-area instrumentalists there’s an experimental musical agenda afoot that calls for the challenging and disrupting of perceptual audio-visual expectations. In laymen’s terms: They kick it out like motherfuckers and have a light show that’d singe the nose hairs of veterans from the Fillmore days. The dozen compositions here all tend toward a clanging, droning, orchestral grandiosity, but over and over they erupt into volcanic upheavals, unleashing massive flows of sonic lava that spews forth and envelops all in its path. There are precedents, of course, including My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, the Melvins and Mogwai, but Paik has located the precise portal that allows both band and listener to slip inside a vertiginously erected wall of surround sound.
The trio, together since ’97 and with two prior full-lengths, has some kinship to Michigan’s mid ’90s space-rock scene (Windy and Carl, Asha Vida). Yet with each release the band has shed a layer of clothing; what was once psychedelic, shoegazey and atmospheric is now cinematically wide-screen and deliberately assaultive. Whether on a sensory-liberation mission or just indulging a yen to rawk, Paik’s a force to be reckoned with.
E-mail Fred Mills at [email protected].