Over winter, into summer. It’s still in the box.

June 2019

The Rossi Bar

Muster

Dan Powell was perched just off the edge of the stage, with all his kit on a table onstage. He was (to all appearances or whatever the audio equivalent is) working mostly electronically, rather than filtering small percussion. He had some new Raspberry Pi devices and switched between tonal washes, thrums and scratchy electronics. James O’Sullivan was using prepared guitar, mostly with it horizontal on his lap, things under the strings, things over the strings, around the strings, pulling at the strings, tweaking, scratching. Occasionally shouting or whistling into the pickups. They work together well, listening, switching, complementing. Dan dropping out so James can scratch, James dropping out to let a bass-y spacey noise pass through their sonic universe. Muster is a duo of subtleties, odd quiet things that impress. Which isn’t to say that they don’t get loud or frantic there’s a nice sequence with a bubbling synth noise, some clumping sounds and James picking up his guitar in an orthodox hold and fretting at it in quite a frenzy. Or another point where he has it feeding back – albeit in a quiet and controlled manner. Overall, it’s a set I’m happy to listen to with my eyes closed, which means I don’t get the pleasure of watching them worry away at their devices, and it is a pleasurable watch, full of interesting activities.


Dolly Dollycore

Dolly Dollycore returns with her latest reworking of the piece she did last time she played for us. Along with her vocal, gong & percussion, her laptop work has moved on a step with the addition of a controller adding extra levels of inference. She starts with the gong, booming and more tickling stick work, she weaves in and out of the acoustic and electronic worlds, sometime her voice, sometimes percussion, sometimes electronics, combining, layers of recorded and live voices, words. Creepy hints of savannah nights worm through. It’s more disturbing than previously. The electronics wield field recordings, recorded percussion and musical fragments, they build shapes around her words and drop down to silence for some particularly salient point. Emphasis. This time I didn’t cry though.


Mai Mai Mai

Finally we have Mai Mai Mai, he’s live soundtracking a film of a southern Italian religious festival filmed in the 50s full of possessed folk dancing, singing, rolling on the floor and such. One problem is that Toni’s synths are still somewhere in Italy, this is the first day of his tour and they didn’t arrive when he did. In fact they stayed in Italy for the whole of his trip. Fortunately he did have his hand luggage, with laptop including a pre-recorded version of the soundtrack, some effects and a couple of pieces of kit he can use. And use well. Voices whisper, things creak, there is NOISE, booms. As suits a soundtrack it’s pretty abstract – at times building up to some pretty torrid sound pressure. At other times it settles down to odd rhythmic patterns with sonic washes and tones. Sometimes the voices come through strong talking, singing, laughing. Strong, but not un-effected. There’s a nice lengthy section with some monks singing layered up with a child’s voice and some church bells slowed down to infinity. His set ends on a two tone pulse with Residents-y singing, gradually being swamped by increasingly massive drones…


Out the corner of your eye

March 2018
Green Door Store

Operationz

Operationz

101, 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).


‘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.