The hottest show on record

June 2023
The Rossi Bar

We had a bonus guest tonight due to illness with a touring package due to play at The Bees Mouth, so we started off with M G Dysfunction, he was set up in front of the stage in a fine cowboy short and baseball hat, on a high stool. Which he soon abandons. It’s fair to say he splits the audience, and quite quickly. He starts with a nice piano tune, which he quite quickly annihilates with some hideous country style caterwauling. “Fuck the boys in blue”, I thought it was quite funny. That segues into a drone, moving into a grime inflected number. The backing track on the next one has something of Eno’s Discreet Music about it, and he talks over it about the moon & stars. Back into drones and a murky slow bass drum. Very slow. He sings again. Next one up is dedicated to all the Junglists in the audience, he makes some quip about Chocolate Monk that goes over everyone’s head. The tune has nothing to do with Jungle though. Some fat ugly bass drone, circular ranting. The noise rises up within it, ranting continues. This is my favourite part of the backing track. Juddering bassline, noise swirls through various delays, then a modern RnB backing that quickly tips back into the disgusting racket.

So first of the scheduled acts was the welcome return of Dale Frost, minimal drum kit, electronic pads, novelty cymbals (triple decker-ed, dimpled and warped or full of holes) and some other bits I couldn’t see. Starting with a shimmering roll on the synth triggering drum pads interspersed with occasional drums before he fires off a more familiar song set into the pads, is it sequenced, is it played. Both. Neither who knows. But holing down drum parts and synth lines Dale really pushes the idea of the independently controlled multi-limbed drummer to new lengths. It’s great to watch. The next track is more heavily into the beat, the synths more beeping rhythm lines weaving between the drums. Nice steps up when the beat thickens and the synths multiply with delays. The next track is definitely running off a sequencer. An odd whistly line giving way to a steel drum tick, bass drum on the fours. Then I’m not so sure about the sequencer, he seems to be playing the lines. Playing with my mind. Towards the end of this song he gets stuck into the hidden bits of kit, a keyboard and analogue delay, I’m guessing. One song has a nice one note bassline with some chunky stabs before giving way to something jerky that syncopates within a beat. The last song slows it down, with a nice fat bass and some pinging Tom Tom Club synth sounds. It slowly speeds up, the bass getting a bit rawer and groovier, other sounds trailing around it with a melodic synth line emerging in the firing chorus bits of it. And a big organ flourish to end on a high energy finish.

Then the return of f.Ampism, we had him booked in for one of the first shows after lockdown ended, in that spell of Will It Open Or Not. And it didn’t. But here we are now. He advises us to watch the projections rather than himself as he sets up some almost drones. There’s a bit too much going on to be actual drones, swelling, subtly shifting pitches, a hint of growled voice, a smidge of harmonium, a slowly unfolding melodic line that emerges gradually and slinks away. Its the sound of hot sun coming down through unruffled leaves, a hot still day, something stirs indistinctly in the distance. What it is we never mind. I’m drifting; open my eyes and 10 minutes has blissed, passed. Paul is working away, much more active than would be obvious, but the shifts are there, nothing is actually static even if you never noticed it change, it’s all different.  At some point he gets me up to muck about with the monitor and we get some extra modulating midrange reedy layers sliding into the mix. It’s now quite a think complex montage of sounds. Still quite precise and separate, everything pulsing and morphing in its own individual way. It reaches a crescendo but I’m too blissed out to really notice and stops.

Rounding off the evening we have Cornish (via London) artist Yiskāh. Carrying on where Paul left off with a somewhat more menacing drone. Under this she feeds in a vibrating thin whirr the drone starts to vibrate and branch off, into sub bass whoomf and airplane hum. A ghost of a wind sends its icy chill to taunt us. The PA is pushed about as Jess plays with the sonics of the room. A creeping sensation spiders its way into the stew. The sounds is solid, it’s not unpleasant enough to be HNW, but it has a similar monolithic indistinctness; a vast incomprehensibility where it just quietly fills your head and erases sense of time and place, gentle rather than roaring but nonetheless abstract and almost formless. There are touches of tone that emerge from the fog, perhaps slippery streams of feedback that evaporate as you start to latch onto them. Occasionally things in the room vibrate, shifting around as the pitches from the stage evolve. As it winds down, we’re left with the more pitched sounds; wind, a swirl of sea. Tyre on gravel. None of these things.