I dreamed it was spring again

February 2017
Green Door Store

Slow Listener

Slow Listener

Slow Listener bathed in blue light standing just for us. Fidgeting at his lone black box, collaging drones of pure tone and odd blasts of manipulated clank and fade. A slowly unfolding collage of metal sounds, tones give way to reverse cymbal, gong scrape and jangle. Unsettling, unhuman, oddly – but not cold. Emotionally its quite challenging, sucking you in one minute with its rounded pleasantness before forcing you back with some serious high end chittering and blackboard scrape, that giving way to weirdly gated, pitch shifted voices while some ghost breathes backwards through a plasterboard wall. Ending on an endless sustain bell-tone with a one legged pirate stumbling around the flat upstairs in slow motion.


PSK

PSK

“We are PSK it is the only way”. Kev Hough plays long bass guitar notes through some really nasty fuzz pedal while sat behind a trestle table Steve Quixote/Fagan/Psylon provides some electronic rhythms and Pat keyboard and I think voice. Kev also has his megaphone and he’s not afraid to use it, even to reference Theresa May. Steve brings the history of electronic dance music, Kev brings ugly washes of noise and pat 60s organ tones and string synth washes. It works well, Steve’s understanding of the dynamics of programmed drum tracks makes quite the difference. Even when he’s caning the phaser on them. They even have some hooks in there. Possibly even more remarkable at a SoG than the burst of dancing we had a couple of months ago….


D503

D503

D503 drone slowly up from silence seated behind a trestle, Francesco on guitar ringing out occasionally while bass rasp and a trace of white noise slowly firm up, the rhythms more electroshock metronomic here. Eventually the guitar is submerged and as the bass turns to a bulbous pulse the guitar scrapes and flattens out to washes and the whole thing degrades to a 50Hz buzz. Then space winds sweep in and we’re on another build, the hi-hat turning into a robotic scaffold pole thwack around the head before everything empties out leaving endless guitar delays and a whirr of faulty electronics.


Stormy all round

January 2017
Green Door Store

Meshmass

Meshmass

Starting early we had Meshmass, Peter Picket on the uncomfy chair to the right with laptop, saxophone and effects, Richard Miles to the left with a normal sized guitar (this time) that still looks small on his lanky frame. They start so early because they like to warm up slowly, some ride pattern tapping, a slur of guitar and smoky sax tones setting a misleading mood, as the guitar slowly drifts in wayward taps and wanders off to one side. The second piece starts with Richard building tonal loops of sustain, with a rattley snare loop, xylophone plonks, thickening up with some textures and e-bow, synth and long sax notes. It breaks down a couple of times before peter starts hammering the sax with a pretty serious blart. And that’s pretty much how it continues, a loop or two, a layer of rhythm some misdirection and some disruption. They’ve played at SoG a few times now, but I think this was the most satisfying performance. The pair working well at the layers.


The Zero Map

The Zero Map

Second up was the Zero Map, us, like everyone else getting a piece of them while the getting is good. They have the full trestle on the go, Chloe sat behind the (bass) guitar for once – it being flat on the table ready to be bowed, they start with field recordings, blown shell drones, chimes. Karl lightly thrums a mandolin; Chloe sings through cave-ish echo. She makes other more disturbing sounds with her voice, too. A thumb piano loop plicks in the background as waves of voice and bowed bass wash back and forth. Someone introduces the voice from the Red Room and things start to get a bit darker. The sound thickens and the volume increases. At the same time the film – 5 year’s worth of short clips from Chloe’s outtakes from what looks like half a dozen different cameras starts to get a bit scarier. Distortion. Wailing. Some feedback. A train. A hoover. Harsh Noise. And out into radio static.


Scrase

Scrase

Last up and in the dark is Scrase, there are folk travelled up from Portsmouth to see him. They’ll need good eyesight – Ha! Can hear him plenty though. This is a laptop set, generative processing and completely tonal. So abstract its hard to describe, its the kind of thing that would normally be expected to be cold and distant, but this is warm, and immediate and oddly thrilling. Um, things change abruptly, algorithmically I suspect, sometimes slurring, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet. Things switch back and forth as if controlled by an old style squarewave LFO. There sa bit that reminds me of EVOLS clanger conversation set back at the Komedia, but then it drifts off into moogy space territory. Some passages are dense with incident, some sparse and rather lovely. Constant motion. I’m going to give up now. Proper artistic endeavour. And I loved it.


Three weeks late of the writing

December 2016
Green Door Store

I’m writing this in the hangover mist between Christmas and the New Year, I have video and recorded evidence to remind me, but my mind is frozen with stale beer & wine and congealed gravies.

The last Spirit of Gravity show was a good one, I do remember the warm glow at the end of another evening. But we’ve had a good year, again, so thanks to everyone who played in 2016.

Cutlasses

Cutlasses

First act for the December show was Cutlasses, Scott Pitkethly’s solo electronic act. He has a bright blue electric guitar plugged into his laptop, some home-made boxes on the table and some more on the floor. The electronics whirr his cleanly plucked guitar up into a mandolin frenzy while half heard airport voices murmur expectantly in the background. Vast slabs of sound sweep across the mix, rhythms tack and totter, and suddenly Scott unexpectedly wails off into some soaring guitar action with accompanying Ponderous drums. It’s not the only time he really messes with us, though. Deep tone basses and abstract digitally filtered guitars predominate, but there are plenty of excursions into weirder shifty patterns and rhythms, and sideways steps into sonic flight before ending with a stumbleover drum track and shiny overdriven guitar.


I’m Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines

I'm Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines

Second up for the evening is the return of East of Eden/West Hill Blast Quartet saxophone man Ron Caines with I’m Dr Buoyant. Ron sits stage left on one of the new uncomfy chairs that have replaced his usual Velvety throne, on the other side is Tony Rimbaud/I’m Dr Buoyant with his array of ill defined electronic goods. Tony starts with some vaguely unhealthy sounding loops that ooze out of the speakers, Ron adding some lonely lines across the top. He follows a melodic thread with occasional flurries of notes cascading out. Its rather scary, but beautiful with undertones of loss and decay.


Johannah Bramli

Johannah Bramli

Rounding off the evening we have Johannah Bramli, if ever something deserved to be heard through the PA at the GDs it’s her current set. Some things really benefit from the extended bass and a bit of volume….

She has prepared some visuals that she has running from the laptop she also uses for running Ableton at her feet, plus a MicroKorg some kind of one stringed instrument and at least one home-made wooden box. A lot of her set starts with a vocal manipulation. Some shimmers, a shudder or two of bass and a bit of ticking rhythm. There is a field recording of voices talking and slowly the shifting takes form and a song emerges from the mist of sounds she’s prepared before being subsumed back into the playground of statics and warbles. The second piece has a MONUMENTAL slab of bass that steps across it when it takes form. Around this builds a rhythm of whacked stainless steel doors and industrial surfaces. The bass and clatter stops leaving some analogue glitch and static to continue while piano leaks in from another dimension pulling in some more vocals from Johannah and then it’s off to space for the end.


Now that’s what I call a Spirit of Gravity AV Dance Party

November 2016
Green Door Store

Noisferatu

Noisferatu

Noisferatu start with a gong, a recorded bell and a thunderstorm. Onstage are the masked duo joined by Kev Nickells on what will turn out to be heavily delayed saxophone and at the back of the stage with an easel, artist graham Fletcher. They’re showing their customised sped up version of the 1922 Mernau film. They start slowly with an “All hail Thee Radish” and some pleading for radishes for Graham. Kev Hough wanders about, clanking percussion, Carl creates the drones and beats, Kev N works up a pattern of skronk, It’s some kind of beat nightmare and all starts to slip and slur. Kev H gets to work on a dulcimer, as everything blurs into terrifying drones, the painting is revealed as a portrait of Vlad the Impaler in vermilion powder paint. The radish chant restarts and they do the dance and troop off single file.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOcVj2cs6Us


Timeron

Timeron

Timeron is James, he sets up just in front of the mixing desk looking at the stage so he can see his visuals, and not get in the way. He’s running an AV synth setup, so everything he does with the controls impacts on both the tones and visuals. It’s a pretty sweet setup, nice tonal electronics, very rhythmic with almost oscilloscope visuals for a lot of it, lovely green swathes of colour dancing around the screen. We also had some folk dancing around on the floor, too. It’s not the first time we’ve had dancing at SoG, but I wouldn’t go as far a to say it was the 5th. There’s a nice radiophonic techno feel to it. Warm and analogue but not too dense. And you can see exactly how the sound and visuals fit together, there’s some nice bits where one colour is pulsing with the bass while we see washes of colour swirl the drones around the screen.


Isn’tses

Isntses

My recollection of Isn’tses seems to bear no relation with the clips I’ve got: my mind says, crazy rhythmic structures – trance party vibes, but twisted; nothing at all like the Harsh Noise Walls I know these acts for – yet the videos are both blasts of adrenaline. There’s one that at least looks like the “Subterranneans from Stingray having a rave-up” that I remember, but is plastered by a heavy bass noise wash, with Lisa’s growling vocals 5 or 6 octaves below where her voice would normally be. The masks and her reflective suit look the part very much though. They too have a video synth, but theirs generates small regular pseudo geometria, that don’t tie up so closely with the sound.
To be fair they do blast the start with some Heavy beats, before slipping into some pretty noisy interludes and sliding out with voices and a simple if irregular beat.

Other material available online

Carl Anderson posted video of Noisferatu and Timeron on Vimeo
https://vimeo.com/album/4237544

Agata Urbaniak’s fantastic quality photos of the night:
Noisferatu

Plus the whole Isn’tses set is available on Bandcamp:
https://isntses.bandcamp.com/album/spirit-of-gravity-brighton/


Motionless on the Roman underground

October 2016
Green Door Store

Steve Gisby

Steve Gisby

Steve Gisby introduces his set as an iterative set based on a sample from the London Underground. He explains the process in a bit more detail actually (you can read an online version here) it starts as a short repeating block of agreeable but white noise that opens out into what’s recognisable as a tube announcement looping, as we listen more layers come in, there’s one layer that has the rhythm of a train passing over points – but I’m pretty sure just that rhythm is a part of the process rather than anything particular for this evening. It quickly reaches a level of almost stasis, where you start to get sucked into details – the announcement loop shortens until the recognisable voice elements are gone and it sounds like a snare drum with the snare itself dropped bashing away. A wheel squeak whine comes slowly up out of the clatter which becomes chopped into another layer of two noted rhythm, things have fallen imperceptibly away, the noise elements shifting into tonal qualities and then the chop comes in to slice things up into a gated beat to close. Its almost syncopated.


You&TH

You&TH

Another set that starts with an introduction – I do like artists who communicate. Maria Marzaoli starts her set with “Fenesta ca lucive” a piece she did at Infrasection, Its an old song written for an old style Tenor, but her version is outstanding. She starts with field recordings from an Italian street, bells, footsteps and her voice low in the mix thin and plaintive.
The scene shifts to a café, someone else is singing and a family gathers while she starts to play her violin back against a previous version on the backing track. I seriously want to cry. Beautiful stuff. The piece finishes with sounds like a fishing trip while Maria sings again.
Her second piece is really empty a field recording of what sounds like a pretty intensely hot midday while she scratches out some unpleasant creaking loops of violin bow noise. Occasionally a squeak or a flurry of clean notes, a playground swing, distant bark. I feel creeped out fearing a zombie attack in a spaghetti western set. The final piece is based around a recording of the beach, Maria reciting verse too quietly for me to discern, she wrenches even more unpleasant sounds from her violin for this one – a base metal drum being hauled over concrete, plucked notes, delayed, train whistles, parched.
Before ending on a repeated lyrical thread that builds to a climax for the end.


The Static Memories with Al Strachan

Map71

Gus Garside starts the Static Memories set with some strokes of his bow across the double bass through the effects to through us off our track.
Alistair Strachan breathes through his cornet into a double effects chain and Dan Powell gets some unplaceable whirrs. For the three of them this may be an even Quieter and emptier set than Maria’s. sounds come and go, digital warbles, distant taps and clanks odd lengthy notes from the other side of space. Occasionally something of a melancholy tune escapes from Al and spreads itself gently through the sound stage. Gus may gently remind of his instruments range and dexterity, or Dan take some stately ascent into hyperspace. One of the oddest moments comes with Gus singing into god-knows-what effect that chirrups his voice into unintelligible electronic burblings. There is little in the way of melodic content, but the confluence of sounds between the three of them (or any two as often one will sit out) can conjure wonderful images. There is a rhythm at one stage. Drum machined, simple, flanged into some kind of muffled shimmer. It’s another rather lovely set.


How’d he manage to break that?

September 2016
Green Door Store

Henry Collins – Rummaging

Henry Collins Rummaging

Henry Collins was set up on the floor on one of the oil drum tables with two concrete blocks on top. One supported an expanded polystyrene box from the fruit market big and bassy full of rubble, the other a metal tray, the treble arm of the rummaging body. The mics were stuffed right down into the tray, Henry had cut his hand the night before so was protected by some heavy duty gloves. He starts with an introduction to his philosophy of rummaging, then fairly gently gets into it, pausing briefly to take a pace back before stepping up and getting stuck right in with the almost inevitable climax of the table going over churning the contents of the rummaging boxes onto the stone floor.


Wild Anima

Wild Anima

The rest of the evening was run in conjunction with Blue tapes and X-Ray records who have strong local ties although having artists from all over, starting with Wild Anima from France. She began her set with field recordings and loops ending with fragile more orthodox songs. The first song had loops of rain and water with her vocals echoed back through extra long delays. It wanders through several sections before evolving some nice ticks that turn into a near beat to round off the piece. The second piece works her vocals around a pretty hefty bass drone, with electric piano coming about halfway through and layered up vocals on the backing track. The last song was pretty straightforward after that.


Map71

Map71

Map71 were third up, and continuing their recent run of form – on fire. Their set was about 50% new to me, the new stuff all really good, strong electronic backing tracks and drumming from Andy and Lisa Jayne’s diminutive figure commanding the stage. And the older pieces well chosen. A really strong set well delivered. Sometimes you see someone who really seem to have hit their moment and Map71 seem to be in this position right now. Lisa Jayne ends the set with the book of words behind her back and a small smile.

Benjamin Finger

Benjamin Finger

Benjamin Finger rounded the evening off, another European this time from Norway. It’s a pretty epic set and really feels like he could have settled in and continued playing till around 2am. It starts with thick, thick washes of synths with shudders and bells smeared over it. Scatterings of percussion come and go without doing much more than indicating at a rhythm. Things naturally seem to chunk up into songs based around sounds or sets of samples, but the timbres seem pretty steady all the way through. There are hints of ambience or dark basses from more recent genres. Yeah good, great LP for sale, too.


eo_embed][/x_video_embed]

eo_embed][/x_video_embed]

We interrupted this transmission from outer space

August 2016
Green Door Store

Ahtuf Kontrol

Ahtuf Kontrol

Mike Turner-Lee – dance
Seb Turner-Lee – guitar
Mickey Ball – trumpet
and Patrick Turner-Lee – dangerous wires
It starts with Seb and Mickey seated across the back of the stage, Patrick’s silver hair bobbing up and down behind his Juno. Shiny slow notes chime out from guitar while the heavily effected trumpet and keyboard wind slowly out and Mike starts to move from centre stage opening himself up onto the floor in front. Patrick’s shiny radiophonic tones set the backing for a lead trumpet line with odd echoes on the guitar. It shifts into some harpsichord patterns before setting for some properly unsettling synth action, a buzzing with decaying drones falling around it before the guitar comes to lift it back into space music. A deceptively nicely structured piece.


MSV FCK

MSV FCK

Matty – Drum machine. synths, samples and noises
Lee – Guitar, voice, synths, samples and noises
Jason – Drum machine, synths, samples and noises
Sonically it’s hard to turn that description of line-up into anything sonic, it’s hard to differentiate the individuals in the way that live music sometimes is (belying that this is their first show). Everything sounds electronic, the drums are often distorted, or seem to be doubled. Things come and go and sometimes not even voluntarily. There’s some nicely deranged lead lines, all micro-tuned and confusingly pinched, some expansive bass tones and engagingly oddly syncopated rhythm parts. They occasionally settle into something like the groove of a daddy longlegs missing a couple of limbs, a bit lurching but effectively getting somewhere. considering what they do, its impressive how they manage to keep the spaces and sense of structure as they evolve through their set.


Memorial Bench

Memorial Bench

Ollie seems to inherit a land on the edges of drone, drone-ish, but far too quickly moving, taking us beyond the finely detailed Aqua Dentata of last month into a strangely liminal region where we have density and lightness, stasis and yet a plethora of tonal qualities that change at an incredible rate. There are hisses, throbs, organ piping, space peeps, boops and all sorts all whirling about in a dreamlike charm. there are hints of rhythm and even a vague sense of some melody just beyond discerning. After the exciting start, it settles down into what sounds almost like a field recording on alien world, much thinner, buzzes, squeaks, rattles with underlying alien washes, un-water liquid bubbles foaming unpleasantly. Ollie seems to have loosened up by this stage, the density and kineticism of the first third of the set is gone, we still have constant and relatively fast moving change but over fewer layers and it’s a little more languid, as if made in a parallel universe where Edgar Froese was a Martian.