by Simon Reynolds
No doubt about it, the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage is an amazing space. As a music venue, though, this gloomy maze of looming, steep-sided chambers leaves a lot to be desired: Performers tend to drown in a quagmire of reflected sound. On June 28, the final installment of Creative Time's annual series of avant-electronica events (a 10th birthday bash for Frankfurt's Force Inc and its sister label, Mille Plateaux) saw some groups faring better with the acoustics than others. Panacea's 180-b.p.m. Gothkore bombast suited the medieval ambience, but Kid606's set was too busy and event-crammed (Boredoms do IDM) to thrive in this catacomb. SND suffered from the opposite syndrome: Too sparse even for the Anchorage, they sounded like an ailing metronome trapped in an echo chamber.
Luckily, Porter Ricks fit the space like a glove. Thomas Köner and Andy Mellweg first came to acclaim with their late-'90s releases on Chain Reaction, Berlin's "heroin house" label. Combining Köner's texturology (he's an avant-garde composer renowned for bleak arctic dronescapes) with Mellweg's grasp of house's pump-and-pound rhythm, Porter Ricks make formlessness funky.
But that's no preparation for how hard they rocked tonight: Imagine Eno's On Land meets the Stooges. Porter Ricks use a guitar processor on all their synth sounds, which helps explains the added grit in their grind. Early in the set, the songs felt like spelunking through spongy-walled caverns flushed with foamy water: total body-massage. But as the beat got steadily more bangin' and the texture-riffs flared fierce like magnesium, Porter Ricks hit a sublime pitch midway between warm pulse and cold rush: a sound as visceral as hardcore, as sensuous as deep house, as abstract as glitch. The combination of this glorious roar and the Anchorage's architecture was like being teleported through time-space to Berlin's legendary early-'90s club E-Werk, a disused power plant. Finally, the Anchorage became the rave temple it has always promised to be