Let’s get skulled up for the drop off

June 2018
Green Door Store

Fallow

Fallow

Fallow start the evening off, David Reby has a black and white film of deer scans playing behind them, his familiar deer skull illuminated from the inside on a stand at centre stage. Their set starts with heavily reverbed undetermined deer field recordings, some slow guitar notes, slowly dissonant drones creep in, some of those horrible deer vocalisations I promised wallow up among the musical elements as they fall away. Derek is playing keyboards rather than his usual pre-recorded CDJs alongside guitar, and pipes in some stentorian French horn blasts and piano before a templehead beat rolls in. The Intensity of the deer yowls ramps up. When the beats roll back out, we get into a pizzicato that brings us into a lengthy reflective passage before the intensity starts to ramp up with a layered set of hefty drones and we switch into a tritone riff that just builds, then drops and builds again before dropping down to just the bass elements that flatten into a drone that carries the guitar into the ending section.


Organon of the Antivoid

With Zoom Around Rainbow falling foul of a technical hitch at the last minute Organon of the Antivoid stepped in at the last minute with a Youtube mashup. Caleb sits facing the screen, his desktop projected up onto it so we can follow exactly what’s happening. Starting with a TED talk “Are you a good person” adding in tabs and tabs of slowed down YouTube speech, we go a long way before we get to the obvious candidates. In the early stages he adds in some drones – 2 or 3 tabs of it – but apart from that and some tabs of pink and white noise, it’s pretty much all speech and babies crying. However obfuscated. At about 15 minutes he ups the levels, quickly opening a series of tabs as if he’s trying to crash the browser, but it’s obviously a pretty robust setup he has, so eventually he decides to wind it down, closing down the tabs from the latest to the first.


Jobina Tinnemans

Jobina Tinnemans

So Jobina Tinnemans finishes the evening, with two pieces. As a proper composer she does introduce her pieces in full, the first is based on recordings of voices from the Chamber Choir of South Iceland pretending to be birds that she has trapped inside a number of small jars. It’s a semi improvised piece, with the jars being chosen and Shaken, some Max/MSP processing is definitely going on there, with some of the results sounding remarkably like David’s field recordings. The sound is more spacious than anything else we’ve heard this evening. Supporting the sounds are violin or cello sonorities and synth washes, with a massive foghorn indicating closure is imminent.
She goes straight into her second piece, quickly changing into her swimsuit and hat, this is an aquatic piece it has the bird noises again, but with the drips and reverb of a watery place. Synth sounds give the sense of waves and something impending, before she takes a breath and we’re suddenly underwater – there is no treble, a bass whoomph – exhale and we’re back above. The second time we go under we seem to be in the company of whistling alien cetaceans. The third time they seem to be in a more playful mood, maybe having found a toy piano. The riff they bang out becomes more insistent, bringing steam, noise and musicality along with it. The sense of approaching the surf from underneath.


I have life on other worlds

May 2018
Green Door Store

Binnsclagg

Binnsclagg

Binnsclagg started the evening off with what was probably the best set I’ve seen them do. They have a certain reputation (they claim completely undeserved) for power tools, noisy chaos, found poetry and leaving a hell of a mess. None of this was apparent. Verity and Karl had an oil-drum table each of things with acoustic or electronic intent, and set to work about them; psychedelic warble, cassette voice, rattle, thrum, grandmother’s clock. It’s quite spacious unlike the super-dense harshness of the last time they played. They even take turns to read. There are rhythmic sections, which quite confused me. They play chimes against thin feedback and distant jazz while Verity reads, its rather lovely, which I wasn’t expecting to write. It ends in pings dissolving into giggles. As it should.


Ned Rush

Ned Rush

The meaty filling in the sandwich was provided by a nice AV set from Ned Rush. He was running a modular synth, and linked that up to a laptop to create some kind of generative visuals. A lot of the visuals had that kind of kinetic thing going on so you constantly feel like you’re travelling into the screen. In the absence of having videoed his whole set I won’t reference his visuals again. The sounds started with small tonal blips and hums, scatter glitches and tiny squelches. It’s the most freeform thing I’ve seen anyone do on a modular, managing to avoid the tyranny of clocking or LFO. This is followed by something where he gets a hum and white noise loop going, with an acidy squelch with a growl that becomes a bassline. This deepens in intensity and rhythmic intent, like some odd hyper-interlocked rave where someone has stolen the 909. He slews in these odd concrete sounds and nasty drones to keep you off balance, and the breakdown when it comes almost makes you stagger sideways with its glitching detunedness. The final piece really pushes it, like something from a chill-out room of a party where the ketamine has been laced with strychnine and half those present are travelling backwards through time. Great stuff.


Johanna Bramli

Johanna Bramli

And finally we had the return of Johanna Bramli, also playing against visuals, she’d taken down the screen show they were ghostly against the black curtains. Starting with a slow humming tick rhythm and organ layered with wordless vocals she was the otherworldly manifestation of the film she was showing. The piece mutates slowly, some piano, odd voices, external sounds, some singing. In many ways this is the kind of thing I wanted from Laurie Anderson last time she was here; proper haunted, mysterious, emotionally haunting music. She breathes and plays some single stringed DIY instrument, thin feedback tremors wailing across the room, underpinned by a monstrous block of bass that pulses monolithically into the room while god moves chairs around upstairs. A head itch rhythm stealths into the song and tines ping, then it all shifts suddenly – lightweight arpeggios echo back around the room and the bass battering is gone, there is some singing before it dissolves into rain, and a bubble bath of small synthesizer an organ drone and more wordless vocals through to the end. Bloody lovely.


Three, Two, One

April 2018
Green Door Store

Innixi Fix

Innixi Fix

To start the evening is Innixi Fix, billed as a three piece but playing as Jack on his own (he found out at 5:30 in the evening that this would be the case). So he set up on the floor with his guitar and electronics array. He starts by banging a loop of a clobbered string percussion part into the kit, supplemented with small flourishes giving it a clockwork feel. Before fattening out with balalaika twangs, reverb and then haring off down a blind alley of plics and ant-scurry thuds. Which devolves into a series of radiophonic space ping echoes. This goes on for not quite long enough before a tube train smashes through it. Which in turn gives way to an almost acoustic sounding passage of single noted loveliness which again evolves into some radiophonics mixed with gratuitous delay tweaking. It settles down into a more reflective passage before we get the Foghorns and heavy goods trains.


Andrew Greaves

Andrew Greaves

Andrew Greaves was also supposed to be playing with others in this case the percussionist was ill so Andrew fell back onto his electronic percussion along with organs and delays. The percussion ticks while Andrew played I think two pieces from his new album, which are long semi improvisations in some scales based on Indian Raags, played with extraordinarily long delays, and the occasional bass tone. The organ parts repeat, almost, slowing down and speeding up. Hypnotic is about the only way to describe it, I was quite in phase with the whole room by the time the first piece ended. He wound it down quite nicely and did the changeover to the second part pretty seamlessly. This continued the arpeggios and riffs style but with some longer, slightly slower parts woven into them. Both hands working together along with some suspicious looping technology and some more prominent action from the bass. Although again, it wouldn’t be called foregrounded. About a third of the way into the second piece the hi-hats tip over into woodblocks and rim-shots. Towards the end they trickle out just leaving the dynamic stasis of the organ figures worming into your consciousness.


Map 71

Map71

So Map71. A real drummer and one poet. Lisa Jayne, slight, static, book of words glanced at, pages thumb flicked occasionally. Andy Pyne a perpetual movement machine, elbows, knees, sticks, head, feet. The first track is drums and words alone, a circular patter around the kit, around the kit, around the kit. Anti-noise. The second is an older song. Starting with a cheap synthesiser riff before Andy and Lisa kick in. The electronic insistence rises during the song. The third song starts like “Summer breeze” closed hi-hats in threes, uneasy words. The fourth song is new I think too, starting with a staggered snare pattern “freak radar collision” Lisa’s word come at you in obsessional bursts. Every few bars everything stutters. Another new song follows, slight piano echoes, brushes occasional Kick yr ass drum. Lisa less declamatory than usual. The rhythm is still in her voice. Back with the favourites “controversial dance moves should not be attempted” buzz bass, half speed drums. A song about shopping. Hah. Lisa speaks between songs, I think this is a new thing. They still are the most charismatic act to grace the GDS stage. The final song is a tightly wound arpeggio that takes an age before the drums kick in. The tension mounts constantly, even when parts drop out. Insistence.


Out the corner of your eye

March 2018
Green Door Store

Operationz

Operationz

Operationz starts his third set in around a month with a third very different setup. Droning very heavily phased something, SH101, shortly joined by repetitive drum machine and a thick distorted electric guitar. Without sounding like Wire this reminds me of Wire, there is a real dynamic thrust to it. After around 5 minutes he winds down the guitar and the drone gets a nasty edge to it before it drops out to just the SH101 sequencing away, and then it kicks off again. And winds down again to a different harsh drone. A couple of times he kicks off some tasty NDW bass lines but seems convinced that this isn’t the done thing here and cuts them off before they take over. There’s some really nice layering of feedback into the drones at a couple of points too.


Dolly Dollycore

Dolly Dollycore

Dolly Dollycore is set up on an oil drum table to one side of the stage; Shakers in real life and from the laptop. Starts reading a poem, that has occasional interludes for a shake of a shaker or an odd rattle. The gong she didn’t bring tonight comes from the laptop with swimming pool voice-verb, and she dips back into the words. The soundtrack develops into odd a/rhythmic scrapes, and she gives a flexatone flourish. She goes on to a new work in progress on Kesh who had died a few days before, very personal and moving, the room is silent and you can hear the emotion in everyone. I don’t expect to weep at SoG. The backing moves onto ducks on water and she gets back into the Magic Words. The next piece has odd scraped resonant strings and improv percussion parts, unlooped. unjointed. Reflecting the stagger of her spoken lines. And there is a disco ending, where she does dance. The last poem which seems to be about a childhood in Africa has a steady drum beaten, with scrapey violin lines and chain rattles layered up in fine array that just stop. That just leave the voice to carry the message. It ends with Dolly dancing to ELO.


Eub-Astra

Eub-Astra

Eub Astra have a long trestle table in front of the stage strewn with things electrical and acoustical, a string of coloured patio lights strung out over it that come and go as they command, enforcing changes starting with an accordion wheezy pulse put into someone’s looper, against a shimmery drone, there is a certain amount of messing about with it, before the lights change and we move on. Some scrape and light space noise, more string scrape and metal crash this section has a modern electronic shine hovering around the improv stammer. Some cornet parp. Some spooky sweep of an accordion in a haunted alley of broken neon. Cornet breath sweeps odd organ notes in front of it. It gets darker and more psychedelic before morphing into a balloon solo over an earth loop hum that again morphs into a beautiful cornet line over a thin unpleasant unviolin scratch (what was that thing I don’t remember).


It’s supposed to go the other way!

February 2018
Green Door Store

LeCabLe

LeCabLe

So LeCabLe are set up at the back, they have a long trestle table full to overflowing with gear, a couple of synthesisers, a pedal steel, big old cassette player 4 track thing, pedal steel guitar and more delay pedals than you can shake several sticks at. So Daniel Dickel gets us started with a slow Carpenter synth booming across the room while Paul does indeed get to shake his sticks at the steel guitar. After this unfolds for a while we get another sequence stepping a bit more lightly across the room while Paul layers thin ambiences through it, the occasional thunder roll, or thin digital squeal, or one of the delays bounces something around. The cassette slowly washes this out while Paul works on some more improvvy sounding clicks and scrapes and the synths get muddled up in there, sloshing and whishing about. They end up on some fast detuned bubbling sequence that reminds me of that track on Dark Side of the Moon, with some voices and that’s it.


Blister Pack

Blister Pack

Blister Pack are reduced to a two piece as drummer Graham has cracked some ribs, so in front of a slideshow of him, they have their synths racked up. They start loud as hell with a blast of HNW, full throttle that does briefly manage to get even louder. There are some subtleties in there but by and large it manages to alienate a number of folk straight off to the bar. After a few minutes this unpleasantness eases off into a pretty tonal modulating wall of synth which clears slowly before a beat emerges from the gloom. Which in turn winds down to a synth pattern, radio noises, odd sounds, electronic hums and finally whispers out. In many ways it’s a completely reversed set starting as it does with the climax, but it’s an interesting idea and the second half of their set is certainly the most interesting with some nice exposed circuit boards being jabbed with sweaty fingers and right peculiar sounds and devices being moved around.


Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas

Jo Thomas finishes off the evening, she has a rolling distorted film, that may be a loop or the view out of a bus window in the country. She has on her table a clear box electronic noise machine that occupies her attention for the first half of her set, big old fashioned rotary knobs on the top, while she croaks into a head mic. The machine buzzes, modulates, glitches digital ducks and clanks at us. There are pretty evil low beating bumps and reckless alien swoops. It gets into a gabba pumping beat interspersed with some tones that get right into my tinnitus, before it swoops away somewhere else. There are some empty lumpy rhythms, and machine scrapers, with steam driven motors. For the final section she brings her laptop on, which provides some extra-dimensional qualities. Odd boops, and digitally frayed elements, which morph into shimmered digital sheets of rotary saw atmospherics, organ train specialities and finally a massive drone off between the different layers.


Promenade in the rain again

January 2018
Green Door Store

MSV FCK

MSV FCK

One of the long trestles filled end to end, and over the end with stuff, the MSV FCK recognisable from earlier shows lined along the back. Bookending is a tall man I’ve not met before to the left with his sheaves of words and Sara Jane Glendinning with her guitar and clarinet to the right. The start is hesitant, uncertain, some words and halting noises before Jason brings in a bass drum, slow and steady, I know this because I was watching him do it, this is pretty much the last point at which I will be able to pinpoint person and sound. The tempo picks up, I think we have some octave clarinet. Washed out fuzzy washes. Sara Jane sings back at the declaimer, the beat picks up. A few times I think of Mark Stewart and Gary Clail shouting mesmerically at each other over Tack>>Head. Rhythms come and go. Noises give way to tunes to lumbering jolts of bass. People dance. Not usually a response to the first act. Theres a clanking bassline reminiscent of Turkey Bones and The Wild Dogs. Occasionally the sound empties right out to some words, or some skronks, hiss of tape and kettle whirring away in the quiet. But not often.


Kayfabe

Kayfabe

Coming through from outside Kayfabe processed, white porcelain masked Lisa Jayne, Carl in a white suite. She had a cymbal and spoke as they passed through, until finally seated on stage, she takes up her book and Carl sits on the stage and gets stuck into his small collection of small synths. The mask is removed. More words issue, lo fidelity beats and cheap reverb follow her story, sometimes they lead it. The words disturb the sounds. They disturb me. Occasionally a radiophonic clip clop trots past the decaying monotron haze. There is evolution, bass thickens, delay trills and thickens into a noisy paste. At some point she stands up. This is a thing, turning round she regards us cooly in a mirror. The mask returns. An end.


Rotten Bliss

Rotten Bliss

Rotten Bliss starts on stage, but wanders off into the audience shining her moon torch onto the ceiling (surrounded by the reflected stars off the glitter ball) whilst she sings over seaside field recordings and a speedboat wash plays on the screen of the empty stage. Slowly the sounds fade out and she ends singing a cappella. At this point she gets properly stuck into the electric cello, played upright. This song switches between folk inflected vocal pieces of beauty and instrumental passages of sawn cello noise. This pretty much sets the scene for the rest of the set, swerving bowed shudders, twitching & tortured screeches curling out traces of feedback and sonorous bass bubbles, and some frankly terrifying vocal pieces. It the two seemingly at odds, but combine tremendously, giving contrasts of density and space, a cello based almost unstructured Loud Quiet. But very structured. I really like it when people bring things from the edges of music and use them to construct songs. The noise sections are terrific, too, switching from full blooded scrawled side bow hell, to tails of near feedback. Then just when you think you’ve got it pinned down she drops something almost empty in its seeming simple beauty.


Kayfabe’s entire set is available on YouTube at youtu.be/iZc-OcaNh1M

Stuffed. A full bass workout.

December 2017
Green Door Store

Capzilla 20s

Capzilla 20s

The evening started with Capzilla 20s, two SH101s linked up on a table in front of the stage facing each other, me and Caleb in large white mouse-ish masks with long horns. Which meant I couldn’t see much…. We set up drones and started detuning and setting up beat frequencies and standing waves at heavy bass frequencies. After a while a slowly revolving sequence started and we started tweaking the filters and such, before upping the noise. At some stage a couple of other people came in shouting through megaphones and a manifesto cut up into small strips.


Chemical Bbrench

Chemical Bbrench

Second on the bill was Chemical Bbrench, set up on the floor of the stage, a two piece, guitars, one detuned down quite a bit. Lots of effects. Vast amounts of feedback. Monster levels of bass drone and wash. Felix obviously had one new string which wouldn’t stay in tune so spent a deal of the set winding up the tuning peg. They play just one show a year, the 2018 show will be in January. I recommend catching it if you missed this one.


Futuro De Hierro

Futuro De Hierro

Finally we had Futuro De Hierro from Barcelona. Standing at one of the oil drum tables, some electronics, a stretched cassette tape, feedback and vocals. Keeping the bass levels at fairly excessive levels with brutal distorted kick drums, buzzing basslines and thick layers of distortion. He played some tracks from his new album, ‘Paso en el Vacío’, and a couple of older tracks.