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