In concert, Nick Ciontea’s projections run across the four figures of CAVE as a network of neon veins and tributaries that — from farther back in the room — blossom into a tiered spectrogram hanging above the stage on all sides. Reactive analog video synthesis and vector mapping align the band’s recursive psych-/kraut-/rawwwwk-grooves to these jittering visuals, resulting in set-long trajectories of synchronized A/V evolution. As the Chicago-based shredders interlock elemental guitar-bass-organ-drum building blocks in workouts of no-frills repetition, Ciontea (under his Brownshoesonly moniker) provides layers of complexity and abstraction to both complement and complicate the band’s instrumental discipline.
On your screen here, Ciontea’s video for “Shikaakwa” sets its green lines against a vacuum devoid of all the concentrating sweaty onstage dudes, amps, swaying sweaty crowd-humans, keyboard stands, drums, and monitors attendant to the concert experience. Watch vector fingers skittering over vector strings and keys; vector heads of band members evolving out of the horizon and hanging out to spin for a minute; vector drums bouncing under the weight of vector pounding; the whole thing splintering into pure blip-fuzz during deeper moments: all rhythmically dialed to that sweet 7/8 stomp. When the flute hits, accept that you’re locked in and must now consider the possibility of never closing the YouTube tab.
Find “Shikaakwa” in the middle of Side B on CAVE’s forthcoming album Threace, due October 15 on Drag City. Find CAVE in all their glory on a stage before your eyes at one or more of their 40-plus upcoming tour dates.