‘Ere’s one for yer

June 2016
Green Door Store

Tim and Dylan have found some new synths dumped outside, one in particular has some fine fine settings, but some busted keys. Let’s ignore those – we have Hardcore stabs to the max!

Dolly Dollycore

Dolly Dollycore

The first act of the day proper is Dolly Dollycore who has a new thing with laptop drones, field recordings and her array of small percussions. She starts with a verse, setting the scene before a recording of water, with layering in over the top transport and rumbles, bells recycling backwards under newer more personal words. The second piece seems more celebratory, the words looking forward where the first piece looked back. The backing is more tonal, there are notes and music and (even) beats. It’s pretty psychedelic, slow backwards gongs evolving into a foghorn climax and winding down in spaceship whirls and tambourine.


Sexton Ming and Jason Williams

Sexton Ming and Jason Williams

The second act is Sexton Ming and Jason Williams, which is idiosyncratic and very personal in a quite different way. Jason comes on first with the green first aid box belping and blooping while Sexton skulks up under a sheet in his underpants. There’s some growling and then he gets dressed and Jase switches to guitar while Sexton tries to light his farts. There is a bash through a Buddy Holly number that warps into “Addicted to Love” all in 90 seconds. Sexton then throws a mixture of Naphthalene and Dettol around while Jason plays bass oud and an ending falls into place quite perfectly.


Some Some Unicorn

Some Some Unicorn

Some Some Unicorn are in informal gathering of musicians led by Shaun Blezard who came down last year on his tour of seaside towns. On this occasion the Unicorns were all local:
Annie Kerr – Violin;
Gus Garside – Double Bass;
James Parsons – Drums
Andrew Greaves – Synth
Daniel Mackenzie – Synth
Chris Parfitt – Soprano sax
Jamie Sturrock – Shakahuchi
And Shaun Blezard on phone electronics.
They start with a composed piece of music called “Sustained Piece” by John Stevens – part of his book “Search & Reflect” that sets up the rest of the set quite nicely, it’s slow and evolving and gets everyone into the headspace that Shaun wants. That piece is about four minutes long and after that it breaks into a short duet by Gus and Annie, before switching back to drones. Even the occasional flurries of percussion or flute seem to be soft and loquacious, as the music fades in and out and I’d say most people spend around half of the set one way or another listening rather than playing. It’s all rather lovely.


Punterland

May 2016
Green Door Store

Broken Star

Broken Star

For various reasons, I’m not doing things at this show, and when I arrive Andrew and Tom have just started the Broken Star set. They set up on the floor of the Green Door Store, so as not to occlude the slide-show of Toms photographs of London. Updated since they first did this show at The Komedia. Tom’s getting some pretty nasty textures from his e-bowed guitar while Andrew switches around between electric piano and organ arpeggios, he hasn’t been wasting the things he’s learnt on his recent shows based around exploring Terry Riley’s mid sixties pieces, there’s some nicely psychedelic work afoot in here, slowly unfolding melodies in strange keys.


Leaver

Leaver

Second up is Leaver, one of whom toured with Tim Holehouse last year and enjoyed his show with us so much he had to come back to Brighton and spend some more time here. They do short constructed but completely unnerving songs. There’s something very sinister, unsettling about them. They do enjoy the live ambience of the GDS though, Angel at one point fleeing his laptop on the stage to howl around the room.


Ræppen

Ræppen

While he’s doing that Ræppen has robed up and quietly set up to the side of the stage, as Leaver wind down, Tim starts rubbing beach stones together and getting his loops into shape, he starts the throat singing and things really start to get intense,there’s some chanting, and sudden drops each time buildng back to a dense storm of rich textured vocalese.


SQ feat KET

SQ feat KET

Finishing off the evening SQ feat KET clean the stage standing to each side, Thomas Bjelkeborn on the right, a Wii controller and laptop glitching the voices coming from Koray Tahiroglu’s visuals fed in from the left. Slurred, degraded video of an old Siberian mangled up by Bjelkborn’s software. Its very clean sounding and digital after the analogue murk of the rest of the evening, interesting how much space you can get into something so distorted and messed up.


Shirt flapping fun

April 2016
Green Door Store

Hardworking Families

Hardworking Families

Billed as a laptop set, Hardworking Families do have one on stage and even plugged in. To the mains. Tom plays it with a small radio. passing the device back and forth over the screen front (AND back), keyboard, power supply etc., and feeding the results through his usual array of pedals and other malarkey. It’s a pure noise set with an interesting variety of tones and textures and I particularly liked the way you could see the source of the range of harsh tonalities.


Lend Me Your Underbelly

Lend Me Your Underbelly

Second act of the evening was Lend Me Your Underbelly, over from The Netherlands. He played a guitar and a synth into a super drone machine for the first set of the mentioned sartorial vibrational bassy goodness. Over this he plays some quite delicate pointed guitar, clean and understated. It’s a contrast that works well, giving the drones a wash of psychedelic overtones. It’s like a thick hearty, satisfying soup that also tackles your palate with some citrussy high notes for surprise and to top it off.


Futuro De Hierro

Futuro De Hierro

Futuro De Hierro is a somewhat different kettle of fish, although he keeps the clothes flapping away quite nicely. He’s thunderous in the Green Door Store and really makes the fullest sense. The beats distortion adds thunder, the bass gets everywhere in the room, and Matt the sound man gets stuck into the Strobes (“I don’t normally do this for the Spirit of Gravity, but…”). Viktor works at his sequencers and effects, shouting in Spanish and swinging the microphone round by the monitors so he can get to work riding the feedback. It’s a wonderful racket, and I laugh like a series of drains.


Birdsong and red noise

March 2016
Green Door Store

I love the first Spirit of Gravity show of the year that I get to walk to with a bit of daylight. This was it, just. There’s something of the light that gives me a right proper buzz. Even if it did herald a cold spell then some more rain…

minimal impact

minimal impact

We managed to prise Steve away from the Electrocreche for a minimal impact set. He’s doing a series of ten, each building on recordings of the previous one. In this case, enhanced with what he calls “Black Box III: the uncontrollable”. The sound comes in three layers, there is a background of deep bassy washes, indistinct murk hummering around the stinky corners, then digging into that are these vibrantly gritty buzzing chunks of sawtooth bass, then a mantle over that, separated by some distance of foggy treble. The uncontrollable device does plenty to keep it interesting, before I think, exasperated, he decides he’s had enough and abruptly truncates his set.


Bible

Bible

Bible are next up, Graham Zygotic drumming, Chris Parfitt switching between standard and alto flute. They start off with some pattering drumskins and the alto’s resonant tones entrapped by some fairly roomy delay. This naturally gets going into some fuller battering from the pair of them, Chris switching to the normal flute to get some squeal into things. Then G gets out his selection of pound shop sex toys, various bits humming and vibrating on the cymbals and strung up rattling the piccolo snare. We get the drum kit as a generator of tones and drones, with a different scape for Chris to work against.


Antipattern

Antipattern

Al Strachan sets up his Antipattern kit on the floor. No Volca sampler, so we’re bereft of an obvious rhythm, but we have not so obvious rhythms, plenty of them, as we’ll see. He starts with the trusty Strachan Cornet with some octave effects and gets the aquaphone into a glass of water, blowing bubbles through a pipe into it – pop pop popop pop, before wandering through the audience with it, still piping, swirling whooth whooth around his head, and then getting the aquaphone into the gob with a load of space dust, crack crack pop crackle. I’m glad I don’t have to clean up his kit. He never did get round to using the little wooden bird cage.

Resonant Blue with Lucy Day

Resonant Blue with Lucy Day

Finally Resonant Blue with guest Lucy Day on vocals and percussion. They set up on the floor, Jake with his laptop and keyboards, Lucy to one side with singing bowl and gong. They start off with things pretty electronic sounding, some filtered backwards sounds looping casually, some gentle brass washes from the percussion and Lucy’s breathy singing dreaming its way into your subconscious, then slowly they start drift off into fractioned shimmering acoustic guitars, microscopically dismantled into tiny fragments of light with Lucy’s vocals drifting effortlessly across them.


Guitar night

February 2016
Green Door Store

It’s still a bit light as I walk down the hill, this is always my favourite Spirit of Gravity show of the year; coming out of the darkness. It’s not raining, which also helps.

Elena Desai

Elena Desai Elena Desai has assembled a group of guitarists to accompany her film “Micro Infinity”, she’s sat up by the sound desk with her laptop playing the soundtrack and monitoring things. Onstage are the three guitarists, although one has an SH101as well judging from this angle. There’s some suspicious flanger, but that gives things a Twin Peaks creepiness at times, which adds to the films degraded and oversaturated but washed out feel. There is the impression of an unpleasant factory that lurks just out of view of the skies and streets visible through her window.


Swarbrooke

Swarbrooke You can see him onstage with a collection of effects and home-made boxes – a step sequencer and a couple of circuit bent toys. Swarbrooke starts up urgently with an irritated buzz, Harvey enveloped in a comforting darkness, he slashes some chunks of noise across it as the bee starts to warble in a far from idyllic manner. The chunks morph into a machine grind before we drop to something like a live mains applied directly to the head and into a popping rhythm into which he cuts some of the rawest noise I’ve heard in a long time, twisting into an oscillating morphing crush. At one stage you can make him out in the darkness, toy lights flashing as he carries something flashing around the stage screeching. It’s a truncated set, washing out to a thin white noise hiss, but shows how much imagination can be applied to something as seemingly restrictive as noise. Thrilling.


Jeff Stonehouse

Jeff Stonehouse Jeff Stonehouse finishes the evening off in a lovely wash of blue light with a red spot on the screen behind him. He has a long trestle table with his laptop at one end and a novelty guitar stand propping up his 60s Woolworth’s guitar at the other. An office fan blows ribbons gently onto the strings and occasionally he wanders over to it to jangle the bracelets that hang from its head or scrape the strings. The laptop processes all this and has some backing tracks possibly, or field recordings. The whole piece drifts almost in stasis, enveloping and warm. People sit on the floor (in The Green Door Store!) Shimmering developments slowly crystallise from the drones, time passes. I don’t fall asleep this time.
Apparently the performance is based on “the words just won’t come”.


That last Scope

January 2016
The Scope XVIII

I think it was a good one to end on, we’ve had a good run up here at The Caroline of Brunswick and put on a lot of rare stuff we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Thanks to Dan Powell for playing at so many of them.

Baby

Baby Baby was depleted even beyond the trio we were expecting, Adam Bushell turned up, set up his Vibraphone and drums, slept for an hour and then had to go home poorly. So we were left with Alfie on Double bass and Will on guitar and flute. I’d not seen Alfie before. He started with some plucked figures with Will interjecting on screwed up acoustic guitar, before switching to longer bowed figures and Will switching to flute, with some interesting overtones, switching between lower tones and almost feedback sonorities Alfie tapping the bass body in lieu of Adam, before dropping back to Will on the guitar chords and Alfie back off the bow. Before finishing strongly on long flute tones and bass rumble.


Andrew Greaves vs. the Electrocreche

Andrew Greaves vs the Electrocreche
The electrocreche was already set up playing through Andrew Greaves’ mixer in preparation for his set, where he would process it through a couple of monotribes (mmmm, a fetching pink number with enhanced Valvery) and add some Casio and some recordings from the bar downstairs. It slid in more or less seamlessly, the toy guitar feedback and cheap Yamaha synth merging with static cassette hi-hat staggers manufactured on the fly. Structure gradually emerging from the chaos as people rotated through the crèche toys and Andrew’s processing picked out different elements and manipulated them. Rhythmic patterns, pseudo sequences, bass lines. It was quite odd, you would be playing something on say the kids guitar and switch from one end of the neck to the other or drop off the overdrive and nothing you could immediately put your finger on would change, but the sounds would shift in quality but if you tried to make it a conscious thing – not a hope. In many ways this was the success of the evening as it seemed quite unlikely that it would work beyond being an interesting idea – everything else was a cert! It all finished with a percussive rhythmic part and the bar voices coming back in full strength, the guitar left unattended holding down some keys on the Yamaha.


The Static Memories with Will Miles

The Static Memories with Will Miles
Third was The Static Memories with Will Miles. Dan on electronics, Gus on double bass and effects, although pretty light on them generally and Will playing guitar. Lots of listening, sliding and pointillist punctuation. Odd notes, spaces, slurs of shimmery bees, unworldy string groans. Gus playing against what he’d been doing in his recent solo sets. Sparing and searing in his astringency. Dan almost like Roger Turner in the intensity of his staring at the other players. In musical terms what? Swatches of sounds often overlapping, textured but never dense, never a feeling of layering up loops or ribald noisery. Will scratching or pasting a staccato strum or bell like string pluck onto the process, redirecting things, almost bringing them to a halt at times before something else beckoned.


Fernando Perales

The Static Memories with Will Miles
Fernando Perales was on his second appearance at The Spirit of Gravity and it was nice to see him in the more intimate settings of the scope where you could see what he was up to with the guitar. He was actually travelling with just a guitar neck, but had borrowed a full body for the evening, flat on the table with effects arrayed around it and some bits and pieces for later use scattered about, for p[lucking, filing and layering around. He first worked out the spaces the un-tuned guitar afforded, how much rumble, wash and twang it would give up. So we worked around some drones initially, the edge of feedback, before clanging out some church bell chimes and getting some things into the strings and bridge and getting some resonant tubewheel scraping on. Unfolding from there through some warm space hiss into a gorgeous slow motion music box, which morphed into a windstorm flapping electronic noise and pulsing out into Moonlight Serenade.


The Baby feast begins

January 2016
Green Door Store

Goitt

Goitt Jack starts his set off with some statement making monster bass blasts. They really make full use of the Green Door Store’s extended bass frequencies, they’re slow and powerful and he builds up some other regular noises in there before picking up his saxophone and letting it rip into his effects chain. There’s some pretty heavy distortion in there and his playing pretty quickly builds in intensity, with the bass blasts getting twisted with pitch bends before it falls away and starts building again around a more complex sequence. I think he could barely talk for a while after the end of that, he looked completely blown out.


Komuso

Komuso Komuso (Derek and Cliff) are joined on stage by Der Rompf (Robert and Stephen). Starting slow, grit and warble with e-bowed guitar sliding in. A big metal sheet propped up against one of the GDS oil drum tables and electronic drums rattle in a Martin Denny-esque exotic patter, curling the guitar off into arabesques before fading out into noise and space whorls. Cliff has an interesting approach to the electronic drums, scraping around the edge and beating the limits rather than time. It builds again before sliding down to a quiet keyboard figure before some bassy growling gets them in the mood for proper metal bashing beats and space beeps to out.


Baby

Baby Baby start warble and growl; cornet against cello with vibraphone bell and scrape before it starts to get a bit ominous with some choral decay before will gets onto the acoustic guitar and thinks get into more spacious territory, Alice’s cello dropping to strummed bass figures, odd Vibe tones, stroke of drum and slow cornet or Korg from Al, before Will suddenly stands and switches to flute which picks thing up, Adam beating cymbals, Will circling, the synth toning and Alice harsh jars on the bass strings with a moment of suspension with Al’s effects suspended lighter than air before the cello drones in all scare and we spiral out to nothing. The second piece starts with scrapes and whispers against scurried string plucks, before flute drones in underneath and the Korg does a detuned space warble under vibes and voices and isolated short flute flurries before we do an odd revisit to Denny but in a somewhat more ribald fashion


See Agata’s Flickr collection of photographs of the show at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/agataurbaniak/albums/72157663258629026