The Rossi Bar
So first thing we had as well as the advertised Nuclear Whale we had the bonus of a completely banjo free Fane (I was a bit disappointed with that to be honest) But he did bring some acoustic instrumentation – but also – electronics! Starting with the pair of them on a super fat multi layered drone – organy, but nicely buzzing then added to with nasal whistles and bass nastiness. James started reading from some prepared Gnosticism, there’s a palpable tension to the drone by this point. There’s a deft transition when he stops speaking a modulation to the drone until it’s just a bleepy warble with a nasty glitchy rhythm struggling to come through. James picks up his acoustic guitar and starts a tape of bagpiping. The beeps and rhythm slowly form into actual things from their nebulosity. Shimmers, washes, drums all separate out and run on under James’ strumming. Jon takes his turn in a more declamatory style from his book. The drone storms back in shivery and strong with some chunky rumbling and beatwork under it. We get into a section of whirrs and more acoustic guitar, Jon has some vocal samples he gets into stuttering repetition asJames goes Americana on us. Although he does manage to get it playing backwards by the gentle fade out of the set.
Then it was the return of Robyn Steward, after a brief introduction to her sound world she starts with a breathy loop of her trumpet octaved down for a bass warble, a nice breathing part of mid-range, and a plaintive almost Cornet like line over the top. Stunning. The second song starts with another fairly slow 6 note trumpet line that underpins everything. Over this she harmonises some pads layered into chords, and takes a higher line for the next layer pf loops and drops in the occasional bass wash. She adds a heavily delayed vocal part. The third song seems to unfold immediately, a drone of whistles, bass trumpet pads and mid-range washes. Over this is more developed delayed trumpet part, again fairly melancholy, but this time wandering all over the acoustic spectrum. Some vocal parts lurk around in the background. The final part is more up-tempo seems to be something about trains, its starts with a nicely turned vocal loop that encapsulates a steam train really nicely. There are more interlocking trumpet parts for this Looping round, stuttering ribald notes, melodic parts, the train slips over the hill and stops.
And finally it was Eyal Talmor and his broken synth, he also has some other devices and delivers a set of great subtlety and invention. You can read this but it makes more sense to go and watch the video on our YouTube channel with the best set of headphones you can find. Anyway, it starts with a chirruping uber murmuration, replaced by a big slow disjointed almost beat of squelching and booms. He uses the full range of the PA, quivering high ends, proper bass, the depths of sub bass, it’s never overbearingly loud but properly sonic with a lot of volume and timbre changes. Rhythms come and go, the sounds from the synth vary wildly, some distortions some fantastically digitally detailed. A lot of dynamic variation, some things unfold slowly some scurry around developing and fading in seconds. His hands move around the keyboards “Like Bobby Crush”, according to one audience member I spoke to, working away at the buttons – there’s one moment where you can see he’s just poised about to make a change but something happens … and… he’s just hanging waiting, enjoying that moment then the moment is gone and he’s back at it.