HAU kicked off a two day conference on D.I.Y strategies for making music, Dancing With Myself, Musik, Geld und Gemeinschaft Nach Der Digitalisierung, with a party in the bar DJ’d by the inimitable Eric D. Before which the, not so young, marble giants returned to Berlin for the first time in 30 odd years and played a one drumstick set of abruptly ending songs.
The Giants were preceded to the stage by David Grubbs who I caught somewhere between the Carter family and attempting to synthesise Jacques Attali’s lecture, Zur Politischen Ökonomie Der Musik, into a guitar solo. Grubbs was a founder member of Squirrel Bait, Bastro and Gastr del Sol, the latter a collaboration with Jim O’Rourke. Members of the audience were staring transfixed at his shiny gold Les Paul.
Being of a somewhat different theoretical bent, the art of ending is something which the marble giants excelled in. Every song was succinct. Limitations became structure. After one album, Colossal Youth, they just disappeared. Having eliminated everything unnecessary, they eliminated themselves.
Their sound, a longer manifesto than the Desperate Bicycles but still an impossibly short one, infected the Monochrome Set and a dozen other post punk D.I.Y funkateers. Applying a punk abhorrence of virtuosity to more varied genre’s, it almost bordered on a reducto ad absurdum.
As the somewhat bemused author of Courtney Love’s, hit Credit in the Straight World, the guitarist, Stuart Moxham rubbed his hands and thanked her for money in the bank. The singer, Alison Statton laughed and thanked the audience, saying how they had always hoped to come back to Berlin. Somewhere the drummer lost time and the song ended.
There was a sense of a thirty year old footnote, suddenly – briefly enlarged. Somewhere between charming and underwhelming. The photographers steadying their lenses did not seem to phase the Giants despite their long hiatus. Dorf’s undercover reporter said that when he later asked Stuart Moxham why they had only recorded the one album, he replied ‘the project had ended’.