Some days you break it all

November 2019

The Rossi Bar

So the recordings I usually take are pretty much broken, so I’ll have to work on memory. I can tell you we had 3 cracking sets by the 3 artists playing.

Gun Boiler

First we had Gun Boiler. This was to have been a duo but ended up with just Chris midi_error playing a solo set, largely on odd home built devices, open circuits and some odd granny thing that made some funny noises. Chris had a mask that he was to don when he was happy with the sounds coming out of his kit. Happily, that happened quite quickly. Some fat bubbly synths, nice gargly drones. Short vocal loops through some odd filters. I remember things getting quite noisy at points. And some really nice sounding deep space tones.


Nuclear Whale

Nuclear Whale was second up playing probably the best set I’ve seen him play. Jonathan had a bit of a stripped down setup compared to the fine racks of synths he used to bring to the Green Door Store, but I think the lack of space on The Rossi Bar stage may have focussed his attention. Carrying on pretty much where Gun Boiler left off, he started with some nice tonal drones and space whooshes, developing into proper bass washes before a drum track starts. The drum parts were pretty abstract, at first getting more like a skittery wash of hi hats and snares as the set progressed.


Drill Folly

Finally we had Drill Folly, Sarah playing her first set at The Rossi Bar, and it was another good one as I may have mentioned. Her set completed the arc, much more rhythmic than the previous ones. Mostly slow, syncopated, spare. Proper bass. noises, noise forced into lurching form. There is still an urgency about what she does. It has modern dark overtones, sounding more rooted in the second decade culture of the 21st century than most of what we have at SoG. I can’t comment on her kit as it’s mostly in a case on the stage. I can see a controller, sound card, some big unit.


New horizons, rearranged narratives

June 2017
Green Door Store

Bitter Disko

Bitter Disko

We had a kind of story arc in mind for the June show, starting off with Bitter Disko and his stripped down all electronic percussion setup. Stunningly pure in conception, he builds some tonality in by overdriving tom or bell sounds, but it’s all hardware drum machines rattling away in erratic twitchy rhythms, driving on and on. We have had audiences dancing before but this mass twitching and odd convulsions are more widespread and unusual.


Nuclear Whale

Nuclear Whale

Second in line we have the return of Nuclear Whale, his lovely array of hardware and looping visuals. Interspersing disturbing off-centre drones and sirens with rhythmic passages that occasionally get up to a fair old rattle. He almost hits both sides of crystalline Detroit and noise walls without losing the sense of what it is he does. Some real fun in here.


Fane

Fane

The final act of the evening is Fane’s first show. So that’s a real bonus. His set unwinds quite unusually starting with a really intense thick bagpipey drones with banjo (Hah! Oh yes) before a mid-tempo rhythm slips in and he does some singing (now THAT is something unusual) and eventually it unravels as the bagpipes decay into space slides for a lengthy and quite hallucinatory drone out to end on a very odd digital folk tip. The sounds aren’t the earthy electronic folk inflected sounds of Kemper Norton, say, but oddly clean and shiny, but still with something that hints of the fence or hedgerow.


Audience participation

April 2015
Green Door Store

Nuclear Whale

Nuclear Whale Nuclear Whale is on first. Lots of lovely Dave Smith kit a few other bits and bobs and he’s LOUD. A dense, viscous sound with lots of crunchy beats and not the space to call it techno. Thick strong basslines and noisy melodies to the fore. Boo Cook has visuals running, a cutup of space trip, bombs and glazed talking heads working against the banging of the music quite nicely.


Binnsclagg

Binnsclagg Binnsclagg pull together probably the best set I’ve seen them do since they gave up power tools. Lots of dynamics: peaks and troughs, noise, drones, wrong music mash-ups, sing-a-longs, noise and beauty. A favourite moment for me was a big chunk of the JAMMS first single. Both Verity and Karl on electronic devices, noise machines, tome generators, tone generators, loopers and Kaoss pads. They have words and stand to say their piece. The Verity-led singsong at the end was priceless.


Tim Shaw & Sébastien Piquemal

Tim Shaw & Sébastien Piquemal ‘Fields’ is a piece by Tim Shaw & Sébastien Piquemal, Tim was at Fort Process last year and they are touring this art piece. They are set up onstage with some extra speakers dotted about and their own wifi network which they have asked people to connect to before they start. On stage and through the big PA they pump out some bassy drones, I nip out to the bar and notice that the phone in someone’s pocket is making a weird sound. As I get back into the main room and wander about all the phones around me have started this thin droning. if you look at their screens white command text is scrolling up and slowly the sounds from the phones begins to diversify. Obviously its quite quiet and thin sounding but the acoustic space afforded by the bass drones leaves plenty of room. all the audience seems to be milling about, comparing phone sounds and talking about what’s happening. Its probably the first time I’ve been so happy with audience noise during a set as everyone is so involved. Aces.


A noise sandwich in beaty bread

March 2014

Nuclear Whale

Nuclear Whale Nuclear Whale was half hidden behind a keyboard stand (we don’t see many of them do we?), with a couple of small synths on that and a laptop off to the side. He started off nice and early with some chopped vocal drones that evolved into a slowly evolving stately theme, beats building underneath, before moving on in with percussive meeps and bass buzz, moving onto to a relentless grind. The voices come back, to be washed away by a shimmering wash and mid tempo beats, and science fiction sounds detune their way to a climax. It was a nicely constructed set complemented with a fast moving visual collage provided by Boo Cook.


Lorah Pierre and Andrew Jarvis

Lorah Pierre and Andrew Jarvis Lorah Pierre and Andrew Jarvis did a good impression of a Health & Safety nightmare, set up on two oil drum tables in the middle of the cobblestone floor. Lorah had strung two bulbs on cables over a pipe overhead and had scattered boxes with lights and light sensitive equipment dotted about. Andrew had a laptop and a Copycat that he de-tracked with a couple of knitting needles playing with the tape, lifting it off heads and playing with the speed. Their set began with a slow throb that seemed to be set off by the glowing light bulbs brightening and dimming, with a static screech of shortwave stammer twittering away in the background. The throbs change nature and detourned to some kind of aeroplane buzz before squalling out into two kinds of harsh noise and falling away to the pulsing lightbulbs again. It went a bit radiophonic before we had some really nice noise interplay between the pair of them, taking apart the sonic spectrum piece by piece until we get TARDIS’d away.


Wrong Signals

Wrong SignalsWrong Signals wrong footed me by avoiding the full radiophonic sounds I associate with him, by starting with a glitchy rhythmic synth pattern that developed a string melody and wax cylinder crackle. This faded into a shifting pad with an insistent warble melody, that gave way to one of the few beats of Toby’s set: densely structured, stereo denatured snares almost washed away by sonar pops and bass bops. After this we really get stuck into some radiophonic frenzy, Raymond Scott-ish repetition, with some crazy playing over the top, before ending on a slow moving piece of sci fi bliss that conjured blade runner cityscapes.