No other talking than the talking directed

October 2019

The Rossi Bar

Ill/Fitting Suits

Ill/Fitting Suits, their suits more fitting than ill, these days – I think they’ve grown into them. They had some plants among the audience reading from prepared scripts. Nick Rilke had a microphone on a long lead that was being processed by Tony Rimbaud along with some other sound sources and he wandered about picking up bits of what they were saying, I think it was some commentary on the history of The Spirit of Gravity. Anyway, the piece has a drifting quality due to the excessive delay on the snatches of speech. The written pieces were short enough so that you’d return to the same phrase as a chorus. “Handles for Forks” being a comedy favourite after a while. The loops felt haunted, nostalgic through reverb. Odd synth washes and a halting piano figure. In the end surprisingly moving. All fields. 


Amongst the Pigeons

Amongst the Pigeons had the front rows of the audience nodding along to his set wearing pigeon masks. He interspersed his set with pigeon facts (although some seemed a bit shifty to me). So we had pigeon coos, basslines and drum machines. The first piece had sampledelic style cut ups of a radio show intro and a broadcast of Happy Music, with a woolly bassline working under it. The second one, was a bit darker in tone, another sonic bass line with a crackling percussion track. Less direct pigeon-referencing. The third picks up the rhythmic intensity a notch or two more with a big breakdown with a recording of someone saying “DRUG”, leading into the “addiction to thinking” which was a bit more syncopated on the bass drum. Among the complaints about wearing a nylon pigeon suit he slyly introduces the last track, a pigeon related breakcore track. There is, even after nearly 20 years of The Spirit of Gravity, always something new, and that is definitely a first. ce drill, or falling organ.


Roshi featuring Pars Radio

And rounding off the evening we have Roshi featuring Pars Radio, who are down for the first time in an age, she’s writing new material for her next album and on good form. She starts with an old favourite “Lor Batche” in the stripped down rhythmic version with her and Graham playing the slow down at the end. This was followed by “Night Swimming” which features her piano playing up front, Graham providing percussion space around that. Next is “Opium” that starts nicely with organ stabs and an uptempo rhythm that twists into an unfocussed vision of muted voices, drones and detuned whirls and woooshes that’s really quite unsettling. The horrors. The next song is one I didn’t know, a new one based on her experience with working with people from the wartime generation, it’s centred on an old song “Apple Blossom Time” piano and radio static. They finish off with “3 Almonds and a Walnut” which in its live version is a full on percussion work out.

We get into an odd conversation after the show with a member of the audience about nut/peanut/cashew allergies. Which is almost like a mirror of her introduction to the song.


Happy Birthday Delia

May 2017
Green Door Store

So, yes, it’s what would have been the eve of Delia Derbyshire’s 80th birthday if she hadn’t died so young. As one of the series of events in Brighton to celebrate that event, I think this was a suitable occasion.

Lorah Pierre

Lorah Pierre

Lorah Pierre is set up in front of the left hand stack on one of the round tables, a small breadboard device with wires, switches, unknobbed potentiometers wires and bare light bulbs sprouting out. She has a small jeweller’s screwdriver in her hand and the house lights down. She starts with small pulses of white noise serried up in blocks, the bulb pulsing in time. Silence erupts with darkness and then pow! Back in with a thin blast of white noise full throttle, again it pulses as she works at the hidden presets. The blasts fatten out and then fall away in volume. Darkness and flashes of light illuminating us standing around the table watching the concentrated effort. The set climaxes with full throttle blasts and then all too soon in darkness ends.


Karen Constance

Karen Constance

Karen Constance is up on stage, to one side of the screen onto which is projected full size some film by Andy Bolus, it’s large with stained glass colours and the intensity of melting celluloid. After a false start due to connectivity issues, she starts with what sounds like a cassette recording of bricks being chipped resonating through some kind of piano soundboard. It morphs into an unrecognisable lumpy rhythm, before being subsumed by chirruping tape birds and someone gulping a noisy tea before having a sliding door bash their head in. Karen’s collage sets are singular things. Evoking dreams of the city bombsites of my youth, weeds, dust. Machines. There are birds and natural sounds, but it’s not bucolic in any way, when the tonal wind blows it’s through a window, a bell is an oddly warped domestic sound pitch bending into an absurdist shape. Urban Horror. Dogs, elephants. Voices. I’m kind of lost. And a bit scared. It’s dark… she ends with a woman’s voice reading.


Roshi featuring Pars Radio

Roshi feat. Pars Radio

Finishing the evening is Roshi featuring Pars Radio, starting with a new song, well a new cover of an old Persian folk song, “Rashied Khan” with a short clip of an old Iranian film playing behind them. It’s pretty abstract, Roshi’s voice, a constant, her organ holding quivering notes behind her and Graham Dowdall’s occasional beats scattering about behind her. Then a trio of older ones, including the single “Don’t breathe it to a soul” with film, before finishing off with a rattling version of “Three almonds and a walnut” and unusually an encore! “Lor Batche”. Rocking.


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.

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.