Her Space Holiday

Where do punk rockers go to die? Or at least to mellow? If the paths of more than a handful of young guys who used to thrash about with guitars and provocative haircuts are any indication, the answer is their inner hard drives.

Marc Bianchi, the human behind the computer-love project Her Space Holiday, might well be their ringleader. As a member of a series of seminal California-based bands in the early '90s (including the remarkable Mohinder, whose discography was reissued last year by influential San Diego indie GSL) Bianchi helped to define the carefully chaotic noise that was known as "emo" after Washington, D.C., originators Rites of Spring burned out but before tepid pop bands like the Promise Ring and Texas is the Reason picked up the mantle. After several years of that, Bianchi grew tired of the form and found himself drawn to milder artists like Seam and Bedhead and electronic musicians like Bjork and Tricky, and reconsidered his creative goals. "A lot of kids first got into playing in bands and there was so much excitement that the first step was loud and fast," Bianchi recently said on the phone from his home in California. "And as you get more used to the instruments, you sort of figure out what you want, and it leads to the same spot."

Running concurrently with the establishment of his small record label AudioInformationPhenomena (which has released records by several bands that have also ridden the loud-to-quiet decline, like Philadelphia psychedelics Aspera), Bianchi began Her Space Holiday as an outlet for the music he was making at home on his computer and his sampler. The new Manic Expressive is the ripest fruit of his labor, a lovingly constructed tapestry of sampled and processed strings and fussy, glitchy breakbeats that inhabit the same sphere as recent work by Radiohead and Bjork, two better-known artists equally committed to investing the digital with the divine. Along with the other bands on this night's bill--Australia's shoegazing Ides of Space and The Gloria Record, whose members used to play in Mineral, one of the biggest of those tepid mid-'90s pop bands--Bianchi is effectively outlining the nuances that lay beneath exhaustion.

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Mikael Wood