Is half a guitar better than none?

February 2020
The Rossi Bar

Paul Khimasia Morgan and Gus Garside

First up are Paul Khimasia Morgan and Gus Garside. Gus plays his traditional double bass, Paul has the less traditional guitar body (the neck has been removed). Gus starts with the bow scratching the strings with his bow, Paul has a transducer jammed up against the back of the guitar riding a low tonal feedback. The double bass is producing a thin high-pitched circular scree that goes into the looper. Most un-bass like. A second slightly fatter and slightly lower loop joins it, before he jams a beater into the strings and produces a couple of thrums. The scraping stops as does the guitar tone, and we’re left with cello-like sonorities and the thrum in restful rotation.  Over this Paul and Gus layer a variety of noises, some odd detuning pings, drones. Gus squeaks his strings and Paul gets some bell like sounds. There’s some tension, anticipation of something. The tension builds. We finally get a little bass swoop that builds into a bit of a drone. And then, at last, a full beautiful bow sweep of the low strings filling the room. For a good amount of time, Paul sends out shrill shards of feedback whistles, chimes and clunks. A very satisfying end.


The Organ Grinder’s Monkey

The middle act was the welcome return of The Organ Grinder’s Monkey. The laptop, and black and silver jaguar in full effect. The first song sets out what he does quite nicely, the introduction has a fairly straightforward little guitar riff, the second time there’s a little processing on the third a pretty hard glitch and full on yammer at the end, then the backing track kicks in, and each time through the processing gets more pronounced. There are some backing vocals I’d never noticed before, and extra layers. Its catchy and pretty messed up. The second song is pretty straight, upbeat, tuneful, vocals for 2 verse and chorus’ then the games controller he’s given out to the audience beforehand takes control, tremolo, filter, sweeps, things cut out and come back or repeat or stammer. It’s a lot of fun, and stops its always over too soon. The third starts with super fat blocks of bass and guitar feedback and lopsided beat. The breakdown at the end is an immense set of synth bass, drones and detuned guitar.  The fourth song has a false start, but does start with some odd filtered voice, layered up, over a distant beat, spiky guitar figure, replaced by gated wash, and a weird guitar hero sustain solo. He finishes with 2 new ones, the first a 2 chord riff over some shudder electronics, that nicely degenerates into false stops, uneven gating, and a full strength glitching using the controller again. The final piece is a cover of a song from a local hero from his home town. Political. Hooky. “I know, you are, evil”.


Leifert

Finishing off the evening are Leifert, from Croatia via Leeds – they start unannounced eschewing my introduction and looming up over the general hubbub. They have a lovely synth a big square box, no keyboard, with an array of satisfyingly solid knobs on top, I made a note of the name and lost it. Its partly midi controlled and partly live fiddling. Petra stands at the back singing. The sound is correspondingly solid, strong basses, pinging tops and fidgeting drum tracks. The melody lines swerve around, timbre changing as the pitch swoops. The atmosphere they generate reminds of a couple of 80s duos I used to see in The Fridge, I briefly wonder if we’re living in the 21st Century Weimar, and then they get some proper arpeggios going and the temp picks up and the mood all changes. This one is all about driving onward. The intensity drops for the next one and we get back into slurred notes and washes, the beats are fast but lighter weight, Petra’s voice floating around over the top. The beats gather weight and the washes become more urgent as we move on. The next track starts with a four to the floor bass drum and staccato jabs of toppy synths. These are then mirrored by some detuned bass, which sees some nice filter work, getting at once buzzier and squelchier at the same time. It ends with the drums dropping out and the bass getting fatter and tastier and fatter and tastier. Nice. The last track has an almost comic stepping bass line and frenetic drums, the middly synth rolls around growling like a set of cats singing on you wall avoiding boots. Some strange melodic line comes in over the top with Petra singing in unison with it. Disconcerting. A monster sawtooth bassline finishes it off, like something from “Playing with Knives” underpinning a deranged dub with sounds zooming everywhere.