The Rossi Bar
The first show of the year, its cold, the room is full. Onstage is Iplu returning after a year and a day. He presses play and wanders off into the crowd. A drum and bassy break a descending bass, slowly picks up while we find out about Haribo, pies and non-UK brewed beers from the audience. The melody is nicely detuned and tremelo’d. By the time he’s finished and returned to the stage, the track is winding down. The second track starts with a 4 to the floor and shiny pad that shifts around, nicely before and old style house pause and off into a slightly more melancholic melodic line. The third starts with a skippy beat with a tasty ping and pitch bending mid line. Another one of them pauses and the rhythm just churns up into something thicker and much tastier. And eventually we get the extremes and proper (sub) bass line against top end piano. Another change to half tempo. The next song starts with someone telling a story about being an asshole in a car against a really minimal backing, no beats, slow space piano. Next track starts with a flexatone, not a physical one, through many effects and plenty of odd noises. Creepy. Gradually everything is just effected into a mush from which you can faintly hear the sounds of the descent to hell. An organ drone, no two, slightly different organ drones. A deep bass line, a squelchy top line, “excuse me”, murky rhythms. The top line goes down to again a slightly melancholic lo-fi whistle sound. “Feeling Quirky!” a dirty bass, the dirtiest of the year to date, suddenly its tempo halves and Arthur starts talking over it. “I sit in a café listening to Strawberry Switchblade pretending if the weather’s this shit I’m in Glasgow in the 80s”.
Simon Pyke is next up with his first live performance in 12 years. Not that you could tell, he’d obviously been biding his time. It starts with a 4 note granulated riff, several interleaving kinds of drone, a stuttering piano part on several pianos in different ranges, then filtering nicely away into a slightly simpler riff then a drone that modulates straight up high to a lead melodic line. At the same time a slow, slow bass part creeps in and one of the subdued piano parts comes back in. the melodic line is all over the place tonally constantly modulating timbre and pitch. Now we have a Harmonium line. The final nautical part looped and then chopped. A one note piano on the 8s clears the decks and we hear water. The harmonium comes back with a new, higher line. Almost a concertina. Then again more in the middle. A swirl of many organs, church-ish, flurry around us before settling into a pulsating fat, interlayered pad. Slowly it morphs into an organ arpeggio with a big melodic line, the high notes counterpointing the rhythm. The harmonium is back again. It thins out to a paper fine flutey tremble for quite a while before a simple harmonium figure comes in, then repeats with interesting effects applied before disappearing into some kind of rising motif. A melodic line comes in and everything around it detunes away from it, and it drops done into a fat bassy drone. The harmonium again, pumping against big doomy chords that slur into southern gothic songs before bouncing back as a rhythmic counterpoint to the pumping rhythm that’s still feeding in the background. The next passage starts with what sounds like the dulcimer tones taut snare played with knitting needles, this is enveloped in a massive space reverb, to be subsumed into the sound of crumpling paper and piercing whistles. It ends with each slow note detuning into a an endless pitch drop.
Finally to finish off the first show of the New Year, we have Automouse, Kate Reed in overalls with her head in a box with the single vast blinking eye. The introduction is underpinned by a hammering bass drum and a lo-fi bell riff, snares start to alternate with the bass drum; a bar of each, then a bass, I can’t describe it – deep but with that weird cadence so you could hear it on a phone, its all dirty and noisy, getting more distorted as the tension rises, then suddenly the noise falls away and it sounds ominous, about to break into something still getting tenser. Then it all falls apart into the next track, slower, a big flapping buzzing bass following the four to the floor, some very nasty noises puncturing the rhythm, it breaks down to gunshot snare and a BitCrusher melody. Not melody; top line, and something broken crunching around in there. The snare and bass drum do that alternating thing again. And then a breakbeat and a horrible murky detuned brass riff like I’m standing outside a Wrong Music night down at the Volks in the late 2000s. Everything falls apart around a rearrangement of the break beat then a buzzing bass brings a break played on a old tobacco tin, and the filthiest bassline yet flattens everything around it, filling every space in the Rossi Bar with its heavy breath. This one appears to have 3 separate basslines playing at once, then it all gets barged aside by a monster clean loud 4 bar drum riff underpinned by a 2 note bassline topped off by some tasty feedback. We get some mid- range rhythmic stabs interlocked with a white noise percussion part that syncopates like a fever dream JAZZ THING. And we get a breakdown the relief is tangible respite, our delirious minds can rest before the hoover starts to berate us. And back into a slow breakbeat and rumbling bass drone. A squeaking gate counterpoint to the rhythm comes in that seems on the verge of modulating into a melodic line as the drums drop out. And eventually the drums dismember themselves into a 4 note bassline. Again noise, clattering, feedback tonal dropping into great squalls and again the BitCrusher playing a half tune. The drums are almost lost in distortion and general racket, but can be felt. Then everything empties out to a groove, soon to be overlaid by noises that sound sourced in age old cassettes of street vendors cries from the 50s. Then we get into a more insistent rhythm track with 4 bit bowed bell scrapes around it. Roaring bass parts, feeding back delays, doubled up snares, the sounds of short circuit sparks and shocks. Everything becomes part of the beat. At some stage around here Kate goes walkabout into the dancing audience (yes, I know – again!) It ends and I’m laughing maniacally.
What another great night.