[tlr] is a musician for the geek culture generation. As the bassist for Romak and the Space Pirates, he's released an album on a flash drive and referenced memes. With his latest endeavor, NVR-NDR, the L.A.-based musician tackles video game culture with a sound that incorporates elements of fantasy metal, happy hardcore and dance pop as well as L.A.'s electronic underground. We caught NVR-NDR's debut show at HM 157 Saturday night.
“It's really simple,” says [tlr] of the concept behind NVR-NDR. “The story of nvr-ndr is that after I die, I go to another dimension. That dimension is basically a giant hallway and at the end of that dimension is my ultimate goal. So the reality of this dimension is battling to reach the ultimate goal. There's memories of past life, but it's very disconnected, just like this reality is disconnected and it's hard to accept its absurdity. So, there are a lot of things that are really absurd like pizza that's magical armor and cupcakes that are laser cannons.”
The story of NVR-NDR is influenced by games like Xenogears, Final Fantasy VII and Mega Man X. Musically, he's found inspiration in Captain Ahab, Baseck and fellow Space Pirate D. Bene Tleilax's project The Tleilaxu Music Machine. The latter two artists played at NVR-NDR Saturday's gig.
“It's invulnerable,” he says, “it can't be defeated.”
Providing the live beats is Bjorn Littlefield-Palmer, who produces and performs under the name Kawaiietly Please and DJs as Ono-Sendai.
“We discovered that we both have a love of fantasy metal and happy hardcore,” says [tlr]. “I needed someone else because you can't just be behind a laptop and holding a guitar.”
More so than that, both [tlr] and Littlefield-Palmer find their artistic influence in a similar space, one where anime, video games, rave culture, Japanese street fashion and Internet life collide. Think Serial Experiments Lain, without the horror aspect of the cult favorite anime.
But, the most immediate goal of NVR-NDR seems to be to get people dancing. At Saturday night's show, people crowded into the front room of the arts space and jumped enthusiastically to beats that hit the maniacal end of the BPM spectrum. Like many of his contemporaries, [tlr] performs inside the crowd. On the sidelines, we could occasionally see his pizza armor bob up above the audience. For the finale,NVR-NDR went the meta-cover route by revamping DJ Sammy's version of Bryan Adams' song “Heaven.” With NVR-NDR, there are a lot of philosophical concepts and cultural references to digest, but [tlr] somehow whittles it down to something that is simply a few moments of fun.