I have life on other worlds

May 2018
Green Door Store

Binnsclagg

Binnsclagg

Binnsclagg started the evening off with what was probably the best set I’ve seen them do. They have a certain reputation (they claim completely undeserved) for power tools, noisy chaos, found poetry and leaving a hell of a mess. None of this was apparent. Verity and Karl had an oil-drum table each of things with acoustic or electronic intent, and set to work about them; psychedelic warble, cassette voice, rattle, thrum, grandmother’s clock. It’s quite spacious unlike the super-dense harshness of the last time they played. They even take turns to read. There are rhythmic sections, which quite confused me. They play chimes against thin feedback and distant jazz while Verity reads, its rather lovely, which I wasn’t expecting to write. It ends in pings dissolving into giggles. As it should.


Ned Rush

Ned Rush

The meaty filling in the sandwich was provided by a nice AV set from Ned Rush. He was running a modular synth, and linked that up to a laptop to create some kind of generative visuals. A lot of the visuals had that kind of kinetic thing going on so you constantly feel like you’re travelling into the screen. In the absence of having videoed his whole set I won’t reference his visuals again. The sounds started with small tonal blips and hums, scatter glitches and tiny squelches. It’s the most freeform thing I’ve seen anyone do on a modular, managing to avoid the tyranny of clocking or LFO. This is followed by something where he gets a hum and white noise loop going, with an acidy squelch with a growl that becomes a bassline. This deepens in intensity and rhythmic intent, like some odd hyper-interlocked rave where someone has stolen the 909. He slews in these odd concrete sounds and nasty drones to keep you off balance, and the breakdown when it comes almost makes you stagger sideways with its glitching detunedness. The final piece really pushes it, like something from a chill-out room of a party where the ketamine has been laced with strychnine and half those present are travelling backwards through time. Great stuff.


Johanna Bramli

Johanna Bramli

And finally we had the return of Johanna Bramli, also playing against visuals, she’d taken down the screen show they were ghostly against the black curtains. Starting with a slow humming tick rhythm and organ layered with wordless vocals she was the otherworldly manifestation of the film she was showing. The piece mutates slowly, some piano, odd voices, external sounds, some singing. In many ways this is the kind of thing I wanted from Laurie Anderson last time she was here; proper haunted, mysterious, emotionally haunting music. She breathes and plays some single stringed DIY instrument, thin feedback tremors wailing across the room, underpinned by a monstrous block of bass that pulses monolithically into the room while god moves chairs around upstairs. A head itch rhythm stealths into the song and tines ping, then it all shifts suddenly – lightweight arpeggios echo back around the room and the bass battering is gone, there is some singing before it dissolves into rain, and a bubble bath of small synthesizer an organ drone and more wordless vocals through to the end. Bloody lovely.


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.