The Rossi Bar
Starting with Andrew Greaves & Dan Powell onstage set up facing each other for a run through of the new piece they composed while on residency at The Rose Hill. Dan with his tray of small objects, his laptop and a new tray pf glasses from the location, Andrew with his usual mix of serious synths and trusty Casio. They start with Dan’s glass armonica warblings played against synthesiser drones from Andrew, some gentle clatter and bell chime mutated by MaxMSP and proper bass rumblings. Emergent is a slow haunting, detuning melody first on a synth, then the Casio organ, the clinking falls away and a bassline is revealed, Dan filtering in some subtle scraping of bow on glass. As the melody ebbs away we get some radiophonic beeps and arpeggios blending in, if the first piece felt like Dan, and the second Andrew, this is a nice meld of the two. Andrews repeated organ figures with Dan’s sinuous drones piercing snakelike in between, until overwhelming with a fat bass-y wash, phased in with wind FX and Andrew providing the drone. Plane, car or sea recordings, glass pub clatter, rattle and chime ruler thrum on table. Spacious churn of a bit of a rummage through what’s on the table, roll of saucer, shortwave whistle. Some speech, sounds like my friend Ursula. The organ riffs are back wedded with odd noises and washes again.
Next it was You&th, Maria and violin, field recordings, LoopStation and effects. Starting with a looped bass violin figure playing off against seagulls, Maria winds a melancholic line over it, something about it takes me back to my youth and the sound of the one legged violin player every Saturday playing under the railway bridge at Earlsfield station. Next up is a song called rainbow, I think, a drone underpinning this one, the lead line sliding between notes, I can hear the traffic along the main road behind the man’s back. The melodic line changes slightly; sawing, insistent. The traffic thrumming as it passes. Weird delays spiral off. The third song starts with an aching melodic line, solo, I think this is one of the songs Maria learnt from her Neapolitan father, at the end of the verse a little pizzicato phrase and we can hear the streets again. Maria sings, birds chirrup, she has some odd double tracking on her voice. There is rain, loud on sheet metal, wind provides bass. It’s beautiful. The violin is back. I can feel the trains riding overhead as I hold my mother’s hand and can vividly see the man’s empty left trouser leg neatly pinned up, the arm holding the violin jammed firmly against the crutch holding him up. It’s amazing the unexpected images great music can conjure. That’s something I haven’t recalled in a very long time. Beautiful set. I wanted to write more but every time I try I’m lost in time.
Finally, it’s a newcomer to The Spirit of Gravity, Pylon&on&on coming to us via our friends at Electronic Music Open Mic. He’s launching a CD. He starts with a continuation of the melancholic lines from Maria’s set, slowly lifting them with some shimmering, shifting pads, everything seems to ebb and flow. An enormous, massive bass block swings slowly in, the pads fade to birdsong. Boom its back slower than plodding, birdsong; BOOM; harmonium; BOOM, occasionally something like a snare. Rattling, a bassline, slow – but double speed of that boom – and an organ part comes in. It’s as if he’s channelling the evening to date into the first few minutes of his set. We get what seems like a breakdown to a detuned synth phrase, bass tomes and mutating buzzing synths swarm around it. We get a distorted bass drum salvo, it almost has the sense of a pattern that’s constantly just beyond comprehension. Some voice then its back again almost breakcore in intensity, then something that’s definitely a drum pattern boots its way in boom clack rattle, some repetition – I can tell, then developing quickly into stop start distraction. There’s a voice, like clipping. rhythmic then nothing, a wash of gentle white noise, a hint of siren, filters, a slow half a bar of recurring beat. The other half filled with typing, the bass drum slowly consuming the whole bar with its insistence then four to the floor in it comes, bosh, siren flailing. There is some shuffling (the horror) amongst the audience. Arpeggio, breakdown, filtered noise. Clanking and we’re into the next track, half a vocal phrase rhythm against a double beat bass drum in another building and untuned synths. A bubbling line slinks up under everything, then to end it veers off into some grime bass fatness that suddenly shoots off into breakcore crazed beats for the finale.