Roll up roll up for a grandstand finish

December 2018
Green Door Store

Noteherder & McCloud

Noteherder & McCloudSo our last show at The Green Door Store started with Noteherder & McCloud grey suited as usual, but sadly lacking the drummer we were expecting due to ill health, but still it was a pretty good set (even if I do say so myself).  Starting with a monster slow bass pulse soon this was joined by a circling, swirling reverb-y soprano sax. After a while of this the bass switches over to a mid-tempo arpeggio, and the sax takes flight over some aeroplane hums. The bass stops leaving the plane drone hovering, the sax becomes plaintive. Everything drops away leaving Chris circular breathing a lengthy note. A squelching digital mains pulsing starts, Chris shouts into the sax, feedback loops build up in the FX chain and things become hard to source while I laugh. Things get denser and more unfocussed The sax gets pretty serious, weird bass runs happen and nothing is under control. This reaches some sort of crescendo then some lengthy looping 2 note bass line swerves in, derailing everything, the sax gets distant and beautiful, electronics shimmer and decay around us. The high point of the set. After that we get some bass-y noise, some fast arpeggiating and Chris lets rip again.


Buckner Building

Buckner BuildingNext up were Buckner Building; a table of things that sound, a backing accordion drone and rhythm device, violin and a fuck off huge recorder and a teeny tiny recorder all make a contribution during their set. They open with fiddle drone and plain voice with occasional thickened flourishes of violin and odd rattles and sniffs before we get a scary layering up of voices and whistled nightmares and a sudden switch into medieval dance tunage to confuse us before returning to the stark open folk of the beginning for the end. That pretty much set the tone for their set. Five songs of misdirection, tunefulness and decay, rattling drum machines and drones. The second song has a John Barry-esque section underpinning a song about two Herons in the evening. The third a grinding hurdy gurdy drone and recorder that gives way to an antipodean flute and drum track. The fourth a light fluttering that drops into Tuxedomoon cabaret, the final song opens with a gloriously spooky xylophone part over some unravelling drones supplanted by a heartbeat bodhran that in turn gives way to a 4/4 whistling jig before again circling back to the dark opening drones.


Or

So Or, is Resonant Blue with a percussionist, they’re sat behind a bench stuffed with electronics at one end and rattle an bangy things at the other (and on the floor and other tables next to them). At this point it’s best to say that there is no guitar (in spite of my references to one later on).  They push a succession of singing bowl chimes, shakers, bells and some tuned percussion into a looping laptop over a simple bass drum and slow feedback wobble. The layered looping works well with this kind of rhythmic dance music derived groove. Some are on extra long loops that take a while to come back. A fat bass peeks out, and the rhythm parts shuffle round for a while. The whine and a thick mid range rumble wash everything away and some machinery cycles in, we get some matchingly harder percussion and more insistent melodic loops are set off by an axle grinder. It all get s a bit intense. The percussionist yelps. It sounds like someone is e-bowing a guitar in a wind tunnel. At this point some massive south American bassline walks into a bar with an electric whip drum to accompany him. The percussionist works around this for a while, we get some layered up chittering voices that twist into a backward conversational loop that set us up u for the ridiculously heavy bass that takes us lumbering into the next section. The percussionist digs out a megaphone and lets rip and a second fuzzy bass starts fizzing around the first. The Djembe works around the basses taking us into some pretty definite On-U-Sound space. Cascading echoed shells herald the final part, the bassline faster but no less heavy; some backward guitarral squeal melody; rhythm parts more syncopated playing off each other – the percussionist gets to work on the rim of the singing bowl, really working away on that thing. You can see it leaping in his hand. He’s right there with it. The rest is taking care of itself the percussion parts still whirring round, he is right there with that bowl until everything else is stripped away and you can feel that one zone, that tone has completely filled his mind.


Words don’t fail me now

December 2015
Green Door Store

The last SoG of the year, its a bit of a crisp evening when I arrive to set up.

Noteherder & McCloud

Noteherder & McCloud Starting the evening were Noteherder & McCloud, who based their set off some recordings of trains and then more notably Tube recordings as we got into the set. It was a slow start with quite a bit of tape hiss delayed and whined up by a bitcrusher into a distant alarm. Chris Parfitt’s soprano sax shouts jumped across that until a rolling, almost swinging bass sequence started up and he got into some really lyrical playing for about ten minutes until it all shredded out into noise and clanging rail screech and than toned down into breath hiss and gurgle.


Steve has some new light sensitive toy on the electrocreche and this provides him and Matt the soundman with some noisy fun in the intervals until it’s time for ….


map71

map71 map71, who have been one of the best things I’ve seen this year, and this was another good one. They took a little while to get right into it, but once they did, it was right there. Andy Pyne’s drumming and synths (a backing track rather than his old keyboard – I couldn’t see) were rock steady, as he takes some Jaki Liebezeit channelling tight beats. Lisa Jayne was a little more animated than sometimes, her left hand flicking as she held her book of spells in the right dexterously turning pages with her thumb. The highpoint came with some DNW buzzing synth, Andy on beaters, pattering out a steady toned rhythm on the toms (even the snare drum has the snare dropped for extra note) while Lisa Jayne intoned her deadpan words.


Matawan

Matawan Matawan are all about the textures, the shimmer. I originally thought one of them had a keyboard on his table initially, but he seemed to have an unused guitar propped against the stage side wall there, while the chap in the middle sat stooped down guitar mostly across his lap as he muddled with his racks of effects at his feet. It was a slow drone build, layers modulating back and forth between the pair of players in what initially seemed an improvised set until you noticed that one of them was loading some pretty specific chords into three tiny Mooer loopers he had at his feet, not that when he played them back it sounded like strumming, but the triad of washing layers they produced as he faded from one to another gave clear indication of an compositional element unexpected in a drone environment.


When we left it was clear it had rained while I wasn’t looking.


Fame at last

In December The Dome asked us to play as part of their Earsthetics season. By all accounts Ryoji Ikeda’s amazing show was far and away the best thing, but we can put in a good case for coming second…

You can read about our day out on the Dome website.

minimal impact

minimal impactMinimal impact came onstage bang on 8:15, seated at a tiny coffee table concealing his kit, a massive video of degraded VHS feedback washing in blue/yellow arcs across the giant screen behind him. Starting with a coarse buzz that thickened out into a full spectrum wall of noise before being slowly washed away in stately swathes of phaser and jets of steam as the buzz reasserts itself as a massive insectoid whirr. A low fidelity immersive experience.


TR Agency

TR AgencyTony Rimbaud’s hand picked quartet, TR Agency, where second on stage for a commercial break. Ron Caines sat on a chair at the front of the stage, nick stalking behind looping collages, breathy sounds, synthy washes and swirling alto, while nick talks about Stuff. And chewing gum (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24518203). The visuals were from a fantastic set of Black and White slides of broken mannequins. Nick discusses advertising, consumer goods and even recalls when everything around here Was All Fields. Staying pretty solidly away from rhythm it gets pretty spooky at times.


Static Memories

Static Memories 2Static Memories’ Gus and Dan set up right at the back clearing as much space as possible for Mirei Yazawa to dance. She took up most of the attention of the players and us, lit from a lamp low at the side of the stage, with a pale blue block of ice slowly melting across the background. The music was typically beyond description: scraped bow across double bass, chimes and delays, Mirei twisting in response and driving changes in what they were playing, its all Very abstract. Dancer and musicians interlocked tightly.


Noteherder and McCloudNoteherder & McCloud had Bartosz Dylewski who had booked the projector and built the screen supplying visuals, and Chris Parfitt came roaring out in a storm of soprano notes primary geometries sliding around behind him. It took me a while to get up a similar head of steam, but there was some grinding sequences I enjoyed and a section in the middle with me howling through the bitcrusher while Chris circular blew squealing overtones on the sax that still sounds pretty damn intense.


HL Collins

HL Collins (3) cropHLCollins starts his set in a rattling trio with Nicholas Langley and Hassni Malik from The Vitamin b12 sat in line at a metal baker’s tray, scraping metal objects of various sizes about. Its theatre and oddly musical, and very funny. After a quick session with Henry up a set of steps banging a mic’d metal bin Nick and Hassni leave the stage and Henry moves onto a didgeridoo coffee machine that spits water but makes amazing sounds, he then moves onto a turntable and some balloons and effects for a comedy improv session that gets slowly creepier with a slurring hum playing back against clicks and bumps and occasional bird call for an ambient music for hell’s ante-room.


A fat goose sandwich

November, as eclectic a night as you will see at the Spirit of Gravity.

stereocilia

Stereocilia sublimated some kind of guitar chink into a subtly modulating vibration that he slowly thickened and shimmered until it was a suitable place to land carefully echoed single notes, letting them fade and migrate away to a duskening horizon. Two notes seemed to chime forever while the sound underneath resonated more harshly and zithered up, before being engulfed in washes of valentine fuzz and we head off into a glorious space rock moment (I’d love to hear this section with a full on driving band) all wah wah heat and notes tracing off the fingertips into the unknown. Thin streams of trebly feedback pull us back through time and space to somewhere near the point we started modulating slowly past silver moons to some blissed out Kaleidoscope place of autumnal bucolic psychedelia.


dogeeseseegod

Dogeeseseegod grumbled out of the blocks with yelps and growls of voice and implement. They had a glowing plastic goose. There were submarine noises and balloon farts, echoing beeps and chunks of radio. Occasionally things ticked for a while, sometimes it was funny. Tape blocks underpinned terrifying siren squalls and everything faded back down to subtle clicks. Steve who is a glyph, did his glyph voice thing occasionally. Sometimes from Very Far Away. Steve balanced the goose on their head. Sometimes it was terrifying. I have no idea what they had on their table to make sounds apart from the vocal microphone and a walkman.


arc

After the sublime and the ridiculous, what? Arc start really drily, tonally they could have segued on from the end of Dogeeseseegod, but the sound is austere; Violin, Cello and Double Bass scratched thin on rough bows pulling out almost vocal sonorities. After the daftness preceding it, Arc have a sombre beauty. Sylvia Hallett is the first to break up the mood with a birdlike flurry of notes that skitters up and down the neck of her violin while the cello gets unworldly and Gus Garside rasps triangular patterns on his bass. Again it stretches out almost pastorally long notes sliding uneasily that puts me more in mind of the heath around Innsmouth than the South Downs. Gus flirts with an oddly metronomic drum machine, but this adds rigidity to the dark fluids that they are conjuring so is soon discarded as things fall into silence, boat creaks and rope torsion. As the bass and cello go about their dirty work the violin gets introduced to the effects and starts to float around the edges, there is a glorious section when it seems to drip like stars as the sound floats across the room. Then its Gus’ turn to get abstract with the bass, setting up some sawing industrial din hawing away underneath a terrifying section that takes on horrific colours towards the end, if they need a soundtrack to a film of Brueghel’s paintings they need look only this far. They finish with a hoe-down that sets Henry Flynt firmly in the mainstream.


We snuck a sneaky one in at The Coach House, too, on Friday 29th November.

Noteherder & McCloud continued their warm-ups for the Dome with some funny chirruping, feedback sounding drones and pretty relaxed skronking from Chris Parfitt’s sax.

Asem played a set similar to their recent SoG show, of low key electronics and guitar (I’ve never seen anyone get feedback off so low powered an amp so consistently) finishing up with a new song of Morricone-sque piano chords and light guitar strumming.

David Thomas and Gagarin reprised a thing they’d only done remotely on the US Pere Ubu tour – David Thomas in the US and Gagarin in the UK. Some organ, some percussive noises, David Thomas started with a sheet of words which he soon ditched in favour of improvising with Gagarin occasionally kicking him up a gear with a well placed beat, or taking it down, they did a handful of songs and it was fantastic in such an intimate venue.

Then rounding off the evening, Gagarin stayed on for Roshi (feat Pars Radio) who were sublime. Starting with “Opium” off the new CD, which moves from singer songwriter simplicity pretty swiftly to some dark places, the still banging even in a small venue “Three Almonds and a Walnut”, before David Thomas came back to provide unworldly moans to “Don’t Breathe it to a Soul”. It was really a bit special.

Dry spells

It’s been a while, but back in January 2013 with skronk and skree, and a new format for the blog.

Noteherder and McCloud

The first Noteherder and McCloud starts slow vibrating washes of electric swamp with skittering soprano sax pausing for occasional languors, before getting up with a noisy switchback over bass drones and some proper skronking and ending with a grumble off between the pair.

The second Noteherder & McCloud set took me by surprise by starting with some whistling birdsong before electronic burbles transformed into staccato bass with Chris saxing at full throttle with noise stabs sliding in sawtooth. It degenerates into squeaks and pops before coming back for a little full throttle action and close. I can’t comment on _minimalVector’s visuals, as I was looking the wrong way, but I’ve heard they were immersive to the point of overwhelming: sliding across two walls like slippery nightmare woods.

EMB Ortolan

EMB Ortolan has a nice guitar chime loop with jazz cymbals to start, looping most satisfyingly before bringing in church bells and playgrounds, a gloriously excessive piece of uber guitar riffery upsets things and pulls it back to another understated guitar loop with annoying HF feedback whistling under it. Paul then did a reprise of his quiet Aural Detritis piece with the light sensitive devices. A brave decision in the infamously loud Green Door Store, but one that worked well – very subtle and understated, and making good use of the sub bass available in the large PA. Finishing with a low level blistering and shortwave conversation.

Cosmonaut Transfer

Cosmonaut Transfer ended the night with their space age tomfoolery, slowed down vocals and Tangerine arpeggios start the set in the right mode, Dave’s guitar flying fluid lines and trills of sustain while disappointingly the space helmet stays on the floor this time. The arpeggios wind down into speech and swirls and Nick brings out the violin and we all get a bit more abstract until the Krell monster from Forbidden Planet puts in an appearance and the arpeggios return with a more propulsive beat than previously and we’re off to Mars for the climax.

health and safety night

Axes, saws, Psycho style kitchen knives, and no proper block for keeping any of them in.

ALthough at least no-one was senseless enough to run around with any scissors.


The guitar Orchestra led the way with Dereks mighty chopper. . . . fnar


Headliners Bela Emerson, Geoff Leigh and Richard Miles actually came tooled up with nothing more dangerous than ferocious improvising skills.


Henry Collins , presumably as Slashs Wormhole although we never discussed it, disembowelled some unfortunate piece of wood.

And Noteherder & McCloud had unsuitable loose clothing for lathe work. Good thing there were no lathes in the shop.


Bela Emerson, Geoff Leigh and Richard Miles

The Spirit of Gravity | Myspace Music Videos


slashs wormhole – sog nov 2010

The Spirit of Gravity | Myspace Music Videos


Noteherder & McCloud live at The Spirit of Gravity nov 2010

Noteherder & McCloud | Myspace Music Videos

neils greek diamond

Gatecrashers and interlopers Noteherder & McCloud with “It’s just the wind in the wires”



VLK, frsh from a great set at noise=noise with a brief excerpt of their set. Hear the whole thing at this place.



Mata Unit can be heard beeping and booping, as well as seen (its not so easy in the video below).



HRT scared the living shit out of everyone.

VLK live at the spirit of gravity august 2009

The whole Noteherder & McCloud set

Noteherder & McCloud Live at the spirit of gravity august 2009