Is half a guitar better than none?

February 2020
The Rossi Bar

Paul Khimasia Morgan and Gus Garside

First up are Paul Khimasia Morgan and Gus Garside. Gus plays his traditional double bass, Paul has the less traditional guitar body (the neck has been removed). Gus starts with the bow scratching the strings with his bow, Paul has a transducer jammed up against the back of the guitar riding a low tonal feedback. The double bass is producing a thin high-pitched circular scree that goes into the looper. Most un-bass like. A second slightly fatter and slightly lower loop joins it, before he jams a beater into the strings and produces a couple of thrums. The scraping stops as does the guitar tone, and we’re left with cello-like sonorities and the thrum in restful rotation.  Over this Paul and Gus layer a variety of noises, some odd detuning pings, drones. Gus squeaks his strings and Paul gets some bell like sounds. There’s some tension, anticipation of something. The tension builds. We finally get a little bass swoop that builds into a bit of a drone. And then, at last, a full beautiful bow sweep of the low strings filling the room. For a good amount of time, Paul sends out shrill shards of feedback whistles, chimes and clunks. A very satisfying end.


The Organ Grinder’s Monkey

The middle act was the welcome return of The Organ Grinder’s Monkey. The laptop, and black and silver jaguar in full effect. The first song sets out what he does quite nicely, the introduction has a fairly straightforward little guitar riff, the second time there’s a little processing on the third a pretty hard glitch and full on yammer at the end, then the backing track kicks in, and each time through the processing gets more pronounced. There are some backing vocals I’d never noticed before, and extra layers. Its catchy and pretty messed up. The second song is pretty straight, upbeat, tuneful, vocals for 2 verse and chorus’ then the games controller he’s given out to the audience beforehand takes control, tremolo, filter, sweeps, things cut out and come back or repeat or stammer. It’s a lot of fun, and stops its always over too soon. The third starts with super fat blocks of bass and guitar feedback and lopsided beat. The breakdown at the end is an immense set of synth bass, drones and detuned guitar.  The fourth song has a false start, but does start with some odd filtered voice, layered up, over a distant beat, spiky guitar figure, replaced by gated wash, and a weird guitar hero sustain solo. He finishes with 2 new ones, the first a 2 chord riff over some shudder electronics, that nicely degenerates into false stops, uneven gating, and a full strength glitching using the controller again. The final piece is a cover of a song from a local hero from his home town. Political. Hooky. “I know, you are, evil”.


Leifert

Finishing off the evening are Leifert, from Croatia via Leeds – they start unannounced eschewing my introduction and looming up over the general hubbub. They have a lovely synth a big square box, no keyboard, with an array of satisfyingly solid knobs on top, I made a note of the name and lost it. Its partly midi controlled and partly live fiddling. Petra stands at the back singing. The sound is correspondingly solid, strong basses, pinging tops and fidgeting drum tracks. The melody lines swerve around, timbre changing as the pitch swoops. The atmosphere they generate reminds of a couple of 80s duos I used to see in The Fridge, I briefly wonder if we’re living in the 21st Century Weimar, and then they get some proper arpeggios going and the temp picks up and the mood all changes. This one is all about driving onward. The intensity drops for the next one and we get back into slurred notes and washes, the beats are fast but lighter weight, Petra’s voice floating around over the top. The beats gather weight and the washes become more urgent as we move on. The next track starts with a four to the floor bass drum and staccato jabs of toppy synths. These are then mirrored by some detuned bass, which sees some nice filter work, getting at once buzzier and squelchier at the same time. It ends with the drums dropping out and the bass getting fatter and tastier and fatter and tastier. Nice. The last track has an almost comic stepping bass line and frenetic drums, the middly synth rolls around growling like a set of cats singing on you wall avoiding boots. Some strange melodic line comes in over the top with Petra singing in unison with it. Disconcerting. A monster sawtooth bassline finishes it off, like something from “Playing with Knives” underpinning a deranged dub with sounds zooming everywhere.


… and it all started out so nice

July 2017
The Rose Hill

minimal impact

minimal impact

So, a little holiday from The Green Door Store, but we will be back there for this month. But it was a lovely trip out to The Rose Hill. Where Steve started with a remarkably bucolic start to a minimal impact set, with his Indian drone box and harmonium, slowly dredging up the trademark thickening that we’ve come to know and accept… weird wandering resonances, fuzzy tones warming imperceptibly, like a small guitar propped in a corner. About 5 minutes in its starting to sound like a normal, if slightly chilled, minimal impact set. Shortly thereafter the bass begins to kick in, heralding the start of proper density, the sound begins to properly thicken up, the sitar-y tones disappearing in the murk, as creepy judders, and hisses wash across the tonal base. By 10 minutes it’s properly intense, and just continues to build, peaking at about 18 minutes. At some point he starts spinning in 2 copies of “Metal Machine Music”, adding an unsettling note of familiarity, a little relaxation before the ending back with MMM overlaying the drone box.

To go with the holiday theme, Toby from the 55th Flotilla was kind enough to run the electrocreche for us this month, bringing in a fine array of properly mangled, way beyond merely bent, toys. Lovely.


Ræppen

Ræppen

Ræppen was next up, Tim becowled, with his Sami drum, looped some throat singing into a pedal, a fairly lengthy set of phrases, with some whistling and proper bass end notes. Over that the drum was rattled along with some more singing, before it faded out over some Brighton beach pebbles he’s been touring with for a few years, rattling and thumping on the stage floor. Again looped with sparse bells and chimes. Wind breaths add a chilling edge, before he brings in the throat singing as a top line this time -almost like an SH101 synth line wah-ing over the backing. Unhuman, and definitely uneasy stuff.


Far Rainbow

Far Rainbow

Third up we had Far Rainbow, Monster Bobby on noise making devices and Emily on drums and percussion, she has a great way around a drum kit, slipping between regular sticking and extended techniques and mousetraps. They start with the sound of the steppes again, wind and rattling bits and pieces, a bass pulse very slowly cycles underneath as Emily builds up work on the cymbals and it drops away to eeriness. An organ cycles in, it sounds Casio, with a slow vibrato, field recordings playback through cheap speakers, slowly rhythms emerge from the electronics, the drums comment on it without joining them, circling round the kit in the opposite direction. It hits peak treble before decaying to a tape loop of a diesel boat making little headway on the Norfolk Broads. It has a monstrous quality to it as it gurgles away the birds slowly coming to the fore as again Emily rattles distractingly on the kit. Slowly Bobby brings drones in and it cascades out in washes of pure reverb and drum, emptying down to gong and triangle.


Annie Kerr, Kev Moore and Gus Garside

Annie Kerr, Kev Moore and Gus Garside

And to round off the four acts of the evening we have Annie Kerr, Kev Moore and Gus Garside, on respectively violin & piano, electronic devices, double bass and words. Annie starts on violin, there is a general trebly hubbub of chirruping electronics, Gus and Annie sliding strings around, it’s slippery, elusive. Rather lovely. Sounds wash in and around, it falls out at one point to Gus bowing his bass endlessly with the side of the bow, strings resonating through his effects chain. Overtones and undertones sliding in and out, Kev and Annie conjure almost human voices to hum alongside it. And then Annie goes and picks out some notes on the piano at the side of the stage, small flourishes, space, more notes. Gus and Kev bring a tension under them as Annie gets stuck in leaning over the keyboard hammering a longer series of notes up and down the keyboard, then slowly falling away, picking out a few odd notes. The room is enthralled. From somewhere in the electronic murk it sounds like East Croydon announcements, Gus starts telling one of his stories, Annie punctuates his lines with hard notes. At the end of that Kev gets a feedback vocal tone going and this is matched by a high line from Annie, they circle each other before Gus brings in a lower bowed drone and Annie gets a bit more lyrical, slurring a single note for several minutes up and down the neck of the violin wringing some harshly melancholic tomes from it.


Just in time

November 2015
The Scope XVI

Gus Garside

Gus Garside Gus Garside started the evening with an introduction, and then a piece by James Tenney called “The Beast” which was a complex microtonal piece from a visual score, all bowed often two strings sounding, long notes , very technical and about 6 minutes long “it’s called ‘The Beast’ because it IS a beast”. I should coco.

Then he treated us to a brief burst of his classic clacking improv, eschewing normal bowing – although he did use the bow to beat and jab at the strings, this would have loosened him back up and cleared the way for what appeared to be the first of a couple of semi structured pieces. One used loops of voice sounds and the other loops of double bass sounds, centred around the story of a lad who liked a song called “Good Timing” by Jimmy Jones, which ended with Gus in full flight singing the chorus of the said fifties marvel, before finishing with a slightly more extended improvisation blending all the techniques available. Really nice to see Gus stretch his wings this way rather than the maybe more focussed sets we’re used to.


Franck Barriac

Franck Barriac The second act of the evening was Franck Barriac, over from France for the Himmel massed organs show at Cafe Oto. He was sitting at the back of the room with a quadrophonic setup, the usual Caroline PA behind us and two extra channels at the back, in front of us. Franc’s set was a soundscape piece based around urban field recordings and tones. It’s amazing how unused we are to this surrounding kind of performance, especially with the artist in front of us, sounds from behind (even after the introduction telling us it would happen) seem really disconcerting. Anyway a really nicely structured piece, partly pre arranged and partly improvised, I gather from talking to him.


Futuro De Hierro

Futuro De Hierro Finally it was Futuro De Hierro from Spain. We utilised the extra speakers to boost up the sound – which was handy as it happened, as a few minutes into his set the main PA seemed to glitch out, although those of us sat at the back didn’t notice as we were immersed in the joyous racket lurking up behind us. A quick work around the cabling and it all seemed OK again, but Viktor seemed a little subdued. Still some excellent beats and bursts of noise, and some really interesting kit to look at. We must get him back for a full throttle set at The Green Door Store.


Me and Steve got really nice clear lathe cut 10s off the merch stall as well (a run of 23 – who could resist).


wreckless recommends

Apparently Eric, who was playing at The Albert, asked his crowd why on earth they weren’t at ours to see Eugene Chadbourne.
And quite right too.

I thought we’d start with a picture of SoG regular Simon hacking his teddybear at the elektrocreche.



Set up next to the elektrocreche was Vache who was handspooling VHS for the visuals.


It was a tough show to schedule but someone had to go first, Henry grasped the nettle and took the opportunity to play a full length Slashs Wormhole set in three parts. pt I featured a tennis racquet and ping pong ball and harp chair, followed by a duet for exercise bike/bass hurdy gurdy and fuzz guitar and rounded off with a duet for toolbox and vuvuzela.

Sandwiched in the middle were Gus Garside, Annie Kerr and Monty Oxymoron, who I’m trying to convince call themselves HaHaHa. This a bit from near the end where Monty was whacking a brass dog he had stashed under the birdcage.


And the main event was Eugene Chadbourne, starting on banjo and finishing on electric guitar (including a rousing version of “City of Corruption”). This is the first song, possibly called the old piano.

Eugene Chadbourne live at SoG Sept 2010

The Spirit of Gravity | Myspace Music Videos

Eugene Chadbourne live at sog September 2010

The Spirit of Gravity | Myspace Music Videos

Gus Garside, Monty Oxymoron and Annie Kerr – Monty spanks

The Spirit of Gravity | Myspace Music Videos

Slashs Wormhole live at SoG sept 2010

The Spirit of Gravity | 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.