Fourth Spirit of Gravity online streaming event: June 2021

Featuring Kieran Mahon / Rdyer / Melancholic Robot Tantrum / Andrew Greaves

Kieran Mahon: This piece was made and recorded especially for Spirit of Gravity and was entirely improvised in one take. It is a repetitious cosmic drone, based on two very simple sequences and a lot of random modulation. Over the last year I have found increasing inspiration from the music of Michael O’Shea  – this piece owes a lot to him. It would be best listened to on headphones.
www.kieranmahon.com

Rdyer uses saxophone, saw, harp, found sounds, tape samples, looped vocals and synth to create mesmerising baroque pop laced with chaotic improvisation.
soundcloud.com/r-dyer-uk
rdyermusic.bandcamp.com/

Melancholic Robot Tantrum: Industrial tinged electronic music for robots & humans.
melancholicrobot.bandcamp.com/

Andrew Greaves is a Brighton based musician, visual artist and member of the Spirit of Gravity. His work over the past decade has focussed on electronic minimalism, keyboard improvisation, live film soundtracks and sound collage. During the past year, Andrew has set aside his intense Casio organ improvisations; central to his previous work, in favour of layered analog synth sequences, arpeggios and loops. Andrew is exploring the meditative effects of gradual melodic and harmonic development, where multiple elements build, mesh, shift, vie for dominance, ebb and flow. Andrew starts his June show performance with some synthesiser improvisations intertwined with a collage of found cassette recordings of his father’s classic tenor voice. Andrew’s melodic approach at times recalls the simple and brittle themes of Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band and Robert Wyatt. While his more intense improvisations seem a contemporary development on the works of Terry Riley, Suzanne Ciani or Mike Ratledge. The use of non-western scales is a constant and Andrew acknowledges the influence of African, Indian and Far Eastern musics on his work and its wider impact on all kinds of minimalism, experimental and electronic musics. This mix of influences and approaches can be heard on his most recent album “Works From Home”, just released on the Spirit Of Gravity Bandcamp label.
For this event, Andrew hopes to recapture a little of the feeling of an intimate performance at the Spirit Of Gravity show in the basement of Brighton’s Rossi Bar.
spiritofgravity.bandcamp.com

Stream visuals by midierror: soundcloud.com/midi-error
Incidental music provided by midierror and Kristoffer Lisgaard: https://www.kristofferlislegaard.com

 

Third Spirit of Gravity online streaming event: May 2021

Featuring: Ascsoms / child / Not By Radium

Ascsoms: “For this Spirit of Gravity stream I revisited my Isolation Reels project which I started during the first lockdown. I make a tape-loop measuring 2 meters in length, the ‘social distancing’ measurement. This loop forms the bedrock from which all sounds are sourced and manipulated. Then the audio effects and signal processing are introduced into the system, acting like a virus, mutating the sound for nineteen minutes. This performance features three tape-loops, one for each lockdown, played simultaneously on both Akia reel-to-reel tape machines and was recorded in one take.”
Instagram & FaceBook @ascsoms
www.ascsoms.bandcamp.com

A live set by child: Two synths and a voice embark on a journey through the Clouds and Big Sky portals.
soundcloud.com/c_h_i_l_d

A piece by Spirit of Gravity co-founder Tony Rimbaud’s long-form project Not By Radium – featuring flute and saxophone samples provided by Chris “Noteherder” Parfitt, with images inspired by a pessimism concerning the state of the natural world.
soundcloud.com/im-dr-buoyant

 

Second Spirit of Gravity online streaming event: April 2021

Our second online event, featured in no particular order Ensemble 1, The Zero Map and Cutlasses: home-made kit, drones & interwoven intricacies from the Brighton and Hove area.

Cutlasses is the solo project of maker and musician, Scott Pitkethly. A sound art project which seeks to integrate the process of creating music with the process of making the sound creation tools themselves. The compositions combine field recordings, recorded from various sites around the British Isles, which are heavily manipulated using DIY electronic controllers and effects he has designed and built himself, accompanied by live guitar drones and melodies. Taking cues from the world of sound art and horror film soundtracks but always trying to apply pop sensibilities, the result is lush and cinematic soundscapes topped with delicate melody.
www.cutlasses.co.uk/about :
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHBhX_wTx44

The Zero Map is Chloe Wallace and Karl M V Waugh … (blah blah) … Brighton …. Since 2008 … (blah blah) … psychedelic ambient noise … (blah blah) … released albums on Apollolaan, Sonic Oyster, Infinite Exchange, Ikuisuus, Golden Lab, Different Lands, Armed Within Movement, Tor Press, RHP and Sheepscar Light Industrial … (blah blah) … frequently with video installations … (blah blah) … Supernormal / Splitting The Atom (s) / The Spirit Of Gravity / & around the U.K. … (blah blah) … other bands they’re in include: Thee Hairee Kuntz, The Larsens, Eye-eN T T, God’s Teeth and the Interstellar Tropics, Binnsclagg, The Emperors Of Ice Cream, The A Band (wherein they have both played extensively) … (blah blah) … facebook around the internet and thezeromap.bandcamp.com/

Ensemble 1: Solo home performance vid of ‘Submerged Harmonics’ for electric bass and delay, a long-form work utilising high feedback delay loops over three broad sections consisting of variations on tone frequency, technique, process and rhythmic counterpoint, FFO Steve Reich, Eliane Radigue, John Luther Adams, Live Minimal/Electronic/Instrumental.
www.facebook.com/ensemble1music
ensemble1.bandcamp.com

 

First Spirit of Gravity online streaming event: March 2021

A year on from our last physical event at The Rossi Bar our inaugural online event had a mix of approaches, Dan Powell’s film based on an installation for Fort Process – video & audio based on sounds made by objects in the Newhaven fort archive, Noteherder & McCloud reconstructing a musical Zoom meeting, and finally midi_error’s new foray into AV improvisation.

midierror returns with an improvised electronic set, syncing machines from the last 20 years with a set of MIDI lights in his bedroom.
Shot top-down so you can see the action clearly, strap yourselves in for a high octane experiment!
www.youtube.com/user/midierror
www.youtube.com/channel/UCv6or8QoEfcYFYWqO7dj2ig

Dan Powell:
danpowelldanpowell.wordpress.com

Noteherder & McCloud:

www.facebook.com/NoteherderandMcCloud

 

 

 

Ghosts

March 2020
The Rossi Bar

We’re posting this now, a review of the last Show before Lockdown. It all seems strange now, being in the same room as friends and strangers. Enjoying people making music in the room, playing from their hearts into ours without the mediation of the internet. Writing this is partly a reminder to myself of what life was like a few weeks ago…

 

Ascsoms

So first up was Ascsoms, Adam, and a small table of kit. A bouncing word in a swirl of space delay starts the set, followed up by fatly quiet drone. He says something that’s distorted to hell into a munging delay, as space crickets and odd burbles get in on the act. A distant pair of notes as if played on a Mississippi bridge loop ominously, as we get odd foregrounded sounds like creatures of the river bank scurrying about their business. We get into a more industrial soundspace, like finding a vast working quarry in the middle of the downs. Giant Gerry Anderson machines slowly grinding their way round its circumference. We’re past, we can still hear the bridges in the distance, cyclists and door chimes, uncanny wildlife. This idyllic landscape becomes subtly more intense until it’s overwhelming. We go under a bridge where some pretty serious welding is occurring before getting into new, more tonal, country. A 3 tone beeping riff starts up, tape spooling, slowly denuded by a scouring wind bringing swarms. Finally we find some piece in some kind of saturnine lagoon. This was definitely a journey.


Meljoann

Second up was Meljoann. Mel, office ready, with laptop and recorder. I don’t have a recording of this set so my review will be light on details, sadly as it deserves them. Mel lured us in with her deceptive pop like charm, modern beats and shiny electro surface sheen but as with all our song based artists, she takes the songs off to strange places, amping up the energy levels with some rattling drums and extraordinary bass. I also get tricked by the brevity of her set and only get one song videoed. Its brilliant stuff, and we ask her back, but she’s done. You should have a look at her office life themed videos and feel nostalgic… www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLhUrDac40s-VNUDMVVJYucqcqPKHchme2


Bela Emerson and Hervé Perez

And to round off the evening we had the return of Bela Emerson in a duo with Hervé Perez.  Bela on electric cello and electronics, and Hervé on laptop, electronics and occasional sax.  They start with Bela looping up a scouring edge of the bow on the cello strings and a nice edge of feedback drone, Hervé providing field recordings of birds in an electronic murmuration that swings in and out of sonic sight. He then brings in his first saxophone intervention. Flurries of notes, that Bela responds to, the birds swirl about too, before everything levels out in drawn out tones against an itching cello loop that drops away leaving the saxophone taking on electronic tones against a drone. Bela brings up a cello line and the sax drops away completely leaving her to slowly layer up an evolving that imperceptibly transforms into Hervé taking it on. I think this is the point at which Bela sat back with that smile of “this is why I love improvising” she takes back the line and passes it on again it a slow back on forth of stunning spontaneous composition. We move on, with Bela taking a slow bass line against bird song and smoky midnight sax. There is a hint of electronic manipulation from Hervé as he plays. After sitting back for a while Bela brings in a disarming cello loop of high frequency tremulous drone. Hervé octaves his sax against that to build the unnerving atmosphere some more. Bela contributes a bassline. And after an exchange of flurries from Hervé and an electronically mutated version of himself, Bela worries away at a bass string and the birds quietly return.  Hervé playing quiet high pitched bursts of notes, it rains, an odd 3 note trebly cello riff loops, Bela plays a slow line almost a drone it moves so slowly, Hervé’s electronics moving slowly round it, an accidental squeak gets into the looper and fades slowly away to smiles, an almost crystalline thin feedback line takes us slowly and beautifully to the end.


I think it was quite a show to take us into the current situation. It was our first night with visuals by midi-error, we were projecting onto the black curtain, which gave things a nicely subtle effect, but means you can’t fully appreciate them in the photographs and video.


Is half a guitar better than none?

February 2020
The Rossi Bar

Paul Khimasia Morgan and Gus Garside

First up are Paul Khimasia Morgan and Gus Garside. Gus plays his traditional double bass, Paul has the less traditional guitar body (the neck has been removed). Gus starts with the bow scratching the strings with his bow, Paul has a transducer jammed up against the back of the guitar riding a low tonal feedback. The double bass is producing a thin high-pitched circular scree that goes into the looper. Most un-bass like. A second slightly fatter and slightly lower loop joins it, before he jams a beater into the strings and produces a couple of thrums. The scraping stops as does the guitar tone, and we’re left with cello-like sonorities and the thrum in restful rotation.  Over this Paul and Gus layer a variety of noises, some odd detuning pings, drones. Gus squeaks his strings and Paul gets some bell like sounds. There’s some tension, anticipation of something. The tension builds. We finally get a little bass swoop that builds into a bit of a drone. And then, at last, a full beautiful bow sweep of the low strings filling the room. For a good amount of time, Paul sends out shrill shards of feedback whistles, chimes and clunks. A very satisfying end.


The Organ Grinder’s Monkey

The middle act was the welcome return of The Organ Grinder’s Monkey. The laptop, and black and silver jaguar in full effect. The first song sets out what he does quite nicely, the introduction has a fairly straightforward little guitar riff, the second time there’s a little processing on the third a pretty hard glitch and full on yammer at the end, then the backing track kicks in, and each time through the processing gets more pronounced. There are some backing vocals I’d never noticed before, and extra layers. Its catchy and pretty messed up. The second song is pretty straight, upbeat, tuneful, vocals for 2 verse and chorus’ then the games controller he’s given out to the audience beforehand takes control, tremolo, filter, sweeps, things cut out and come back or repeat or stammer. It’s a lot of fun, and stops its always over too soon. The third starts with super fat blocks of bass and guitar feedback and lopsided beat. The breakdown at the end is an immense set of synth bass, drones and detuned guitar.  The fourth song has a false start, but does start with some odd filtered voice, layered up, over a distant beat, spiky guitar figure, replaced by gated wash, and a weird guitar hero sustain solo. He finishes with 2 new ones, the first a 2 chord riff over some shudder electronics, that nicely degenerates into false stops, uneven gating, and a full strength glitching using the controller again. The final piece is a cover of a song from a local hero from his home town. Political. Hooky. “I know, you are, evil”.


Leifert

Finishing off the evening are Leifert, from Croatia via Leeds – they start unannounced eschewing my introduction and looming up over the general hubbub. They have a lovely synth a big square box, no keyboard, with an array of satisfyingly solid knobs on top, I made a note of the name and lost it. Its partly midi controlled and partly live fiddling. Petra stands at the back singing. The sound is correspondingly solid, strong basses, pinging tops and fidgeting drum tracks. The melody lines swerve around, timbre changing as the pitch swoops. The atmosphere they generate reminds of a couple of 80s duos I used to see in The Fridge, I briefly wonder if we’re living in the 21st Century Weimar, and then they get some proper arpeggios going and the temp picks up and the mood all changes. This one is all about driving onward. The intensity drops for the next one and we get back into slurred notes and washes, the beats are fast but lighter weight, Petra’s voice floating around over the top. The beats gather weight and the washes become more urgent as we move on. The next track starts with a four to the floor bass drum and staccato jabs of toppy synths. These are then mirrored by some detuned bass, which sees some nice filter work, getting at once buzzier and squelchier at the same time. It ends with the drums dropping out and the bass getting fatter and tastier and fatter and tastier. Nice. The last track has an almost comic stepping bass line and frenetic drums, the middly synth rolls around growling like a set of cats singing on you wall avoiding boots. Some strange melodic line comes in over the top with Petra singing in unison with it. Disconcerting. A monster sawtooth bassline finishes it off, like something from “Playing with Knives” underpinning a deranged dub with sounds zooming everywhere.


Last European Home

January 2020
The Rossi Bar

Hardworking Families

So, Hardworking Families starts the evening, Tom sat hands rummaging inside a black box containing Some Things, the lid flaps open towards us, balanced on top is a small PCB with a pot and a couple of other components. By the side of the box is a cassette player. His set starts with stuttering feedback-ish stammer. There’s something of a rumble train-ish, very reverbed coughing.  The rumbling gets grainier and bassier. A pseudo rhythm of gulps hits away in the background and everything falls away around it. A thin tone somewhere between a Casio organ and a reedy metallic whine is conjured from something hidden away. Something happens with the cassette and the reedy whine becomes a thin shard of feedback. There’s some static Morse code. Wind-jammed mic.  Whirr of an oscillator that rolls down into a pretty meaty judder while the Morse flips inside the tone to form a noise barrage. Other oscillators go about similar dirty business and we suddenly get into this toney noise wall that modulates outwards into several frequency strands all winding around each other. Something with some proper bass struggles up from beneath this like a jetliner over a Sicilian beach then it all gets very quiet before one last hurrah of a mechanical woodpecker getting to work in a lumber mill.


Monty Oxymoron

Monty Oxymoron had the second set, he’d played at The Spirit of Gravity previously as part of a trio and a quartet (once famously on copper dog and bird cage) but this was the first time we’d had him play solo, and I think the first time I’ve seen him do a set solely as a musical piece playing the keys on a keyboard (rather than extemporising on the case, lid, stand and anything nearby as well). It’s a piano/synth setup. He starts with some sparkling space jazz that sounds like something of Sun Ra’s from the head, shimmering flourishes and chords that spangle off into a little squelching synth line before zooming off. Some bassy synth crushes bring us back, then its twinkling off again before modulating chords bring back a hint of the original melody and then a little chord riff takes us off again to get lost in fantastical arpeggios. There’s a passage of wah wah stasis that’s rather lovely, that gets eventually overrun with harpsichordian dances of notes that slowly mutate back to piano sounds of the melody again then the electronic drum we can’t see at his feet comes into play. Starting with a jazzy ride with occasional rolls around the virtual kit while his hands keep at work fidgeting away at filtered stabbing chords the feet working away at an insistent rhythm under the table that fades away into an electric piano flourish drowned in a sweeping massive phase. Lovely. Then there’s a bit of an encore, a more orthodox-ish jazz piano ballad, that gets into a Yes Album left hand on a synth chord accompaniment for a bit of a dynamic with a slow wind down.


Kina:Suttsu and E-Da Kazuhisa

Kina:Suttsu and E-Da Kazuhisa finish off the evening. Kina with a midi roll flat piano keyboard starting with backwards piano into a slowly decaying long delay pedal building up a slowly revolving insistent piano part that she wordlessly vocalises over. E-da has a physical ride cymbal that he tings over this. There is birdsong the piano part decays into a churning organic murk, Kina keeps working away at her piano roll pushing notes into the delay chain until it loses all form in an undulating wave of little notes, E-da picks up the tempo on the ride to match this until it all slowly fades away. Kina brings the birdsong back, E-da gets a hand drum to work and Kina starts on the alto saxophone, a stutter skronk alternating with longer lines. E-Da is putting some effects on his drum, the bassy thumps really getting some presence. Kina gets some fire in her playing and E-Da follows her round, the birdsong seems to spiral off tiny electronic tones that glitter in the inner ear.  E-da gets right into it, driving us on under Kinas spiralling lines, then it all falls away underneath her. And she returns to the piano. Single notes: high, low, the memory of the last leaving a notion of melodic drift as it loops, she breathes the sax gently over the top. E-da has some rattling and rainstick washing away. She eventually starts adding extra notes in and the loops build up the effect of delays as E-Da starts with a beater on the cymbal. It all gets a bit psychedelic. Mushing, washing in and out like great waves. The deep layers of piano producing odd accordion-like tonalities amongst the sparkling of the high note hits. It ends like a two chord riff with E-Das cymbals rolling in like great Atlantic rollers, slow and stately and all enveloping, and then Kina beaks it all up with some free form playing on the piano and saxophone and we’re done for the night. subtlety.