Purity Ring at Soda Bar 8/31/11

"Binary" code. (Dan Zuzuárregui/treeswingers)

San Diego isn’t all just whale jails and comic book conventions.  There’s scattered specks of live music gold if you know where to look.  For instance, on a grey forgotten block in Normal Heights exists a sneaky little tavern with a split personality known as Soda Bar.  This gloomy beer cave doubles as a musical jewel box that’s consistently filled with experimental sounds, artists on the rise and countless rowdy dance floors.  On Wednesday night, Purity Ring was added to the carefully curated collection.

Megan James and Corin Roddick stopped by to rattle some souls with their ethereal noise on their pre-FYF stop in San Diego.  Lucky ears anxiously awaited as the Canadian duo adorned the stage in colorful drapery.  James set up a massive bass drum on stilts while Roddick plugged in his MPC and placed an odd arrangement of copper pipes–a DIY creation dubbed “The Binary” according to the band–next to the Akai triggers.  The room suddenly went dark (darker than usual).  The large drum and the bulbous ends of the copper tree lit up with a flickering glow as if the crowd’s anticipatory cheers woke up the family of fire flies that lived inside of them.

Most of the sounds coming off of the stage were unfamiliar considering the pair has released only three original tracks to date.  The first song was an unknown slow lingering jam.  James infused the mic with modulated ghostly melodies.  Roddick provided a beautiful yet ominous bass-laden (almost Clams Casino informed) track to complement the otherworldly vocals.   The base module created sounds and the copper branches of The Binary were struck with padded drum sticks to issue the pitch.  The loop triggers on the MPC seemed to converse with James’s echoey voice sequencing.

“Belispeak” and “Lofticries” poured from the speakers back to back and elicited deep head nods and slow body rolls from the room.  Their onstage presence is mesmerizing.  It all seemed like a ritual for conjuring spirits to groove and undulate with the crowd.

The set spanned seven tracks, four of which are unreleased.  Both Roddick and James were tight-lipped regarding the titles to these mystery tunes, but they did indicate that they were working on a full LP with a possible March 2012 release.

Purity Ring- Belispeak (download)

Purity Ring- Lofticries (download)

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