Spin ‘Em Enthralled

October 2021
The Rossi Bar

So we start the evening with Dan Powell with his mic’d up tray of objects, and eschewing his Raspberry Pi for a shiny new laptop for processing. I couldn’t quite see what he was up to a lot of the time, occasionally is hands moving around through gaps between things. Or picking up something to bong on it. Starting with some scrapes and tones, big reverbs that have note-ish resonances, there are some beautiful space wobbles and synthy warbles that come through over the scrapes and chimes. Some seem sourced from clashes or clatters from his small bits and bobs, transformed by his Max MSP patches out into otherworldly oscillations.  It all actually feels oddly unhinged, detuned, deranged – but calm, relaxed even. Interestingly not “right” in the best possible way. Ambient but not in that stoner vibe fashion. There are times it reminds me of the electronics in “Outer space with sounds”, primal but not brutish, something from the deepest unconscious of electronics. Properly unnerving.


Superficially rocking a similar setup to Dan, we had Nil By Nose with a cookie tin, mic’d up mat and small synth in a tiny box, it’s a very different output, fed through with a tonal line of feedback and distortion we come from a much more confined acoustic space. Thicker and more claustrophobic. Looping percussive clacks and ruler thrums, bringing in traffic from the upstairs street. Although it’s not a looper, it’s a very slowly decaying delay. At one point our masked hero bashes and shakes the tin onto the mat bashing out a rhythm that runs for a few bars, then a flurry of conversation, mangled up with intertwining repetitions, the feedback turned into a windy howl. Distorted thumb piano crushes play compression tricks on the whine. It sounds like someone shuffling office furniture.
Rounding off the evening we had The Founders as This Sound Bureaucracy with their not entirely reliable history of the spirit of gravity. Tony running his usual looping set up, nice circular washes with a rhythm of ball bearings falling down a glass staircase – we had Nick slowly letting us know he was going to be verbalising this evening. He started the set taping a slogan onto the front of the box/table Tony’s kit was set up on, there’s a shift in rhythm and Nick starts his historical tale. This probably the best sound I’ve heard from tony, its driving, Nick sync’d up, pauses working right, changes right in place. My introduction got a nice distorted launch. As Nick gets properly into the Free Butt years, Tony winds down the rhythms and transmutes into a staggering noise pulse “we were fields, all fields” getting its usual appreciative reception. Tony gears everything back up, only thicker and noisier. Sirens. “Stand aside Nietzsche”. Then as a bonus, we get “The Manifesto Of Experiential Music”, proclaimed over laser jabs, raucous trills, noise bolts and general horrible noises. I’ve never managed to work out if Rilke was taking the piss with this manifesto, its accurate to the point of mockery. Tony finishes off the evening with a turgid, lumbering, detuned rollicking rhythm of noise and destruction. While Nick finishes off his tapework in the inevitable fashion.
This was the first time we’ve had visuals from midi_error, which was a real improvement, the screen was a bit cobbled together – it will be better in November, but the visuals were great, from filtered landscapes to static straggling lines.

Wearing the speaker wires

October 2015
The Scope XV

Barnabas Yianni

Barnabas Yianni Back to a full strength roster tonight, and we got off to a good start with a set from Barn, with a laptop and controller plus some bits and pieces, his set seems to be in five sections, with a foil. The first reminds me somewhat of my airboat ride from last month, a nice gritty sound, but his properly generated. This breaks into pulses and thence into something that has washes of almost sea like noise, before the final section leads onto a cascade of electronic tones.
He has a release that’s similar on barnabas-y.bandcamp.com apparently.


Quinta

Quinta Quinta is accompanied by two other keyboard players, who also double up on saw and stylophone and laptop. This as you can imagine pushes the limits of the Caroline’s setup pretty effectively. They start with an unaccompanied vocal piece about Boudicca, before moving into a song with some Nyman-esque very rhythmic interlocking piano parts all three of them intricately locked . They then get stuck into the peripheral kit for an uncanny waltz before coming back to, I was going to say orthodox, but perhaps a more finely structured piece of tightly knuckled piano. A really good mix of modernist composition and sub five minutes pop song lengths.


The Oneirologist

The Oneirologist Rick is down in Brighton for his first solo set as The Oneirologist, which is (I think) a live soundtrack project. The film is called something about moths and has two lights (from a boat, maybe) to which he makes some quiet noise or drones – its too fierce for a drone, but too quiet for noise – so work that out yourself. Strongly textured tones, and resonant knocks from séance next door. Overall, unsettling, I think.


Dan Powell & minimal impact

Dan Powell & minimal impact And to round the evening off, Dan Powell plays his final collaboration of the series, this one with minimal impact. it was supposed to be acoustic, so he has his Bontempi reed organ mic’d up to a fuzzbox and delay, Steve minimal impact has his plastic harmonium from India, through a new Space Echo pedal he found somewhere and is rightly very pleased with. I found some old visuals by Karl so turn the projector round to play them over the duo while they hum and drone pleasingly.


In Henry’s Rain

September 2015
The Scope XIV

Cheesemaster’s Home Video

Cheesemaster's Home Video
We start the evening off with some of my holiday video…. I’ve got some footage of a ride on a jet-boat in the Everglades, the engine sound is raw as hell – a 7 litre beast with no baffles that overloads the camera mic quite nicely. I projected the film onscreen and fed the soundtrack through a cascade of fuzzboxes, it makes a nice AV noise set. It’s fun and I can’t help leaning into the corners.


Andre’s Elbow

Andre's Elbow Second up is Andre’s Elbow, Dan Powell and Tony Rimbaud, the soundcheck was excellent, Tony processing Dan’s small percussion and throat singing to lovely effect; a rolling thick exotic mosaic. The set itself is marred with some tonal feedback that seemed to get deep into the effects chain and won’t go away, and as a consequence they were too distracted trying to dispatch the thing to really gel. I’d like to see them do it again, as when they had everything back and under control Dan had some whistling vocal drone and singing bowl going on and it finally started to show the promise of the soundcheck.


Deemer

Deemer Rounding of the evening were Deemer; Dee Byrne and Merijn Royaards down from the big city. Dee plays saxophone and Merijn had a stack of old acid boxes; then, between them, they had some old portable CRT style TVs and a whole lot of processing kit. It was a set that felt full of opportunities and at any moment could go shoot off in any of a number of directions – there were elements of jazz, some suppressed 303, some noise things bubbling up through magnetic sensors in front of the TVs – the frame hold lines buzzing through them. And they did visit a number of these places in a remarkably coherent way. Dee plays with a number of the improviser’s we’ve had down recently and they both pay a great deal of attention to what’s going on around them.


It’s hard to explain

November 2014
The Scope

Stuart turned up early and cracked jokes and kept everyone (well me at least) entertained before we opened. The evening was a performance of a few of Bobby’s scores from his new book “Music in Text”. Which will help explain some of the things that happen.

As people were coming in I was getting them to do some lemon sucking while listening to the pinging tines of a fork.

Dan Powell and Paul Khimasia Morgan

Dan Powell and Paul Khimasia Morgan The evening started with a new duo of Paul Khimasia Morgan and Dan Powell. Dan had his laptop and a scattering of percussion and Paul had a tape player, zither and some jumble of things. Quiet and elliptical, rattling and humming.


Bobby Barry

Bobby Barry Robert Barry / Bobby Barry / Monster Bobby introduced his book, explained some pieces and what the book was about. He performed three pieces which were more loosely based on his scores than following them. Lots of processing and electronics.


Nil

Nil nil set up an impromptu kitchen for Culinary Music, mic’d up the boiling pan and shopping board. Chris Parfitt is so wonderfully deadpan, a career in silent movies was sadly avoided. Dan has a lot more ham. But not literally.

Tony Rimbaud has some of the more prepared pieces worked out, and a rather lovely vocal piece compiled out of previously recorded parts.

For the next piece musicians are scattered around the room hidden in corners arpeggiating away, Chris in one corner, little Kev in another, me under the screen, Tony and Steve over by the door…

We have an attempt at conducting a new language, splitting the room by vowels and consonants. but it all ends up as swearing.

It might not help with understanding what went on, but there are some rather lovely photos at Agata Urbaniak’s flickr page:
www.flickr.com/photos/agataurbaniak/sets/72157648968324729
Tony Rimbaud has also uploaded his full pieces on his SoundCloud page:
http://soundcloud.com/im-dr-buoyant


A new home

So the first show in our new home The Three And Ten in Steine Street.

We like it, it has something of the Albert, Something of the Marlborough and a little something all of its own.

We were the first show in apart from the comedians so things were a bit tricky at first. but we soon got the hang of it.


Dan Powell opened the venue, playing from the back. Perversely. Accompanied by very abstract visuals from _minimalVector.

he never gives me titles for his pieces, so I’ve called this segment “Wilf”
dan_powell-wilf.mp3


Setting up on the floor of the stage with his Sitar, out of sight, but partially in range of Bartosz video feed was Same Actor making his second appearance in this blog of recent times. It is another good one, natch.

same_actor-life_drawing.mp3


Stepping in at the last minute for Bemass, who couldn’t make it due to bela being caught ill in Vancvouver, was ‘J’m black (again) with a Safehouse Wildcard Electro-Acoustic Ensemble.
Featuring Monty Oxymoron, from The Damned, Alasdair Willis from The Vitamin B12, Alastair Strachan from Vole, and matt Grey, who I’ve not seen play before.

This is a bit from the space section of their set, before Monty got into jazzy chords.

safehouse_wildcard_ensemble-60_cycle_groan.mp3

Safehouse @ Spirit of Gravity

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Bells

We have a new host, tying things together and making up for the fact Rashamon is on holiday, electronica superstar and funnyman Lee Hume.

If you really want I’ll put some of his introductions up, just so he gets a soundfile too.

Dan Powell started the evening with a set of electro-acoustic improvisations and new sound processing software. It was mad, like a kids toy train stealing a 1950’s computer.
here’s a track called Bells.
dan_powell-bells.mp3

Following dan was Made out of wool, an act with a special place in the heart of the Spirit of Gravity. After blasting us with a solo set as yellow not yellow at SoG@Wrong, this collaborative set between Jason and Nikki, was a much more subtle beast. The mp3 starts from the point I started hallucinating. Its a track called Bells.
made_out_of_wood-bells.mp3

They said it couldn’t be done. “The Gross Consumer playing at Spirit of Gravity – you’re having a laugh, it’ll never work”.
So proving two things, the broad tastes of The Spirit of Gravity, and the broader musical reaches of The Gross Consumer, we proved them wrong. We love it. Heres a track called Bells.

the_gross_consumer-bells.mp3

And thanks to steve at minimal impact we have a (large) download of the whole of The Gross Consumer set, including feeble attempts at justifying his actions in light of what was on the flyer (that is, it has all the banter).

1

The Battle of Brighton Live

SoG’s new out-reach programme nearly fell at the first hurdle when various acts were booked to appear in Bond Street’s trendy bar Riki Tik’s on 30th September as part of Brighton Live’s city-wide free music fest. Let’s just say that the selection of abstract electro-acoustic experimentation didn’t go down that well with the locals. Funny as it sounds OK to me when I listen to it now, particularly Dan Powell‘s set, which started the evening off:

Dan_Powell-BL06.mp3

This Sound Bureacracy followed, although technical problems stopped them producing the full range of sounds that were planned. Despite this, the set still came together from time to time:

This_Sound_Bureaucracy-BL06.mp3

The tentative nature of the performance didn’t help with the audience though, so here is the entirety of Minimal Impact‘s set, before he ran for the hills:

Minimal_Impact-BL06.mp3

Celled didn’t play at all, but the night was saved when, fresh from his triumph at Concorde 2, Rashamon rode in on his white charger and quietened the natives with a smooth performance of hypnotic beats and melodies, which quite frankly was what the whole gig should have been like if we had thought it through. I’m sorry to say that I was cowering in the corner by this time, so didn’t get a recording of the set, but please acept my word when I say it was a cracker.

Tony Rimbaud