Motionless on the Roman underground

October 2016
Green Door Store

Steve Gisby

Steve Gisby

Steve Gisby introduces his set as an iterative set based on a sample from the London Underground. He explains the process in a bit more detail actually (you can read an online version here) it starts as a short repeating block of agreeable but white noise that opens out into what’s recognisable as a tube announcement looping, as we listen more layers come in, there’s one layer that has the rhythm of a train passing over points – but I’m pretty sure just that rhythm is a part of the process rather than anything particular for this evening. It quickly reaches a level of almost stasis, where you start to get sucked into details – the announcement loop shortens until the recognisable voice elements are gone and it sounds like a snare drum with the snare itself dropped bashing away. A wheel squeak whine comes slowly up out of the clatter which becomes chopped into another layer of two noted rhythm, things have fallen imperceptibly away, the noise elements shifting into tonal qualities and then the chop comes in to slice things up into a gated beat to close. Its almost syncopated.


You&TH

You&TH

Another set that starts with an introduction – I do like artists who communicate. Maria Marzaoli starts her set with “Fenesta ca lucive” a piece she did at Infrasection, Its an old song written for an old style Tenor, but her version is outstanding. She starts with field recordings from an Italian street, bells, footsteps and her voice low in the mix thin and plaintive.
The scene shifts to a café, someone else is singing and a family gathers while she starts to play her violin back against a previous version on the backing track. I seriously want to cry. Beautiful stuff. The piece finishes with sounds like a fishing trip while Maria sings again.
Her second piece is really empty a field recording of what sounds like a pretty intensely hot midday while she scratches out some unpleasant creaking loops of violin bow noise. Occasionally a squeak or a flurry of clean notes, a playground swing, distant bark. I feel creeped out fearing a zombie attack in a spaghetti western set. The final piece is based around a recording of the beach, Maria reciting verse too quietly for me to discern, she wrenches even more unpleasant sounds from her violin for this one – a base metal drum being hauled over concrete, plucked notes, delayed, train whistles, parched.
Before ending on a repeated lyrical thread that builds to a climax for the end.


The Static Memories with Al Strachan

Map71

Gus Garside starts the Static Memories set with some strokes of his bow across the double bass through the effects to through us off our track.
Alistair Strachan breathes through his cornet into a double effects chain and Dan Powell gets some unplaceable whirrs. For the three of them this may be an even Quieter and emptier set than Maria’s. sounds come and go, digital warbles, distant taps and clanks odd lengthy notes from the other side of space. Occasionally something of a melancholy tune escapes from Al and spreads itself gently through the sound stage. Gus may gently remind of his instruments range and dexterity, or Dan take some stately ascent into hyperspace. One of the oddest moments comes with Gus singing into god-knows-what effect that chirrups his voice into unintelligible electronic burblings. There is little in the way of melodic content, but the confluence of sounds between the three of them (or any two as often one will sit out) can conjure wonderful images. There is a rhythm at one stage. Drum machined, simple, flanged into some kind of muffled shimmer. It’s another rather lovely set.


That last Scope

January 2016
The Scope XVIII

I think it was a good one to end on, we’ve had a good run up here at The Caroline of Brunswick and put on a lot of rare stuff we wouldn’t otherwise have seen. Thanks to Dan Powell for playing at so many of them.

Baby

Baby Baby was depleted even beyond the trio we were expecting, Adam Bushell turned up, set up his Vibraphone and drums, slept for an hour and then had to go home poorly. So we were left with Alfie on Double bass and Will on guitar and flute. I’d not seen Alfie before. He started with some plucked figures with Will interjecting on screwed up acoustic guitar, before switching to longer bowed figures and Will switching to flute, with some interesting overtones, switching between lower tones and almost feedback sonorities Alfie tapping the bass body in lieu of Adam, before dropping back to Will on the guitar chords and Alfie back off the bow. Before finishing strongly on long flute tones and bass rumble.


Andrew Greaves vs. the Electrocreche

Andrew Greaves vs the Electrocreche
The electrocreche was already set up playing through Andrew Greaves’ mixer in preparation for his set, where he would process it through a couple of monotribes (mmmm, a fetching pink number with enhanced Valvery) and add some Casio and some recordings from the bar downstairs. It slid in more or less seamlessly, the toy guitar feedback and cheap Yamaha synth merging with static cassette hi-hat staggers manufactured on the fly. Structure gradually emerging from the chaos as people rotated through the crèche toys and Andrew’s processing picked out different elements and manipulated them. Rhythmic patterns, pseudo sequences, bass lines. It was quite odd, you would be playing something on say the kids guitar and switch from one end of the neck to the other or drop off the overdrive and nothing you could immediately put your finger on would change, but the sounds would shift in quality but if you tried to make it a conscious thing – not a hope. In many ways this was the success of the evening as it seemed quite unlikely that it would work beyond being an interesting idea – everything else was a cert! It all finished with a percussive rhythmic part and the bar voices coming back in full strength, the guitar left unattended holding down some keys on the Yamaha.


The Static Memories with Will Miles

The Static Memories with Will Miles
Third was The Static Memories with Will Miles. Dan on electronics, Gus on double bass and effects, although pretty light on them generally and Will playing guitar. Lots of listening, sliding and pointillist punctuation. Odd notes, spaces, slurs of shimmery bees, unworldy string groans. Gus playing against what he’d been doing in his recent solo sets. Sparing and searing in his astringency. Dan almost like Roger Turner in the intensity of his staring at the other players. In musical terms what? Swatches of sounds often overlapping, textured but never dense, never a feeling of layering up loops or ribald noisery. Will scratching or pasting a staccato strum or bell like string pluck onto the process, redirecting things, almost bringing them to a halt at times before something else beckoned.


Fernando Perales

The Static Memories with Will Miles
Fernando Perales was on his second appearance at The Spirit of Gravity and it was nice to see him in the more intimate settings of the scope where you could see what he was up to with the guitar. He was actually travelling with just a guitar neck, but had borrowed a full body for the evening, flat on the table with effects arrayed around it and some bits and pieces for later use scattered about, for p[lucking, filing and layering around. He first worked out the spaces the un-tuned guitar afforded, how much rumble, wash and twang it would give up. So we worked around some drones initially, the edge of feedback, before clanging out some church bell chimes and getting some things into the strings and bridge and getting some resonant tubewheel scraping on. Unfolding from there through some warm space hiss into a gorgeous slow motion music box, which morphed into a windstorm flapping electronic noise and pulsing out into Moonlight Serenade.


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.


Now that was quite extraordinary

Who’d have thought watching someone read a book would be that fascinating?

Laborotoro

Normally it would be a drawback, but Ed being unable to make it down to the June Spirit of Gravity show meant that Laboratoro stepped up their imagination and came up with a singular solution. Xelis set up to the right of the stage with a stack of books; to the left of the stage we had a video projection of Ed sat at his drums. Xelis reads from his books and Ed drums, sometimes they talk to each other. They read and play several books, starting with “Tristram Shandy”, they both read “Fahrenheit 451” in silence for a full 3 minutes. It was a very singular performance, quite unlike anything else. Part of Xelis’ ongoing book project.



The Static Memories

The Static Memories, with Gus Garside on the left (let’s keep the geography for the time being at least), feed each other great chunks of sound back and forth: meaty sonorities, bass runs, sibilant drones, clacks, whistles and whirrs pass back and forth between them. Gus conjures unhealthy squealing and ticks of something, while Dan blasts out a vast sub bass whoom of terror, slides and balloon squeaks, before a modernist folk song played in a factory back room breaks free to plead its special case, before being caged away once more under the stairs. It tries to get free but the spiders seem to be keeping in place….



Luca Nasciuti

Luca Nasciuti did two pieces, the first was a purely electronic ‘Mirror’, the second was with a video artist Zeynep Dagli ‘Zetetikoi’. While she’s onstage Zeynap is illuminated, but otherwise it’s pretty much darkness apart from her film, warm green glows and cascading rainforests falling down the screen at the back of the stage, like the music constantly rolling towards us: tropical dark, dense. She moves it around on screen, occasionally resolving some jungle sky caught in the distance, while ram’s horn trumpets faintly blow against the metallic shimmer and harsh birds sing. At the end there’s a woman in a spider web hat, white, that’s lifted up onto the mirror ball that glances us all with starlight.

 

Empty words but full of music

No video up for this month yet as Myspace is now so rubbish I can’t upload video, I’ll reactivate the youtube account and put it up there eventually. Promise.


Broken Star have been playing with Ron Caines who is a long standing member of Jazz-proggers East of Eden. If you ask them nicely they’ll give you a copy of the cd they’ve done with him, in the meantime here is a bit of space music from the middle of their set.


Dan and Gus have been playing together for a while, and here they get quiet on yo’ ass.


Meshmass are on a mission to produce a vast amount of loopy music. Heres a bit now.

and in reverse order

Sometimes you just go with it.

I described Sunday Mourning as sounding like the middle of a triangle with Sonic Youth, Earth and Goblin at the corners.
Or at times maybe like Goblin played like 16rpm, this is one of those times.


Ryan Jordans set is almost beyond description: but not quite. Tightly controlled noise and strobe effects. Its your personal doorway to the Black Lodge.


Guas Garside and Dan Powell have played at The Spirit of Gravity a couple of time spreviously, nither was as good as this.
Almost rigorously formal in its construction this is spontaneous composition as it should be done.

Ahhh, and the Video -= sorry its a bit dark – but its All Good.


dan powell and gus garside sog nov 2009

The Spirit of Gravity | MySpace Music Videos


Ryan Jordan sog November 2009

The Spirit of Gravity | MySpace Music Videos


Sunday Mourning sog November 2009

The Spirit of Gravity | MySpace Music Videos