The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

99° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    The Flycatcher got its foundations rocked Monday night by four experimental electronic performers

    Nick Smallwood
    Geoff Saba, Recording Engineer/Producer at Itinerant Home Recordings performs alongside John Melillo,  of the band, Algea and Tenticals, at the Flycatcher, on September 27 in Tucson, Ariz. The concert featured local Tucson musicians and was free to anyone over the age of 21.

    Tucson is an illusive place, filled with diverse cultures and histories that many may allude to but few have come to know very well. When it comes to the music scene here, you can easily stumble upon genres and interests influenced from places and people far and wide.

    Monday night at The Flycatcher, Outsider Industries, a promoter of underground artists, musicians, writers and filmmakers in abstract, surreal and dark genres, brought four experimental electronic performers to shake the foundations. Like, literally shake them.

    “Noise music” serves as the generic term that refers to this music monsoon, with tones stacked, altered, played back and stacked some more in a way that makes the listener do some work.

    RELATED: Local band Mute Swan is ready to take the music world by storm

    One of the performers, Algae & Tentacles, is a mostly solo act of John Melillo, though he was joined last night by long-time collaborator Geoff Saba. Melillo is a UA professor in the English Department teaching poetry and music, passions which to him cannot be separated.

    Meilillo’s stage name comes from a poem by Ezra Pound, a well-known and heavily influential proponent of modernism. Algae and Tentacles has been around for about six years now, and last year released its first album.

    At performances like this, the on-stage improvisation makes it feel like one great movement. There are not distinguishable songs at all—sometimes Algae & Tentacles performs with more vocals and apprehensible lyrics, like on the produced album and sometimes it is joined by people like producer Geoff Saba, on guitar.

    “Someone told me they liked how it changed in the middle,” Saba said. “And I’m like, uh, my looper broke so I just had to get more crazy to create a comparable effect. No one knew.”

    Saba believes anyone can come from any genre of music to the realm of experimental electronic, and the improvisational nature is definitely to thank for that. When Algae & Tentacles’ set began, it would’ve been justified to think that the first ten minutes was simply a distorted soundcheck if you had not been to a performance of this such before.

    Another performer of the night, Zachary Reid, expressed his frustration with the beginning of his sets, feeling that there is never enough time to truly ease the audience in to the world of his trance but to also spend enough time at the apex. Reid’s set contained more rolling vibrations, feeling like the sound became a train rumbling over the audience.

    RELATED: Concert preview: Fresh surf-rock tunes at Flycatcher

    While some artists prefer to be around this alternative, dark electronic vibe most of the time, it is alternative and sounds a lot like what you would have on say, your spooky soundtrack for a black and orange-themed Halloween party. However, it is a music culture that finds its way to Tucson quite often and deserves its recognition.

    “Sometimes I want to be poppy and soulful,” Melillo said. “But then I go right back to, no—I hate all that. But really, it’s about just not ever stopping the inquisitive nature of your creative process.”

    Most music fans have no idea about this sub-genre, but perhaps more people should. After all, college is the time for experimentation, and music is no exception to that. 

    Follow Gretchyn Kaylor on Twitter.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search