Me loves not

Roots of Orchis Moxie’s, Sat., July 24

Orchis is a genus of orchids distinguished by its testicle-like roots. Roots of Orchis, a band from San Diego—judging by its recent performance at Moxie’s—is in a category of live band distinguished by its ability to make something boring interesting to look at.

Think of a nature show on the Discovery Channel, in which a videotaped plant’s growth is played back in super-fast motion. You see the root expand and the stem’s growth and eventually a flower’s blossoming, as a process not normally visible to the naked eye provides insight into what is normally a static experience.

The instruments Roots of Orchis used were cool to look at in their static state: analog synths like the Rogue Moog and Roland MC505, a turntable, loop station, sampler, a left-handed Gibson SG (played upside-down and right-handed), drums and a couple of electric basses played in tandem. Listening to the two band members play the instruments, however, was less enjoyable than just watching them.

Watching two guys criss-crossing one another’s arms, sliding faders and adjusting pots, held my attention more than the sounds they created (shouldn’t it be the other way around?). My attention span only allows for only so much by way of repetitive beats and grooves.

I dug some of the dissonant harmonizing the two basses created, and the last song, “Anywhere you Flee,” off the new double-CD Crooked Ceilings, coiled up the loose ramblings momentarily, changing up the dynamics and finishing the night with a welcome display of focused noise.