Tag: Automouse

Midnight in a very slow universe

March 2024
The Rossi Bar

With travel home to Worthing being what it is, Olivia Louvel wanted to go on first, so we start the evening with a mix of her songs on Doggerland, Barbara Hepworth and older pieces. It’s her first show since before the COVIDs, it starts with a recording of the voice backed by thin washes of synth, joined by a percussive jab stabbing in fours or fives. Olivia interacts with her projected visuals (herself, lines). Doorbells. The next starts with a much warmer drone and typewriter bursts. Again, Olivia’s voice. A breathy stab. Olivia briefly sings her voice soaring above the mix. Mostly she speaks, her voice warmer. There are layers of vocals. A breathy synth riff plays against her speaking. The third starts with a more insistent mid-range riff that she sings against. Some proper sub bass and synths curl around this. A nice sonic rhythm to start the next one, a foghorn and two whistling steam escapes, strings join in with Olivia’s voice; all interlocking. No drums yet, but this the most rhythmic piece so far. Insistent. Vocal hi-hats: Chssssh ch-ch-ch. The next song picks up vocally from the end of the last, acapella. She tweaks the feedback on the delay, riding it just the right side of feedback, a gurgling bass starts and a slow bass drum on the ones. The gurgle evolves to a judder with a full strength bass drone building underneath. She sets up some kind of stutter on the vocals and it stops. Computer jabs preface a drone and speech, vocoder-y whispers, its very machine language. Modem, rewinds. Card readers; teletypes. The last song starts with a percussive interplay between bass and pinging trebles under Olivia’s singing.  The bass bends. Her voice loops and layers up. The bass line develops and warps

[Something’s Happening] are seated facing each other on the stage across a table. Iris reads and Daryl plays. Well, they start whispering, sound creeps down from understairs, it takes about 5 minutes before something like audibility is achieved. Slowly the electronics come in, or is that the fridge, no it’s definitely from the stage. A snatch of words, back and forth jagged hum, phrase, jagged hum, phrase. I believe she’s reading from a book on critical theory from a conversation after. After reading a page she tears it out of the book. Or did I imagine that. Other sounds come in, a pinging bell. The buzz shifts pitch. Iris’ voice is warm enveloping, I can’t yet make out words, but it’s a comfort against the coldly formless electronics. She applies affects to her voice. A subsonic thud about 30bpm starts, and she bounces off it. A feedback emulating synth tone starts, a gentle melodic clattering rises underneath the electronics. The words are now completely lost to me, its just a human tone, with the rhythm of speech, or something like it – messed up by delay and reverb. Communication is lost. The drum has faded. There are layers of clattering now. A guitar based drone slowly comes into our awareness and the clattering fades to be replaced by a slow chime. “Stop”; a word breaks through, but then its lost again. More notes are added to the chimes loop. It turns out to be the guitar again. Iris just lets her voice loop now against dystopian discords and buzzes. The thud has returned almost building to a perceptible rhythm. The guitar is more guitar-y now, pinging away through languid delays. Iris starts to layer her voice. The beat goes and it winds down, her voice stuck in luxuriant Max Headroom stammers.


Finally, Automouse to bring down the house. Its starts with a buzz, then more buzzing, a distorted doorbell riff, a crunching  bass drone. Then the beat thunks in bass drum staccato, switching to white noise snare, the drums drop for a nasty bassline. This is generally pummelling, bursts of white noise. Then a switch to a faster dancehall bass drum, driving, driving along. Tearing synth stabs build it up, then swamping everything brings in a synth scale up and then into another hammering beat. A double time bass line, and the bass drum is back to a 4/4. A sweep of a synth again and switch the beat up and then down to half tempo. Full on buzzing bassline that pushes forward then veers into randomness briefly before veering back, then switching again. How many synonyms for driving forceful exciting distortion can I come up with, I’m not even halfway through and the energy levels just keep going up & up. It’s a frenzy of sound, it’s not a wall of noise, everything has its place, it’s an overloaded place, but oh, how distinct every sound is. There’s a bit where it all breaks down to more or less one note quadruple speed pulse like someone thrashing the bottom e on a guitar on the 12th fret as fast as they can, blam into a new bass drum. Syncopating in, this ones dropped the tempo, a bit of relief, hi-hats ticking, then a maelstrom of nastiness, then back to the groove. A winding noise like a Monotron delay (I don’t think it is, but has that energy) that pulverises the rhythm, then its all back again to the groove. The next goes in with a tuneful bottle clank. There’s a bit of breakcore-ish switching up the beats. And we’re into the last number the tempo is back to the max, the bass is switched to destruction, the bass drum is all thud and the snare is an assault to the back of the head, energy levels are through the roof, then the bass drum doubles up, the tempo increases even further and boom, it slams into sweeping delay feedback and end.

I don’t think it’s a sawtooth

January 2023
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.