The Rossi Bar
Starting things off with lots of banging we have FROST. It’s unusual for us to have drums, and Dale has drums set up on the front of the tiny Rossi Bar stage, wires going off to a few devices, and the electronic pads. So he starts with a fairly open piece, rolling sprightly tight drums with pinging Raymond Scott sounds and a nice whistling melody over the top, from there he’s straight into more proggy territory, jerky beats, an elliptical sequence (backing track? I don’t think so by the way the sound modulates). There are too many beats to the bar, the timing is way odd. No melodic elements to this one, it’s all point/counterpoint. The third tune has a breathless Casio whine drone, with a more straightforward rhythm, this turns into a riff like Friske Frugt, it stretches out into a chiming section that alternates with something chiming in an altogether trickier time signature. The next starts with a chirrupingly tapped rhythm, that turns into some odd detuned riff, with pizzicato scattered rhythms and some buzzing hardcore on the cheap saw wave stabs. The last one is a full on prog action epic, that he somehow gets electric piano chords in amongst the staccato drum pattern.
Second up was Territorial Gobbing “down from Leeds”. With his table of stuff, twin cassette players, a loop pedal, a springing ruler, desk bell, honker, file, matt with contact mic. He starts like some quick draw artiste with a cassette player in each hand, swinging each arm back and forth. Squalling feedback at us instead of bullets. Then we get a beautifully timed comedy patch of silence. Then we get into staccato snatches from the tapes, music, speech, reverbed, sped up, looped. Or not. A bout of rummaging gets us into a denser noisier passage while Theo tries to summon “Alex .. a … A.. Alex…. Alexa” He has a deft touch, the kind of comic timing we haven’t seen in an age, and an ear for when to let rip with a proper screech of noise. And he works hard at the table, I don’t think much is unused at the end.
Rounding the evening off we have Emma Papper, with laptop, Electronic Wind Instrument EWI5000, and clarinet. The first track is bouncing chimes and wafts of trilling synth with occasional tonal arpeggios with a hint of flexitone. The second has a percolating synth line, with a melody from the EWI that’s all slurred detuned washes that occasionally have stringy touches of Chi Mai sung out by ice bound sirens. The third is all angelic choirs and distant aliens that slowly shifts into focus, with some deep shifting detail. The next piece is harsher, winds and icy, gritty high pitched spines. Abstract and less comfortable. It feels like an ice cave, I can even hear the dripping, giving way to a landscape of slowly undulating tones. The next piece carries on from here with warmer vocal washes. The penultimate piece tends toward what sounds like overdriven guitar drones, with strings and hints of birdsong in its fluttering synths. The final piece brings the clarinet up off the table, meshing it against the shifting drones from the laptop, the backing shifts so slowly it’s almost imperceptible, giving the clarinet an evolving background to work on.
Joining the long list of people who have enjoyed playing at The Spirit of Gravity so much they’ve released their set afterwards here we have Emma Papper’s set from the November show: emmapapper.bandcamp.com/album/emma-papper-live-at-the-spirit-of-gravity