Ghosts

March 2020
The Rossi Bar

We’re posting this now, a review of the last Show before Lockdown. It all seems strange now, being in the same room as friends and strangers. Enjoying people making music in the room, playing from their hearts into ours without the mediation of the internet. Writing this is partly a reminder to myself of what life was like a few weeks ago…

 

Ascsoms

So first up was Ascsoms, Adam, and a small table of kit. A bouncing word in a swirl of space delay starts the set, followed up by fatly quiet drone. He says something that’s distorted to hell into a munging delay, as space crickets and odd burbles get in on the act. A distant pair of notes as if played on a Mississippi bridge loop ominously, as we get odd foregrounded sounds like creatures of the river bank scurrying about their business. We get into a more industrial soundspace, like finding a vast working quarry in the middle of the downs. Giant Gerry Anderson machines slowly grinding their way round its circumference. We’re past, we can still hear the bridges in the distance, cyclists and door chimes, uncanny wildlife. This idyllic landscape becomes subtly more intense until it’s overwhelming. We go under a bridge where some pretty serious welding is occurring before getting into new, more tonal, country. A 3 tone beeping riff starts up, tape spooling, slowly denuded by a scouring wind bringing swarms. Finally we find some piece in some kind of saturnine lagoon. This was definitely a journey.


Meljoann

Second up was Meljoann. Mel, office ready, with laptop and recorder. I don’t have a recording of this set so my review will be light on details, sadly as it deserves them. Mel lured us in with her deceptive pop like charm, modern beats and shiny electro surface sheen but as with all our song based artists, she takes the songs off to strange places, amping up the energy levels with some rattling drums and extraordinary bass. I also get tricked by the brevity of her set and only get one song videoed. Its brilliant stuff, and we ask her back, but she’s done. You should have a look at her office life themed videos and feel nostalgic… www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhUrDac40s-VNUDMVVJYucqcqPKHchme2


Bela Emerson and Hervé Perez

And to round off the evening we had the return of Bela Emerson in a duo with Hervé Perez.  Bela on electric cello and electronics, and Hervé on laptop, electronics and occasional sax.  They start with Bela looping up a scouring edge of the bow on the cello strings and a nice edge of feedback drone, Hervé providing field recordings of birds in an electronic murmuration that swings in and out of sonic sight. He then brings in his first saxophone intervention. Flurries of notes, that Bela responds to, the birds swirl about too, before everything levels out in drawn out tones against an itching cello loop that drops away leaving the saxophone taking on electronic tones against a drone. Bela brings up a cello line and the sax drops away completely leaving her to slowly layer up an evolving that imperceptibly transforms into Hervé taking it on. I think this is the point at which Bela sat back with that smile of “this is why I love improvising” she takes back the line and passes it on again it a slow back on forth of stunning spontaneous composition. We move on, with Bela taking a slow bass line against bird song and smoky midnight sax. There is a hint of electronic manipulation from Hervé as he plays. After sitting back for a while Bela brings in a disarming cello loop of high frequency tremulous drone. Hervé octaves his sax against that to build the unnerving atmosphere some more. Bela contributes a bassline. And after an exchange of flurries from Hervé and an electronically mutated version of himself, Bela worries away at a bass string and the birds quietly return.  Hervé playing quiet high pitched bursts of notes, it rains, an odd 3 note trebly cello riff loops, Bela plays a slow line almost a drone it moves so slowly, Hervé’s electronics moving slowly round it, an accidental squeak gets into the looper and fades slowly away to smiles, an almost crystalline thin feedback line takes us slowly and beautifully to the end.


I think it was quite a show to take us into the current situation. It was our first night with visuals by midi-error, we were projecting onto the black curtain, which gave things a nicely subtle effect, but means you can’t fully appreciate them in the photographs and video.


The best excuse for being late to a sound check, ever

Something of a milestone in February, the Spirit of Gravity is dragged away from the usual geeks for a female-only show.

Embla Quickbeam

Embla Quickbeam did manage to get started at a sensible time, rather than far too early, and she rewarded us with a lovely humming set of freakish field recordings, ghostly sonar pings, bell peals from lost churches, and visiting drones from the other side. Apparently this set was decided on at the last minute as she’d been working on something new, but had suffered catastrophic system failures during the afternoon. Which was made up by finding a gorgeous clothbound copy of FC Judd’s book on electronic music. And still managing a blinding set.

Bela Emerson and Carolina Diaz

After a quick turnaround we had the debut of a new collaboration between Bela Emerson on Cello and Carolina Diaz,a Butoh dancer. The processed cello progresses from warm friendly tones to almost astringent modernity, while Carolina reversed herself in front of a low table and slowly formed a series of starkly disquieting shapes, the whole thing was mesmerisingly beautiful to watch and listen to, completely involving and quite beyond my ability to describe. A well realised collaborating improvisation between two artists working very differently – Bela’s eyes never left Carolina during the whole performance.

Sarah Angliss

Sarah Angliss I find slightly more within my linguistic ability. She set up with her famous Theremin stage centre, Hugo the robot boy up to the left, laptop, carillon and keyboard to the right with brand new robot drummer Wolfgang (the only electronic drummer called Wolfgang playing in the UK that night [take THAT Mr Flür ]). She started off using the Theremin as a controller for filtering vocals off the laptop – a sort of reverse vocoder. And it kind of goes from there – it’s a set of songs, using unusual techniques and instrumentation, a couple of favourites from Space Dog (“The Submariner” and “The Lankey” in a rather developed form) its another visit to the spooky side, with Sarah’s Fortean interests to the fore.

health and safety night

Axes, saws, Psycho style kitchen knives, and no proper block for keeping any of them in.

ALthough at least no-one was senseless enough to run around with any scissors.


The guitar Orchestra led the way with Dereks mighty chopper. . . . fnar


Headliners Bela Emerson, Geoff Leigh and Richard Miles actually came tooled up with nothing more dangerous than ferocious improvising skills.


Henry Collins , presumably as Slashs Wormhole although we never discussed it, disembowelled some unfortunate piece of wood.

And Noteherder & McCloud had unsuitable loose clothing for lathe work. Good thing there were no lathes in the shop.


Bela Emerson, Geoff Leigh and Richard Miles

The Spirit of Gravity | Myspace Music Videos


slashs wormhole – sog nov 2010

The Spirit of Gravity | Myspace Music Videos


Noteherder & McCloud live at The Spirit of Gravity nov 2010

Noteherder & McCloud | Myspace Music Videos

Ghosts and Aliens

I’ve been told some people are having problems getting the files to play, if you are, try saving them to your machine and playing them from there.

We have a new camera, and a new Minidisk Recorder, so its all gone a bit art this week. The full size picture of Gus in particular is a rare treat, scary powerful stuff.

Gus plays Bass

Thor and Dan process it – a set of results are here.

minimal impact also process Gus and some of their results are here.


Chevron give us a break from strings and plays a silver keyboard, this should have been the first outing for Chevvers new laptop, instead it was (hopefully) the last outing for the old one, poor broken thing, I’ve never seen a laptop struggle so manfully.


Bela played her Cello and this her new Viol, we were hoping to have a lovely clear shot of it, its quite lovely to look at, oh well.


Bela also played the Saw, and sang, the saw isn’t on our recording as we didn’t mic it up, but as she was processing her voice we did capture that.