But all this, of course, is not going to do much to get him ahead in line at the airport. Devine's late to catch a 9 a.m. Saturday morning flight to Seattle and security personnel want to inspect every single electronic gadget -- laptops, hard drives, cameras, PDA, cell phones -- in his tightly packed luggage. Against all odds, Devine makes it on the plane with only seconds to spare.
"I wouldn't have even made it here if it weren't for my girlfriend helping me pack. She made sure I had everything I needed," says Devine, listing the portable comforts of home. "Shirts, socks, cables, granola bars, instant cream of wheat, even the porn and KY Liquid."
In Seattle, former Atlanta DJs Eve and Motomasa Mori meet Devine at baggage claim. They've relocated to Vancouver, the site of tonight's show, and will drive him across the border. All the way up I-5, Devine and the Moris talk music, with occasional sightseeing tangents. Even exhaustion cannot dull Devine, the self-proclaimed "cultural sponge," in his desire to decipher the unfamiliar territory, whether music or geography.
Devine has been from Barcelona to Reykjavik, Oslo to Tokyo, but never in Vancouver. But Vancouver has an aesthetic that immediately appeals to his sensibilities. He often describes his work in terms of its influences -- for his latest release, Asect:Dsect, these are modern architecture and late 19th-century abstract artists: Itsuko, Frank Gehry, Richard Rogers, John Maeda, Francois Bacon. The attraction has to do with contrasts -- blending beauty with chaos, making functional environments out of violent juxtapositions. Vancouver -- with its luminous glass spires jutting into the sky against the cradle of surrounding mountains, its jittery methadone addicts lingering one block from an Asian market and around the corner from an angular retro-futuristic mall -- is a study in juxtaposition. And those contrasts -- nonlinear design, highly stylized thrash-metal apexes, seismic spasms of pile-driving rhythm and ionized noise, vice-like compressed beats swept by foamy melodies -- drive Devine's music.
By show time, Devine's labelmates have not shown up. They're announced as M.I.A. on small printouts plastered near the entrance of the Brickyard, the punk venue serving tonight as center of laptop expressiveness. Seems the rest of the Schematic roster were turned away at the border. Having been unable to secure performance permits, Josh Kay and Romulo del Castillo, of the duo Phoenecia, Miami's Otto Von Schirach and Brooklyn's Nick Forte weren't exactly embraced as cultural ambassadors by the border patrol. It didn't help that, when asked about previous felonies, the guys volunteered information about their involvement in a couple illegal raves. It probably also didn't help that, when told they could enter the country without their electronic gear, they ask the border guard if porn stars had to leave their cocks behind to enter Canada. Whatever the cold and clinical reputation laptop musicians might have, it's this sort of attitude that defines Schematic Records.
Devine takes the stage wearing the Minor Threat he bought earlier in the day. It's a warning that the stabs and squalls of his digital hardcore are only for the headstrong. The audience is primed, though, and the explosion of admiration leaves Devine beaming.
Tuesday, Oct. 14.
Vancouver to Seattle
In sharp contrast to the maniacal Brickyard performance, Devine is more mannered on Monday and Tuesday, camera in hand, coursing with the nervous desire to document every angle of unfamiliar terrain or cultural oddity.
Before leaving Canada, he visits scenic overlooks and specialty record shops, and makes a "two-second" trip into the Canadian Music Center that lasts 20 minutes. Devine can't pass up a chance to share music and anecdotes. Spend enough time with him and you're sure to hear lines like, "Oh yeah, I'm friends with (fill in assorted academics from Robert Normandeau to Maryanne Amacher), or "Oh yeah, I got really fucked up with (insert British anarcho-electro pioneer, such as Autechre)."
It's not that Devine's a name-dropper, more that his infectious enthusiasm attracts an international web with whom he can exchange esoterica. While technology can be an insular experience, Devine thinks we're all one Firewire cable away from a new perspective.
But wires can't bridge time and space. So Devine heads back to Seattle pining for the girlfriend in Atlanta he calls three times a day. And he pines for the time to do the LSD an elated concert attendee in Vancouver gave as a parting gift.
Nashville has more dive bars than ATL now that sucks. tbh i think that new…
*Christ, Lord sorry
"Punk" style like this seems like it is the polar opposite of punk. Bradford Cox…
They're kind of starting to look like a joke of themselves. Song's good though.