Bad timing, great music

June 2015
The Scope XI

Ah going up against Liebezeit and Irmler was always going to be tricky, I know Andrew was up there, and Tony couldn’t make it down for other reasons and Steve was in Bracknell so we’re light on the ground. Still the electrocreche is a lovely falling object App on Dan’s phone and Stan’s orange tone generator which saw such good action at The De La Warr Pavilion.

Inwards

Inwards It doesn’t meant it’s not quality, mind. first up is Inwards doing a Patch from scratch set, where he starts with his modular completely bereft of patch leads and build up a set completely on the fly. Those in the know set up behind him, so we can watch the sweat fly. It’s fascinating to watch and Kristian produces some pretty decent sounds.


Ragamatic

Ragamatic Next up is Ragamatic over on the briefest of visits from Germany – he flew in at lunchtime and has to hare off to Stanstead for an early flight which basically means fleeing at 9:30… So we basically have two classic ragas on sitar with backing tracks and some live processing. The first has a slow distorted rhythm, noises rather than beats. The whole floating in spite of the tempo. The second raga has a short tabla / drum machine loop, and a breakdown with an evil overdrive phased section on the sitar sometime around the middle. On the whole it falls somewhere between Hot Roddy and Same Actor on the vector of known sitar performances at SoG, in terms of feel, but actually built around a proper raga than an improvisation built for MaxMSP patches or junglism.


Thomas Stone

Thomas Stone Swarbrooke is poorly so we quickly (far too quickly) enter the realms of the last act of the evening. Thomas Stone also has to get home, though he doesn’t have quite as far to go, he still needs to leave sharp. The Contrabassoon is a beautiful instrument, old smoked wood and brass, curling with the country house air of an old shotgun. The tone is full and autumnal. Thomas has some backing tracks and a loop station along with a snare drum with a couple of transducers perched on top. The backing is simple, single harmonic tones, brief phrases, the activated snare is used sparingly and the overall affect is rather beautiful, we finish the evening on the verge of tears.


Dan and I end up downstairs with another pint talking about Daoism and Buddhism until Steve and Dave turn up from the other show fired up and glowing.


Snowmen and black hats

February 2015
Green Door Store

Thanks to everyone who came out on such a cold and miserable evening.

Special words first for the combination of Matt the sound man and Steve minimal impact who between them get this weird delay on the electrocreche that delays a piano sound by 5 seconds and turns it into a human voice. Quite freaky and excellent.

Inwards

Inwards The first act in at short notice for Guards! Guards! who can’t get their vocalist across the north sea, is Inwards – Kristian from the [beep] collective, with visuals from Irie pixel. Inwards is set up on the floor of the stage under the projections, he has a flight case with a modular synth and a drum machine. Interestingly he goes for an almost Baion rhythm with the bass drum, giving the start of his set a latin feel while the analogue synths cascade around it. He tweaks and turns at the knobs filtering and bringing the drums in and out. The visuals are good, mirrored lines, geometric tunnels, occasional blocks of code. Constantly flowing alongside the changes in Kristian’s music.


The Organ Grinder’s Monkey

The Organ Grinder's Monkey Second up is The Organ Grinder’s Monkey, Ben with his shiny guitar and helter skelter rhythms. I’m still not used to anyone being organised enough to monitor their set with stereo headphones while they play and he displays some nifty footwork controlling things with a midi footpad. He starts with an old song and belts through the first half at a pretty snappy pace ending up with the song where he hands a gameboy controller out to the audience (this time Kristian) who really gets into it, chopping and filtering stuttering and laughing like a drain playing havoc with Ben’s tune while he thrashes away on stage. Its a nice juxtaposition and you can really see the advantage of headphones for this one as he’d be lost trying to play along to what’s issuing from the speakers.


Olivia Louvel

Olivia Louvel If I always say that Ben sounds like Brian Eno circa 1980, then Olivia Louvel has something of the De La Salle of the 21st Century, thick warm beats and lovingly extended bass. One definite advantage she does have is a hell of a voice, which even on this outing you feel you’re only really getting a mild taste of. She does have quite the best mic technique I’ve seen on the stage of the Green Door Store at our nights, controlling volume, timbre and tone impeccably. Starting slowly with deceptively stately beats and long bass tones, she was peaking in the middle of a set with choppy pop song with circling multiple voices and warbling tones and trailing off with a drivingly insistent number with an on off bass that almost felt played with a switch.