From head to hand

August 2019

The Rossi Bar

Andrew Greaves

Andrew Greaves commenced the evening playing a piece from his new album, a drifting melancholy line from one of his Electribes with counterpoint joining, played from the Casio MT400. The second Electribe begins to drift in circles around the first. After a while the tremulous recorded voice of Andrew’s father, a nicely old style tenor, committed to cassette may years previously, tremulously joins in the phrases from all parts circulating around the room, at once of a piece and also distinct – almost isolated. The first track ends on the old feller singing “I miss you, I miss you, I miss you”. The second piece starts with a drum machine, sparse bass drums and ticking delayed syncopating rim-shots, he once again has a sequencer playing lines which play around each other. There is plenty of movement in the drums, snares and hi-hats come and go. After some of this the Casio comes in, the organ working its own thread between the other lines. I enter some kind of zone and it’s all over far too soon.


Jonathan Higgins

I think a description of Jonathan Higgins’ glitch CD set up is key here, so at first glance a CDJ setup: 2 CDJs, a mixer and a Discman off to one side, the CD decks have no lids and patchboards. There also is a big wallet of CDs and a recently snaffled copy of one of Andrew’s new albums. It’s a performance in 4 parts, the first starts with a crackly cd of chimes looped with glitches, hums noises and drum rolls, as leads get patched things skip, degenerate, loop and just get generally overlaid with noise, here is a little of the classic CD stuck glitching, an odd percussion loop; the piece stays on the interesting side of noise, a more performative sampledelica.

The second piece starts with a lovely vocal drone loop overlaid with some unpleasant sparse digital freak-out, voices spin backwards, the vocal gradually morphs into a grinding nasal sound. Everything else comes and goes with the occasional digital noise squall. The next piece starts with a space noise that saw-tooths up quite quickly, this then unfolds quite slowly, extra drones shipping in, I think the Discman (broken I imagine) is bought into play for the first time, morse-ly stuttering away. There’s a section of what sounded like a CD being dragged through fine splinters of dangerous glass before we move onto the last piece which is when Jonathan gets stuck into the patch bay, patching; clearing; patching ripping out all the leads; patching; banging the Discman up and down. This is the most fragmented section – the most fun to watch, and probably the least listenable in retrospect. I think it ends on a recording of a numbers station. Glitched. Naturally.


Luxul

So we finish the evening with Luxul, with Emilie robed in darkness with viola and effects pedals lit by a stark uplighter. She starts squatting, with a heartbeat banging of the electric viola onto the floor of the stage, the heartbeat is quickly forgotten when she adds a filthy distortion for a thunderous double beat. Add to that a nasty squeal of feedback and some screeching runs up and down the neck of the instrument and I think that sets the tone, she reigns it back in for a while before unleashing her powerful voice full throated into the pickups. Truly, this is terrifying. Back to the loop beat, and off again, she hits full overload, up off the floor and out into the audience of the tiny bar. There are some interesting layers to this – a harsh noise wall, a scuttling flurry of high notes, a pure tone of feedback, a throaty rush of wind tunnel bass, and some tasty wah-wah work. It relents for a while and again we hear the double crush of the heartbeat come through. I swear at some point she has the ghost of the flying Scotsman being channelled through her – whistle included. She briefly brings it down to her scream and 3 separate strands of feedback before one last full throttle blast to end.