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Culture Reviews
The Berg Sans Nipple
Helikon Opera 
Okay, confession time. I know that you, my faithful readers, expect a certain level of integrity from these pages and that without that being met, the sacred and firm link between writer and reader would be shattered. Let’s face it: you come to me for the straight scoop as a man of letters, a man of calm, impartial and sober wisdom and it is upon just this trust and regard that your decisions on which show to have seen last weekend, or what obscure band’s name to drop at the office this week to impress your friends are based. And I, terrestrial and weak, have let you down. Okay, here goes: On Saturday night, at Club Aktovy Zal while on an assignment, I drank a beer (or two, and a tiny bit of vodka) before the show. And do you know what happened? What the result was of this only too human folly? My just reward for thrusting too close to the sun my waxen wings? The Berg Sans Nipple rocked my world. Oh the humanity. If this happens every time I drink I may just end up an alcoholic.

Comprised of multi-instrumentalist Shane Aspegren – credited on the band’s website as playing “drum set, percussion, melodica, broken Traynor, chimes, vibes, voice, words, recordings, keyboards, pedals, etc. – and fellow multi-instrumentalist Lori Sean Berg – “Wurlitzer, bass Rhodes, Roland 101, piano, percussion, grand harmonium, trumpet, voice…” okay, you get the idea – The Berg Sans Nipple create sounds fiercer than a momma bear protecting her cubs. Aspegren’s thunderous drumming was born in Omaha, Nebraska whilst running with boy wonder Conor Obherst, while Berg’s quixotic keyboarding is a product of the narrow alleys of his native Paris, France. The sounds that ensue could hardly be anything but the product of an international team, as one struggles to find any area of the Indie-music globe they haven’t mined for their unique sound. The drums reek of the ass-shaking beats of Endtroducing-era DJ Shadow. The assortment of obscure keyboards feel an awful lot like Granddaddy. I even thought I felt a little Blonde Redhead in there as I, like everyone else at the club, shook and shimmied into a sweaty lather.

The show – the inaugural party at Maxim Silva-Vega’s new addition to hipster staple Blow-Up: “Aktoviy Zal,” and the bands second time in Moscow after their 2004 performance at Silva-Vega’s first Avant Festival – lasted only about an hour, including an encore made requisite by the cheering fans. This was probably a good thing: any more and we all may just have collapsed. As for Berg and Aspegren, from the looks they were shooting each other across the piles of knobs and keys, looks I’ve seen before from duos at the top of their form, they might have been able to go on forever.

Now this report may be biased; a product not of the music but of the evil Devil’s-drink I’d imbibed earlier in the evening. Judging from the looks of my exhausted yet elated peers in the photos I snapped with my sub-mega pixel camera-phone however, I feel confident that what I’ve related is in fact what transpired. I hope that you can find it in your hearts to trust my humble opinion, because anyone not listening to this band’s unique brand of Indie-Electronica is truly missing out.

24.09.06
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