An opportunity for reflection

August 2018
Green Door Store

I’m Dr Buoyant

I'm Dr Buoyant

So in front of an animation of a method of straightening a spine twisted by scoliosis Tony Rimbaud aka I’m Dr Buoyant wrestles with his dark looping equipment and tries to distract our slightly perturbed eyes. He starts off with a drone of heavy slow machinery drawn up through a long zinc tunnel, occasionally a slow human moan or stellar slope of thin fuzztone guitar emerges and disappears, before the dark wind takes over. Footsteps come up the tunnel, the two tone riff of the guitar comes back with a jetliner friend. The riff filters out into a horrible thin resonant ghost of itself before Godzilla’s vast footsteps stomp in. Some really nicely detailed trebly grained up drones wash through everything from here with some flying saucer pulses that eventually soar off into a delay loop hammershop crunch. And finally we get washed up with a really nice layered drone that degrades well into a locked groove.


Not for the Suffering Type

Not for the Suffering Type

Iain Paxon & Eleanor Campbell, performing as Not for the Suffering Type, set up on the floor in front of the stage on one of the trestle table covered in a range of keyboards and things, Iain having a bass guitar. Eleanor plays a long descending keyboard part into a looper. Iain plays a bass part, and sings. Eleanor punctuates things with odd sounds. A drum part is written into the Volca beats. It’s wonderfully low key and engaging. Eleanor reads from her book. The bass rolls gently, the noises squirrel around them.


Distant Animals (in a forest of signs)

Distant Animals

Distant Animals (in a forest of signs) finish us off for the evening, with a set of 3 or maybe 4 halves… starting at a mic stand in front of the stage Daniel Alexander Hignell is dressed in a rabbit outfit. This goes on for a while then he peels that off and gets into a worn dinner suit. I don’t think he’s said anything during this time. Nor made a sound. He gets onto the stage left and some business goes on with a cassette player. His accomplice at some stage appears at a chalk board. There are projections based on a camera pointing at the blackboard that feeds back into the main screen. An oddly modulated string part emerges from the cassette. And he makes some odd sounds on some things he has on a table a zither I think. At some stage he gets down of the stage and changes into some NDW type cap sleeved t shirt and things get into a bit of a modular stomp. We then get into an odd bit where the groove goes, and we have the acoustic things getting processed going through a tablet, and the cassettes come back. It’s somewhat confusing, definitely entertaining and if I hadn’t almost immediately gone on holiday I’d be able to remember what I thought it was all about…


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.


Three weeks late of the writing

December 2016
Green Door Store

I’m writing this in the hangover mist between Christmas and the New Year, I have video and recorded evidence to remind me, but my mind is frozen with stale beer & wine and congealed gravies.

The last Spirit of Gravity show was a good one, I do remember the warm glow at the end of another evening. But we’ve had a good year, again, so thanks to everyone who played in 2016.

Cutlasses

Cutlasses

First act for the December show was Cutlasses, Scott Pitkethly’s solo electronic act. He has a bright blue electric guitar plugged into his laptop, some home-made boxes on the table and some more on the floor. The electronics whirr his cleanly plucked guitar up into a mandolin frenzy while half heard airport voices murmur expectantly in the background. Vast slabs of sound sweep across the mix, rhythms tack and totter, and suddenly Scott unexpectedly wails off into some soaring guitar action with accompanying Ponderous drums. It’s not the only time he really messes with us, though. Deep tone basses and abstract digitally filtered guitars predominate, but there are plenty of excursions into weirder shifty patterns and rhythms, and sideways steps into sonic flight before ending with a stumbleover drum track and shiny overdriven guitar.


I’m Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines

I'm Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines

Second up for the evening is the return of East of Eden/West Hill Blast Quartet saxophone man Ron Caines with I’m Dr Buoyant. Ron sits stage left on one of the new uncomfy chairs that have replaced his usual Velvety throne, on the other side is Tony Rimbaud/I’m Dr Buoyant with his array of ill defined electronic goods. Tony starts with some vaguely unhealthy sounding loops that ooze out of the speakers, Ron adding some lonely lines across the top. He follows a melodic thread with occasional flurries of notes cascading out. Its rather scary, but beautiful with undertones of loss and decay.


Johannah Bramli

Johannah Bramli

Rounding off the evening we have Johannah Bramli, if ever something deserved to be heard through the PA at the GDs it’s her current set. Some things really benefit from the extended bass and a bit of volume….

She has prepared some visuals that she has running from the laptop she also uses for running Ableton at her feet, plus a MicroKorg some kind of one stringed instrument and at least one home-made wooden box. A lot of her set starts with a vocal manipulation. Some shimmers, a shudder or two of bass and a bit of ticking rhythm. There is a field recording of voices talking and slowly the shifting takes form and a song emerges from the mist of sounds she’s prepared before being subsumed back into the playground of statics and warbles. The second piece has a MONUMENTAL slab of bass that steps across it when it takes form. Around this builds a rhythm of whacked stainless steel doors and industrial surfaces. The bass and clatter stops leaving some analogue glitch and static to continue while piano leaks in from another dimension pulling in some more vocals from Johannah and then it’s off to space for the end.


Gnarly duos

April 2015
The Scope

Renfield

Renfield Renfield is Dan Powell and Geoff Cheesemaster, Dan had his laptop with some Pure Data patches scratching out noises fed through an effects chain while Geoff had a no input mixing desk setup with some old fuzzboxes and a couple of analogue delays feeding off an old noisy Yamaha mixer. Definitely it was one of those things where you’re wondering who the hell is making that sound. Dan’s output was quite digital and grainy, but the effects chain put some analogue spin on that and the two setups merged into a nice mulch of noise. Textural.


I’m Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines

I'm Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines Ron Caines and I’m Dr Buoyant started with Colleen-ish chimes looping from Tony and Ron slowly starting in on his soprano sax from the shadows off at the side, the whole thing was rather lovely, aching with melancholy. It took some time in unfolding before Tony got to work on the effects units and it degenerated into something altogether a bit gnarlier, with Ron picking up the Alto and blowing a bit and Tony got into some orchestral rhythm hammering. They then seemed to do a piece based on loops of Ron’s Sax and it all went into an uneasy dreamstate before rounding off in a circular synth sweep with heavily delayed sax resonating feedback washes overlaid. A really good performance from Ron and Tony, possibly their strongest to date. They’re up again at SafeHouse soon.


Chemical Bbrench

Chemical Bbrench Chemical Bbrench is Karl Waugh and his mate Felix. Apparently they play annually, but its their first time at The Spirit of Gravity. They had two guitars, two lots of effects chains and all played back through the PA. Literally. Occasionally you can tell a chunk of noise originates in some chirruping fret run or string scrape, but rather than guitar music it was mostly a solid blast of effects chain full throttle overdrive leavened with slow phaser grinds and broken down by low bouts of feedback. The temptation is to think of it as a straight noise set, but listening back, its a lot more nuanced than that, quite textured and with some nice interplay between the two of them. Which isn’t to say that it didn’t have some nice HNW moments.


Not all as advertised

September 2014
Month 2 of the Scope was great fun.

Benzo Fury

We’d booked Daniel Spice and Verity Spott expecting wordplay and were completely outflanked and got a tasty improv session from the debut outing of the pair, Verity on Cello and Daniel on his usual varieties of trumpet, bamboo sax, and percussion. Dan was on fine form playing some nice lines and they worked really well as a duo. Unfortunately, no photographs appear to exist for this performance.


I’m Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines

I'm Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines I’m Dr Buoyant and Ron Caines have played together a few times now and Tony Rimbaud seems to bring out the best in Ron, giving him the freedom to weave his lines as he wished. At the start Tony started by working on Ron’s sounds, looping and effecting them round. As the set progressed he worked up some more orthodox backing tracks to rumble away under Ron’s improvisations.


Ashtoreth / TCH

Ashtoreth / TCH Rounding off the evening Tim Holehouse in collaboration with Ashtoreth. Ashtoreth started by burning a great swathe of Sage in a quite alarming manner before getting to work on his acoustic guitar loops. Tim had some doom-y chords going on under that before they both got into some gravelly vocalising and then twin electric guitars sweep up all the loose ends in the looping stations and Ashtoreth gets back to the acoustic guitar for the finale.


Unfortunately, we also have no video available for this event.

not far behind a very odd thing

Using my blurry pictures for this one as I like them

I’m Dr Buoyant vs Official Licensed Product

And gloriously missing the point

A surprise visit to a quiet place

For various reasons The Green Door Store didn’t happen for us in May, luckily (very as it turned out in the end) Sara Jane found room for us and we had a magical evening At The Coach House, with

I’m Dr Buoyant and Hope to Coax

Roshi feat Pars radio

Nil

And a little bonus video of a non SoG show that I think you’ll like – The Monkey Puzzle Trio – featuring Charles Hayward from This Heat on drums.