Before the chill

December 2022
The Rossi Bar

sThe evening started with Jake Smiths return this time as The Warped Love Group; starting with a bell and tube noises, a shimmery delay, a tonal siney, bass drops with a hint of an organ offbeat. Subtle sonic effects bubble away just drifting in and out of hearing. Is that a guitar strum, a voice, the delay modulates, the bassline mutates slightly. Are we on the second piece. Whistling, the sea. A full blown organ skank. A ticky tack rhythm track. The delay goes full on copycat tape delay and a stripped down new bassline and male vocal comes through. Two note clock organ. Repetition. But not repetition. Always evolving. Shifting. The bassline changes again, the organ only slightly. The rhythm track gets lost in shuffling ball bearings. We lose half the notes in the bassline, new voices. New bassline. Same shimmer. Stray percussion; slow actual drums. Ponderous. Actual singing from the computer. The organ skank is back. This bassline may be from Roots Radics. Everything drops and the last syllable from the vocal is stretched beyond recognition.  New bassline, a rhythm made of breath. Electric piano. A melodic part. A Rockers beat. A clocked snare, double up, a smear of a bassline. No snare. Electric piano, submerged by something that resolves into a two note snare. A vocal snatch from earlier. It builds like something off Dark Side of the Moon. Shiny. Ends on the bell.

Next Emma Papper’s new project with Jason Smart “A Day Trip to Europa”, Emma on laptop and Electronic Wind Synthesiser, Jason on words. Arpeggios start; with warped noises from the EWS swirling round it. There is something of the Space Age Bachelor Pad to the start, when flight was glamorous rather than a threat. Jason soothes as we set off. The second song is thicker more luxurious, the arpeggios muted, surrounding sonics slightly awry, unsettling. Weightless. The third starts with picked guitar, as Jason sings, we orbit Jupiter’s ocean moon. The next one is all drifting liquid. The next one continues like that but vocally goes all Solaris, but with fish. Jaunty guitar chords start the next singalong: “Who put the cosmos in my cocktail” I assume, it has a nice cosmic middle 8. The next track starts more disturbingly- random beeps. Seems to be about Euthanasia, a bossa nova beat referring back to that mid 90s lounge revival again, just adds another unnerving layer. The next one has picked guitar effected to almost harpsichord, and EWS spirals. Jason sings back to earth through bass burbles, swirls and twitters. Or he could be singing from the bottom of the European sea.

And the quite literally finishing us off is Chris midi_error in his Gun Boiler guise, promising us a set starting at 200bpm rising to 1200 at the end. He’s dressed up in a white mask and green spike wig, and in his garish shirt and jacket looks quite alarming. His set is surprisingly melodic and not as jarring as we may have anticipated. Staccato string stabs and superfast washes lull us into a false sense of security before the kick does come in along with the rattling snare, the drum rolls start turning into washes already: Chris has set out his stall. Submarine pings, I start laughing already. The drops to the kick just sound amazing. Some backwards stuff on the next breakdown. Its interesting enough to keep us distracted from what he’s doing. I assumed this would be brutal, and purely percussive, and although melody is going to be scarce it is surprisingly musical. I’m not going to describe each song individually, especially as get into abusing them with his Kaos pad. Sometimes they try and seduce us by pretending to be half speed, so we’re like “Oh, yeah?” before pow, in comes the bass drum again. I wish Wrong Music was still going at this point, this is made for the Volks. The second one has a sound like a hyperactive 7 year old bashing a 6” nail around the inside of a beer tankard. It does indeed get faster as we go, without getting furious or even dark. It’s fun. One track has a vocal sample, needless to say its incomprehensible and reduced to hypnotic percussion, he uses this as an excuse to do a slowdown. It doesn’t help us work out what it is. Is it like a frog in hot water, it seems normal. I can’t really process the differences in tempo now. By the final track the bass drums begin to blur into each other. The hi-hat’s a smear.