Tag: Emma Papper

Before the chill

December 2022
The Rossi Bar

sThe evening started with Jake Smiths return this time as The Warped Love Group; starting with a bell and tube noises, a shimmery delay, a tonal siney, bass drops with a hint of an organ offbeat. Subtle sonic effects bubble away just drifting in and out of hearing. Is that a guitar strum, a voice, the delay modulates, the bassline mutates slightly. Are we on the second piece. Whistling, the sea. A full blown organ skank. A ticky tack rhythm track. The delay goes full on copycat tape delay and a stripped down new bassline and male vocal comes through. Two note clock organ. Repetition. But not repetition. Always evolving. Shifting. The bassline changes again, the organ only slightly. The rhythm track gets lost in shuffling ball bearings. We lose half the notes in the bassline, new voices. New bassline. Same shimmer. Stray percussion; slow actual drums. Ponderous. Actual singing from the computer. The organ skank is back. This bassline may be from Roots Radics. Everything drops and the last syllable from the vocal is stretched beyond recognition.  New bassline, a rhythm made of breath. Electric piano. A melodic part. A Rockers beat. A clocked snare, double up, a smear of a bassline. No snare. Electric piano, submerged by something that resolves into a two note snare. A vocal snatch from earlier. It builds like something off Dark Side of the Moon. Shiny. Ends on the bell.

Next Emma Papper’s new project with Jason Smart “A Day Trip to Europa”, Emma on laptop and Electronic Wind Synthesiser, Jason on words. Arpeggios start; with warped noises from the EWS swirling round it. There is something of the Space Age Bachelor Pad to the start, when flight was glamorous rather than a threat. Jason soothes as we set off. The second song is thicker more luxurious, the arpeggios muted, surrounding sonics slightly awry, unsettling. Weightless. The third starts with picked guitar, as Jason sings, we orbit Jupiter’s ocean moon. The next one is all drifting liquid. The next one continues like that but vocally goes all Solaris, but with fish. Jaunty guitar chords start the next singalong: “Who put the cosmos in my cocktail” I assume, it has a nice cosmic middle 8. The next track starts more disturbingly- random beeps. Seems to be about Euthanasia, a bossa nova beat referring back to that mid 90s lounge revival again, just adds another unnerving layer. The next one has picked guitar effected to almost harpsichord, and EWS spirals. Jason sings back to earth through bass burbles, swirls and twitters. Or he could be singing from the bottom of the European sea.

And the quite literally finishing us off is Chris midi_error in his Gun Boiler guise, promising us a set starting at 200bpm rising to 1200 at the end. He’s dressed up in a white mask and green spike wig, and in his garish shirt and jacket looks quite alarming. His set is surprisingly melodic and not as jarring as we may have anticipated. Staccato string stabs and superfast washes lull us into a false sense of security before the kick does come in along with the rattling snare, the drum rolls start turning into washes already: Chris has set out his stall. Submarine pings, I start laughing already. The drops to the kick just sound amazing. Some backwards stuff on the next breakdown. Its interesting enough to keep us distracted from what he’s doing. I assumed this would be brutal, and purely percussive, and although melody is going to be scarce it is surprisingly musical. I’m not going to describe each song individually, especially as get into abusing them with his Kaos pad. Sometimes they try and seduce us by pretending to be half speed, so we’re like “Oh, yeah?” before pow, in comes the bass drum again. I wish Wrong Music was still going at this point, this is made for the Volks. The second one has a sound like a hyperactive 7 year old bashing a 6” nail around the inside of a beer tankard. It does indeed get faster as we go, without getting furious or even dark. It’s fun. One track has a vocal sample, needless to say its incomprehensible and reduced to hypnotic percussion, he uses this as an excuse to do a slowdown. It doesn’t help us work out what it is. Is it like a frog in hot water, it seems normal. I can’t really process the differences in tempo now. By the final track the bass drums begin to blur into each other. The hi-hat’s a smear.

The wind chilled dew

November 2021

The Rossi Bar

Starting things off with lots of banging we have FROST. It’s unusual for us to have drums, and Dale has drums set up on the front of the tiny Rossi Bar stage, wires going off to a few devices, and the electronic pads. So he starts with a fairly open piece, rolling sprightly tight drums with pinging Raymond Scott sounds and a nice whistling melody over the top, from there he’s straight into more proggy territory, jerky beats, an elliptical sequence (backing track? I don’t think so by the way the sound modulates). There are too many beats to the bar, the timing is way odd. No melodic elements to this one, it’s all point/counterpoint. The third tune has a breathless Casio whine drone, with a more straightforward rhythm, this turns into a riff like Friske Frugt, it stretches out into a chiming section that alternates with something chiming in an altogether trickier time signature. The next starts with a chirrupingly tapped rhythm, that turns into some odd detuned riff, with pizzicato scattered rhythms and some buzzing hardcore on the cheap saw wave stabs. The last one is a full on prog action epic, that he somehow gets electric piano chords in amongst the staccato drum pattern.

Second up was Territorial Gobbing “down from Leeds”.  With his table of stuff, twin cassette players, a loop pedal, a springing ruler, desk bell, honker, file, matt with contact mic. He starts like some quick draw artiste with a cassette player in each hand, swinging each arm back and forth. Squalling feedback at us instead of bullets. Then we get a beautifully timed comedy patch of silence. Then we get into staccato snatches from the tapes, music, speech, reverbed, sped up, looped. Or not. A bout of rummaging gets us into a denser noisier passage while Theo tries to summon “Alex .. a … A.. Alex…. Alexa” He has a deft touch, the kind of comic timing we haven’t seen in an age, and an ear for when to let rip with a proper screech of noise. And he works hard at the table, I don’t think much is unused at the end.

Rounding the evening off we have Emma Papper, with laptop, Electronic Wind Instrument EWI5000, and clarinet. The first track is bouncing chimes and wafts of trilling synth with occasional tonal arpeggios with a hint of flexitone. The second has a percolating synth line, with a melody from the EWI that’s all slurred detuned washes that occasionally have stringy touches of Chi Mai sung out by ice bound sirens. The third is all angelic choirs and distant aliens that slowly shifts into focus, with some deep shifting detail. The next piece is harsher, winds and icy, gritty high pitched spines. Abstract and less comfortable. It feels like an ice cave, I can even hear the dripping, giving way to a landscape of slowly undulating tones. The next piece carries on from here with warmer vocal washes. The penultimate piece tends toward what sounds like overdriven guitar drones, with strings and hints of birdsong in its fluttering synths. The final piece brings the clarinet up off the table, meshing it against the shifting drones from the laptop, the backing shifts so slowly it’s almost imperceptible, giving the clarinet an evolving background to work on.

Joining the long list of people who have enjoyed playing at The Spirit of Gravity so much they’ve released their set afterwards here we have Emma Papper’s set from the November show: emmapapper.bandcamp.com/album/emma-papper-live-at-the-spirit-of-gravity