Is it birdsong, or is it bridge FX?

It was the kind of evening that starts with a walk down the hill that just makes you happy to be out and about, a proper August Spirit of Gravity night.

Resonant Blue

Resonant Blue starts off squatting on the front of the stage, low level drone-stuffs laid out in front of him: keyboard and laptop, it modulates nicely for a while then seems to lift in a rush that precedes a whirr of traffic and field recordings and goes off in a more Ypsilon in Malaysia pale mode, the noise becoming tones and chimes, again it lifts into more digital sounding synths, before thickening up again with more choral drones and heading for deep space. Truly music for Starfelds.



Shinamo Moki

With the busiest stage we’ve had for a while, Shinamo Moki have guitar (!) electronic drums and electronics. Minutes before going on the guitarist’s effects rack goes west, so we have a slight delay while Tim Holehouse sets him up with his array; credit to both of them, I can detect no problem during the set. Shinamo Moki operate somewhere between Cornelius and Japan, the idea of eastern pop and its actuality. With the age and haircuts, it’s tempting to look on them as an indie band born of YouTube, but I think they go beyond that and manage to eschew vocals, which obviously helps us. It’s all bent sounds; gongs, string synths, drums that detune, everything shifts and stutters – a lightness around the rhythm and deftness of touch that make this as far to pop as we’ll go, and we go happily.



Timothy C. Holehouse

Timothy C Holehouse reclaims his effects array and sets up his collection of objects, and starts Ashtoreth Shaman, his new project. He has his effects and is just feeding sound in: throat-sung didgeridoo gurgles, drones and whistles, Brighton beach stones, sticks. And it’s just that: an hallucinatory ever-thickening drone of immense depth. We just soak it up, eyes closed, letting the sound wash over us and watching the internal unfolding.

It’s all quite straightforward really

Thee Founders back with a bang

Ill-Fitting Suit/s

The return of the Ill Fitting Suit/s was something of a joy; combining thee founders performance art roots, Nick Rilke’s ongoing obsession with the human voice and Tony Rimbaud’s moderne processing. And some string telephones (6 into one, unless I’m much mistaken). They had prepared a list of twenty or so items and over the course of a set and half, probably only performed half of them. It was alienating, funny, adventurous, daft, entertaining and a good listen. And once more a very hard to describe without resorting to blow by blow description. Words, the human voice, effects, suits.



Animal Magic Tricks

In between the two sections of their set Animal Magic Tricks demonstrated a new instrument she’d been working on: resonating spheres placed inside containers to produce rich ringing tones with a laptop controller. So she ran through an introduction and slowly introduced the sounds before forming the abstractions into a quite startling version of “Love hurts” with Frances’ thick voice bubbling up as though through honey sitting on top of this completely abstract backing. Quite remarkable, she then had a workshop session for members of the audience before the grey suits returned.



Hobo Sonn

Hobo Sonn had established himself at the back of the room between the elektrocreche and the sound desk in almost complete darkness except for his usual low light that allowed us to follow his hand movements as they went back and forth over his twentieth century sampler taking on the sonic overspill from the bar with hums and clicks; low levels of distorted near silence followed by squalls of quasi-musical noise. It seemed quite a struggle to find a centre for the sound of the room for him to work off, before he identified this orchestral racing car ramp that pitched from bass up to some blistering treble fragmenting into coruscations of blistered hiss. It rounded off with midnight ghost clock chimes and Lovecraftian insect ticking.

Either he’s bigger than he looks, or that’s not quite a trombone

Full marks for dedication on two counts this month.

Birds of Death Valley

Some whistles on the recorder, shortwave radio bursts and abstract block sounds, give way to sustained chords swelling over a gentle reverse hi-hat and plucked strings. It evolves gently, chiming and ringing, odd whistles Wasp buzzes synthetic drones layering away, until a slide trumpet player heaves swelling onto the stage to duet with echoed recorder for “The Cruel Landlady”… things continue to shimmer under the sustained trumpet notes, with a round of the songs chorus slowly rotating under the final gentle squalls of songs fade until a rather harsh stomp of four to the floor comes thumping martially in with some bass oomph and sonic wibble pays a little visit.

Pawnsphinx

Carrying on with the ringing resonant tones, Pawnsphinx, on the first stage of his honeymoon, gave a more formed and focussed set, less whimsical as befits something based on Dostoevsky but strangely sympathetic in the way it followed on till disrupted by a heavy bell-ish thump that seemed to emerge from some devilish rave memory initiating a freefall beat that really seemed to disrupt the dynamics more that drive them. It all got very ominous with creaking doors and unpleasant chords before some unlikely wobbling bass reminded us it is the 21st Century after all. Some Detroit beats led us on via throat singing and some cockney swearing on to the finale with some excellent detailed snare and rhythm patterns that took me right back to the heady days of Instrumentality.

Karl M. Waugh

In the absence of Chloe, who was laid up with a cold that had been conspiring with the unseasonal snow to rob us of as much of our regular audience as possible, the Zero Map gave way to a solo set by Karl M V Waugh. On guitar. For a full half hour. Which was really exceptional and may be one of the best things I’ve seen Karl do. Starting off with a cascade of scrapes before some clean endless echoing picked chords came through. He managed to avoid being too close sound-wise to The Durutti Column, my default mental state for clean guitar, due to some interesting eastern intervals. Something more like Dick Dale’s more thoughtful homages to his ethnicity. Having kept it clean for the majority of the set Karl eventually gave in and let rip with some max noise over-strumming, which still managed to maintain the context of what he’d been doing up to that point. Very tasty.

A return to chin-stroking

For March, normal service is resumed, with an opportunity to drool at some vintage equipment.

TwentyTwenty

TwentyTwenty consisted of a new set of twenty one minute films with an improvised soundtrack provided by Andrew Greaves (SH101), Dan Powell (scrapey guitar), Tony Rimbaud (odd electronic things) and the very tall Richard Miles and his tiny guitar. As such its a much more electric sound than previously lots of beeps, some nice trafficy hums and washes, some clicks and scrapes. Each four minute segment starting on some strange base of atmosphere as they take it turns to lead off and build up into quite a different montage. The whole thing managing to go through a range of moods while remaining quite delicate and considered.

Sonic Roundabout

Sonic Roundabout were a two piece with some lovely old equipment that had been switched on while most of us were eating our tea: the minimoog needed tuning up just before they went on stage, it was a visual reminder of the sleeve notes of all those 70s Moog LPs… As well as the moog there was a rare sighting of the wonderful Lyricon, a clarinet powered synth, and some drum patterns based on old Simmons samples. Marvellous. Naturally it was heavy on arpeggios and warbly leads, wonderfully warm analogue sounds all round. Marvellous. Really. For a couple of numbers they were joined by a singer with a strong Germanic vocal style.

Baconhead

Taking a sidestep into digital synthesis, Baconhead were another two piece, this time ensconced behind Macs with midi controllers and fiercely bobbing heads as they stepped up the tempo, the bass and the harshness of the beats. As suits an act so allied with Wrong Music it’s a playful set, allied to a love of the harder edges of modern music, although not approaching the light-speed of days of yore.

The best excuse for being late to a sound check, ever

Something of a milestone in February, the Spirit of Gravity is dragged away from the usual geeks for a female-only show.

Embla Quickbeam

Embla Quickbeam did manage to get started at a sensible time, rather than far too early, and she rewarded us with a lovely humming set of freakish field recordings, ghostly sonar pings, bell peals from lost churches, and visiting drones from the other side. Apparently this set was decided on at the last minute as she’d been working on something new, but had suffered catastrophic system failures during the afternoon. Which was made up by finding a gorgeous clothbound copy of FC Judd’s book on electronic music. And still managing a blinding set.

Bela Emerson and Carolina Diaz

After a quick turnaround we had the debut of a new collaboration between Bela Emerson on Cello and Carolina Diaz,a Butoh dancer. The processed cello progresses from warm friendly tones to almost astringent modernity, while Carolina reversed herself in front of a low table and slowly formed a series of starkly disquieting shapes, the whole thing was mesmerisingly beautiful to watch and listen to, completely involving and quite beyond my ability to describe. A well realised collaborating improvisation between two artists working very differently – Bela’s eyes never left Carolina during the whole performance.

Sarah Angliss

Sarah Angliss I find slightly more within my linguistic ability. She set up with her famous Theremin stage centre, Hugo the robot boy up to the left, laptop, carillon and keyboard to the right with brand new robot drummer Wolfgang (the only electronic drummer called Wolfgang playing in the UK that night [take THAT Mr Flür ]). She started off using the Theremin as a controller for filtering vocals off the laptop – a sort of reverse vocoder. And it kind of goes from there – it’s a set of songs, using unusual techniques and instrumentation, a couple of favourites from Space Dog (“The Submariner” and “The Lankey” in a rather developed form) its another visit to the spooky side, with Sarah’s Fortean interests to the fore.

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.

Standard Post With Shortcode Goodies

With several dozen of the best looking Shortcodes around, we wanted to give you a sample of the many high-end Shortcodes built into X. We’ve grouped some together so this isn’t a super long post, however for a complete list with demos and examples of each, be sure to head over to our Shortcodes page.

Image Frame, Tooltips, Popovers & 3D Button

Example Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Donec sed odio dui. Maecenas faucibus mollis interdum. Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis in, egestas eget quam. Etiam porta sem malesuada magna mollis euismod. Integer posuere erat a ante venenatis dapibus posuere velit aliquet. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor. Aenean eu leo quam. Pellentesque ornare sem lacinia quam venenatis vestibulum. Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Integer posuere erat a ante venenatis dapibus posuere velit aliquet.

Example Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucib Lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Vivamus sagittis lacus vel augue laoreet rutrum faucibus dolor auctor. Donec sed odio dui. Maecenas faucibus mollis interdum. Cras justo odio, dapibus ac facilisis in, egestas eget quam. Etiam porta sem malesuada magna mollis euismod. Integer posuere erat a ante venenatis dapibus posuere velit aliquet. Curabitur blandit tempus porttitor. Aenean eu leo quam. Pellentesque ornare sem lacinia quam venenatis vestibulum. Cras mattis consectetur purus sit amet fermentum. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Integer posuere erat a ante venenatis dapibus posuere.

Table of Contents & Icon List

The Table of Contents shortcode available in X offers up some incredible SEO benefits to your standard posts and pages. It’s easy enough to paginate individual posts or pages in WordPress using the <!--nextpage--> code in the editor, but it doesn’t provide any real engaging way for your visitors to know what they’re in for as they click through to the next post. That’s where the Table of Contents shortcode comes in.

Simply add this to each of your “pages” after your <!--nextpage--> breaks and input the titles of each section in your article. What you’re left with is a thoroughly engaging, easy to navigate post structure that has been proven to increase visitor retention and keep their attention (all things Google loves).

You can easily add the Table of Contents shortcode to the left or right of your post content, or have it go full width, which is great for placing at the bottom of your posts to remind visitors of what sections are left. Click through on the table of contents shortcode above to go through to the next page and see the shortcode in action!

  • This
  • is
  • a
  • icon
  • list
  • Chose from over 300 icons.

Responsive Visibility, Pricing Tables, Content Bands, & Entry Share

With responsive visibility, you can easily show or hide various pieces of information with different groups of visitors viewing your site on a wide array of devices. Want to put a video on desktop but only text on tablet and mobile? No problem. Go ahead and resize your browser window to see how different messages are displayed below for different screen sizes (Note: We also used another one of our Shortcodes, Responsive Video, to make the video look great and respond for the desktop message).

Desktop Message
I’m only for the larger screens. Since there’s more room, I can take a little more space. Resize me!

[x_video style=”margin-bottom: 0;” embed=’‘]
Tablet Message
I’m only for the medium sized screens. There a little less room here, so try and shorten things up a bit, but don’t worry, you don’t have to fret too much over the length of your message just yet.
Phone Message
I’m only for the smallest screens. Try and keep things short and sweet here.

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Cool Headline

Great for a call to action or important information, these Content Bands will help you be truly creative with how your content is presented.

Cool Headline

Great for a call to action or important information, these Content Bands will help you be truly creative with how your content is presented.

Cool Headline

Great for a call to action or important information, these Content Bands will help you be truly creative with how your content is presented.

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Over Three Dozen Shortcodes Included When You Buy X Today

While just a sample, hopefully this give you a small window into how we think about Shortcodes. Instead of just creating the basic ones (which we did and you have access to them as well), we wanted to take it a step further by providing some really useful business and marketing oriented solutions like Table of Contents and Responsive Visibility. As a customer of X, you not only get instant access to our entire Shortcode library, you’ll also have access to all future Shortcodes we develop for future releases.