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.


That’s not the sort of thing I normally come here for

November 2017
Green Door Store

I’m Dr Buoyant

I'm Dr Buoyant

I’m Dr Buoyant kicks off the evening sharpish, set up at the side of the stage. He starts in with an uncanny wind, voices lost in the northerlies. It’s frankly terrifying. There are hints of tonalities before razor sharp his edges in to unbalance things for a while. The second piece starts with some modernist string loops on a nicely dissonant figure. This is augmented by some kind of gated phased wash, we get into some serious repetition, displaced slightly by the return of the harsh whine. Everything leaves us apart from the stabs, slowly getting more distorted. The third starts with a murmured conversation heard through a monastery corridor and two oaken doors, it loops and gets caught up in an echo of Tuxedomoon, before being belaboured by that distortion again. The parts circle around each other getting confused & harder to distinguish. Then a jet engine comes along with its orchestra and plays merry havoc and it ends.


Ahtuf Kontrol

Ahtuf Kontrol

Shortly thereafter we have Ahtuf Kontrol, starting with small clean guitar figures and some serious, if occasional bass ramps. They are lacking a dancer, and the trumpet player from the last time they played, but have gained a laptop to go alongside the keys. The bass is joined by sparkles of tones, odd detuning swoops and cascades forming a vast space music. At some stage the bass switches to drone and an odd sequence starts up and we get into some kind of dark Side of the Moon territory. But the rhythm keeps ambushing us with stops and starts, while someone gets messing about on the delays… We switch out of the big sounds for some high synth washes and get back to the pinging guitar and celestial chimes. After that brief respite a one note tonal bass steps up and brings some electric piano and more space (soundwise this time) things happen, then stop happening. What there is detunes, filters and sweeps away. Returns and gets tangled with a flurry of up the neck guitar strangling and we’re back into space for the final segment which hovers somewhere between Tangerine Dream and The Radiophonic Workshop.


The Diamond Family Archive

The Diamond Family Archive

The Diamond Family Archive all the way up from Devon, not your usual Spirit of Gravity setup, acoustic guitar, drums, hurdy-gurdy, zither. Hidden away are a couple of keyboards and enough effects pedals to keep us happy. We start with a drone, equal parts Casio, guitar, and well, everything really, the drums roll around beaten rather than sticked. Somewhere I’m sure is a buddha box, a scratchy bowed figure is slowly eked out of the murk on the guitar, the drone takes on a bit of a swirl and the guitar goes all Henry Flynt before everything drops away for some singing. Both of them sing. For a while. Then everything comes back slightly different. The guitar gets scratchy and starts to shred a bit sitting on the verge of feedback, a bowed violin loop gives a hint of Cale and the drums get a bit of exercise. And then it drops again for a lengthy bit of call and response over abstract drums and hit string loops, with rattles and bass string buzzes. The second song is called blackbird. It starts with cymbal washes and wiped guitar string loops. The Casio drone is a bit more prominent on this song. At least at first. Some really articulate guitar flourishes get into odd loops while one of them plays the harmonica. More singing! More harmonica! What’s going on. Straight into the final song, that’s what. The drone carries through. An odd funeral rhythm is started and a think modulated unregulated synth sound comes through. A sitar like strike of the string and short burst of guitar feedback are added to the loop. The guitarist rides the feedback with a tremolo for a while. They end singing about horses over soft beater rolls around the toms and the guitar feedback loops. Bloody marvellous.


Motherbox

Motherbox

The Diamond Family Archive all the way up from Devon, not your usual Spirit of Gravity setup, acoustic guitar, drums, hurdy-gurdy, zither. Hidden away are a couple of keyboards and enough effects pedals to keep us happy. We start with a drone, equal parts Casio, guitar, and well, everything really, the drums roll around beaten rather than sticked. Somewhere I’m sure is a buddha box, a scratchy bowed figure is slowly eked out of the murk on the guitar, the drone takes on a bit of a swirl and the guitar goes all Henry Flynt before everything drops away for some singing. Both of them sing. For a while. Then everything comes back slightly different. The guitar gets scratchy and starts to shred a bit sitting on the verge of feedback, a bowed violin loop gives a hint of Cale and the drums get a bit of exercise. And then it drops again for a lengthy bit of call and response over abstract drums and hit string loops, with rattles and bass string buzzes. The second song is called blackbird. It starts with cymbal washes and wiped guitar string loops. The Casio drone is a bit more prominent on this song. At least at first. Some really articulate guitar flourishes get into odd loops while one of them plays the harmonica. More singing! More harmonica! What’s going on. Straight into the final song, that’s what. The drone carries through. An odd funeral rhythm is started and a think modulated unregulated synth sound comes through. A sitar like strike of the string and short burst of guitar feedback are added to the loop. The guitarist rides the feedback with a tremolo for a while. They end singing about horses over soft beater rolls around the toms and the guitar feedback loops. Bloody marvellous.


So much saxophone, so little jazz

October 2017
Green Door Store

Benen

Benen

Benen start the evening off, they are onstage one sitting on a low chair with a guitar, mostly bent over to control pedals and loopers, the other sat on the floor, with a mic and he’s similarly mostly bent over working away at devices. They counterpoint this low visibility with a nice set of abstract visuals. They eschew using the loopers for thickness, instead deploying an almost empty sound, some really nice scratchy loops that crackle like wax cylinders, wisps of feedback like a docker whistling several warehouses over. Occasionally you get notes of guitar ping or some sustained notes. There’s a bit of imaginative e-bow work as well. A subtle double track of an ascending guitar part with some worrying rubbing sounds that builds to a creepy crescendo quite lacking in histrionics, before dropping off to another creepy start, breaths and little bursts of treble.


Onin

Onin

Onin base themselves in the room area, sax and acoustic guitar played improv style, both playing back through small amps. Thin rails of quiet feedback attenuated by breath and direction. I don’t think I’ve seen such exquisite low volume control of it. At one point the sax player tilts back like a member of a 40s big band and instead of the honking overblown solo expected to erupt, there is a forceful piercing tremolo of almost horrific intent.


Well Hung Game

Well Hung Game

Well Hung Game finish the night off. Quite properly, there is some superficial overlap with Onin, but Well Hung Game set up on the stage and process the baritone sax directly through a monster effects chain. It starts off low key with thin tapers of sax warping off into swirls of delay and threads of distortion. They actually keep it pretty sparse which considering the potential for mayhem the GDS supplies it very restrained, occasionally flurries get into tail chasing loops that build up into something approaching terrifying, but they pull back before it gets out of control. The sax gets to work out in the more guttural regions as you’d hope from a baritone, but he spends plenty of time confounding you in the upper registers as well. During the final stages the saxophone is so twisted by the effects, gated to all hell it sounds like an electric guitar.


I didn’t mention the bats

September 2017
Green Door Store

Sunset Graves

Sunset Graves

I don’t properly train-spot the Sunset Graves kit, but I think there’s something modular in there, no sign of a laptop. There are thick sweet drones, the lead lines have a vague air of melancholy that channels the best early UK dance music, beats that never seem to actually loop, always evolving and slightly off centre. Pleasingly complex without losing the groove. Some proper bass that shakes my camera while I’m filming. One track from near the end has a heavyweight crush of reminiscent of Tackhead. All you can see of him is strings of red lights and thin coloured lines projected against the dark, in blocks – almost TV static. But not static.


Thomas Ragsdale

Thomas Ragsdale

Thomas Ragsdale is second up, after a quick handover, his visuals vertical lines that I can’t tell if waver with the beat or have their own lifecycle. Starkly monochrome after the neon purity of Sunset Graves’ colours. After the thick beatiness we’ve had Thomas starts pretty low key, half bass pulse and delayed piano figure with a spoken sample. There are some shiny guitar wash loops and ’89 vintage arpeggios that hint even further back to Edgar Froese, with a real sense of drama. He’s sparing with the beats, too, often a hinted at handclap scatter, or broken tambourine pattern.


¥ETI

¥ETI

Finally, we have ¥ETI, they start with just Adam, minus a good 18 inches of beard since I last saw him, hooded with some kind of Ood-like tendrils hanging out. They eschew the visuals of the rest of the evening. Adam building atmosfear with drones and Gregory Peck, and also does some good work in the lower registers. He does three numbers on his own before being joined by Tim the drummer from the Cosham Community Players Association, who basically goes the full Steve Noble: relentless hard driving free drumming, with one eye firmly on a pulse and the other ranging freely across the entire universe. They end up with a drum off between electronic and acoustic drums, which was pretty cool.


It’s all gone a bit crispy

August 2017
The Green Door Store

Spheress

Spheress

Spheress is up on stage when people start coming in, a mix of hardware and laptop, some synths and Volcas, he starts with a double duck being hit with a squeaky toy quickly escalating to an industrial beat, before eventually a bass drone warps in with a gabba kick and an old-style hardcore tone providing a pseudo bass line. It falls away to a different rhythm before it’s drowned out in a squall of drone feeding back through an ancient reverb box. Back to another beat and bass line before building up to a different kind of feedback distortion falling in metallic sheets. Another breakdown before he gets to work on the synths with a Crybaby wah wah, ending on a nasty layered 2 note fuzz attack.


The electrocreche is a bit funny tonight, we have only one toy as the other broke while I was setting up, we scrounge some kit from Spheress and end up with almost a no input electrocreche. Which turns out to be quite fun.


Xylitol

Xylitol

Unfortunately Ommm is poorly so we have Xylitol doing a solo set. I don’t think we were disappointed. Catherine starts her set with abstract lo-fi electronic noises, chimes, Tardis sounds and disembodied voices. Arrhythmic part comes in with a nasty fan drone washing in and out and it ends on some weird Bruce Haack tip. She has songs, mostly 2 to 3 minutes. The next one starts with a Raymond Scott vibe before heading off into something quite 90s J-Pop-ish, with a really nice full bass that slowly rolls out to a repeated quiet organ figure with delay feedback slowly mutating over it. Next up has a glitchy rhythm and Casio organ moving around all over it. I can’t even describe the next one, it has elements of toy music, minimal techno and subtle use of noise. And so it continues, elements of the last 50 years of electronic music, blended into something that sounds like all/none of them, modern and nostalgic, radiophonic and digital. She has a few copies of her 45 remaining, it’s very good, you should buy one.


Dylan Nyoukis

Dylan Nyoukis

Dylan Nyoukis is next up, as promised with his double cassette set up of complete audio mulch. Starting with a slurred down loop of some indecipherable something, a guitar string ping and scrape add some slight sense of rhythm to proceedings. The loops slowly open out, not quite lurching but definitely elliptical in their gait. Dylan works quietly away adding small touches, bringing things in and out slowing or speeding up a touch as required. It’s hypnotic and bizarrely hooked. At some point it sounds like he sneaked the ghost of a bowling alley into the Green Door Store before smuggling it out through the back. Suddenly it switches to something a bit more pier-ish, papier-mâché monsters in cases banging against the glass, Kids with lollipops hitting the metal stands while someone is noisily bending balloon animals. It’s quite dark in an Avengers manner. As the surrounding clutter falls away we find ourselves in a field, the cows moaning not quite happily. A glottal stopping owl starts an argument with a stretched violin chicken. Someone takes a ham fist to a typewriter. A shuffle of someone sandpapering next door winds down with someone talking very slowly backwards over the first musical drone of the set.


Olivia Louvel

Olivia Louvel

Olivia Louvel is finishing the evening off with a selection of songs from her new album “Data Regina” about Mary Tudor, with visual animations written specifically for the event. They’re an interestingly odd blend of almost 80s geometric solid figures with realistically modelled faces acting out various scenes from her imprisonment. I think. (You can see some of them here: www.olivialouvel.com/)
She starts with a glitchy piece with vocal fragments minced up with the light electronic rhythms. The second has a spacious buzzing bass line, with odd notes ringing around it with a full breathy vocal part. The third is more stately affair, “Good Queen Bess” all vocal layers, slow and moving. The next song “My Crown” eschews the space and fills the room right out with a throbby bass, with vocals and further bass tones. It’s a bit epic without breaking out into a full-on beat. So the next song has a very rhythmic structure, everything in it seems to pulse. The next has alternating pulses like it’s all modulated by a square LFO, but the vocals are fragmented, lost. Then straight into the next with Spartan martial snare rolls scattered. The second half has a harmonium slowly unfolding over it. She ends on a long version of “Love or Rule” starting with violin drones and parts, occasional buzz of bass, after a long while a set of machine-like rhythmic parts come in.