Tag: Gagarin

Invisible friends can be real friends, too

April 2024
The Rossi Bar

Starting the evening we had I’m Dr Buoyant with a set founded on his heavily sample based new album. Its starts with a loop of what sounds suspiciously like half a John Barry orchestral phrase, with a tension building pause, superseded by a looped short orchestral jab. Finally Tony gets stuck in with some effects and a switch around with another stab, the two of them circling each other, with pings and whooshes. Another layer of brass on a much longer loop. The delays make it all a bit delirious. Then suddenly it’s into a slower more sonorously lovely phrase. Hmm oboes… and chimes, looping, looping, near repetition breeding disorientation. There’s a guitar phrase almost identical to the chimes swapping with it set against distorted seabirds. Some speech sits just above a slowly circling whistling breathy wind, the whistle goes and it all gets more ominous until a thumped beer bottle bang! Bang! Bang! Pause. Offset against this a distorted string does a slightly delayed matching rhythm. They both briefly step up. The sound is thickened with delays and slower sounds, bass hums. The rhythm steps up against. Its nervous, twitchy, some quick synth-y burbles. Insistent. Space laser zaps. There is a slow build-up of waves and an ominous undercurrent of delay feedback that swells to the end. The whole set is a really disorienting psychedelic repetition, slow evolution and textures

Gagarin starts his set off quietly, water, slow pads, before the warm middle-y arpeggio starts up set against whooshes and what must be called a pretty banging beat comes blasting in – uncertainly at first, but then pow. Bass drum pounding,pinging percussive sounds, the occasional tinging hi-hat. A cold long note, slowly evolving timbre. And a strong humming riff. It’s taken the recorded version of the track and used it for something much more insistent and driving. The beats stop and we have an almost jazzy set of flourishes out to end. The second track starts with beachy steps, or wet leaf steps, perhaps. A drone starts up, pulsing, bass-y, a thinner slow melodic line, matched by a lovely reedy counter line and then very electronic synthesiser, all working together building, watching, ticking hi hats tickle in, then the booming bass drum: boom boom  boom bdum. More relaxed this time if equally big, then a big sub-bassline that rolls up and down its notes. Everything now drops down to the rhythm tracks. A scratching over them. The melodic lines come back imperceptible until suddenly you notice you’re in the middle of them. The third track starts with a repeating nasal synth line of a rattling tonal electric motor synth. Birdsong and a fast hissing hi-hat pattern, followed by quitter shapeless bass drum, and staccato snare, the synth figure keeps going and the beat speeds along. Super low bass synth line pushes everything along even harder. Graham tapping away on percussion lines, interweaving, a choir sample “oo-ahhs”. A bit more of that birdsong, but this feels a long way from the mellow ambience of “Corvid”. The track segues almost seamlessly into “Stanmer” starting with slow piano notes echoed against the birdsong, it’s a stunning piece he conceived up at The Willow Dome on what is now the Eco-musicology project site at Stanmer Organics. The piano line continues, almost a repetition, but each time through slightly different.  A string pad slowly underpins the piano, and eventually a slow drum comes in, again not quite looping, hi-hat, and then a synth line that follows the piano. It gently eases back out to the slowly dissolving piano and birdsong. A set that worked really well in reverse to what almost anyone else would have done.

And finally we had Melancholic Robot Tantrum easing into his set with a pure warbling set of reversed bell like tones dodging round each other, then a stately buzzing bass in foghorn timing. The bells drop a couple of octaves and then a monster mid-tempo beat kicks in along with some detuned rhythmic synth noises. Hi-hats pick up the energy. Then a vicious noise synth ramp. This is the main melodic component. There is a slightly malevolent air to the piece, it lives in that place where you aren’t sure if it’s repetition or s l o w evolution., the rhythm cuts out and three or four delay feedback strands carry us into the next track, identified by a thunderous jungle rhythm and noise bass. This is driving. Full on, the noise synths just adding passing juggernaut washes. The bass solid. There are no breakdowns, just powering through. The melodic line here provided a metal on metal screech. At some stage the bass breaks up into a cut staccato 8th note battering. The rhythm eventually just falls apart. The next starts with fast pulsing bass and hammer snare. The drums sourced from abstract sounds this time round. Odd noises rhythmically punctuate the bass. Eventually a hissed beat murks up around the bass, and everything morphs to let it in, then a much slower almost Laibach rolling beat takes it out. Everything around that becomes sparer, dubbed punctuation. Then a lighter jungle rhythm floats in. The density overwhelms us then thins out suddenly. Ending on a bass drum, voice (?) and more feeding back effects. A slower D’n’B beat starts the next track with an even slower march beat restraining it. The bass is a double off beat, the drum track evolves quickly, new snares endless changes, the bass coarsening in sound. Its fast/slow, head-nodding. The next one starts with a superfast thrumming bass, syncopated drums work around it, some nice white noise snare, rising synth notes. A breakdown at last for the drums to get all Drum and Bass-y again, and then another build. Some squelching, and a rolling interlocking set of sounds driving us on, the bass thickens , expands and dominates turning into a continuous rumbling morphing note. Another breakdown for something that sounds like a version of the Get Carter soundtrack recalled in a nightmare, while a racketing build builds up hysterically under it. And it all ends chaotically again. We have a few minutes left, unexpectedly, so another track is done, but it takes a while to find. It’s another junglistic monster, this time the rattling fed by drones and pads. This one has a lot going on in the beats they evolve and change constantly. The drones are more subtly altered until you realis that everything is this nasty noise and then some squelchy bass starts in and the drums scatter and everything stops.

Many thanks for the video shot by Tony Bowall:

Solid brickwork

March 2017
Green Door Store

Feed Back Cell

Feed Back Cell

Feed Back Cell were just back from a trip to Iceland, where they’d been doing more development on their modified cellos. Alice Eldridge’s cello seemed to have more acoustic adaptations, apart from the speaker built into the back run off a small car radio amp (with battery) that both were equipped with, hers had sitar style drone bass strings from the bridge up under the neck and some other adaptations, Chris Kiefer had more obviously electronic adaptations with an array of about 25 potentiometers built up over one quadrant.
So; the speakers built into the back can get a feedback loop drone going on, resonating strings and things filtering away. And then you have the standard and extended cello techniques on top of that, and both players have a full repertoire of both, so there’s plenty of that lovely cello rich scrape and drone to go round. There’s a lot of intense watching between the two, odd complimentary moments – and considering the constant changes far fewer of those “who made that sound” looks of surprise than I’d be making.

Clive Henry

Clive Henry

Clive Henry has a simpler setup, notionally, some devices, sampler, contact mic / hydrophone, a big metallic spring and some sleight of hand stuff he keeps hidden behind his back. We’d originally booked him for a Harsh Noise Wall, as I’ve heard he’s about the best at the full on blast of static. But, what we got was a set of subtlety and variety, richly textured, considered, with a surprising dynamic range. To be sure there was some pretty terrifying high frequency wail, and some clothes flapping bottom end, but this was tempered with quiet, sombre passages and the odd moment of comedy boing. And Theresa May which we’ll gloss over. The set seems split into three sections based on originating sound sources, each with their own particular set of sonics and peaks, and their own version of the burst full throttle noise.



And rounding off the evening was Gagarin, we had three new songs, a couple from ‘Aoticp’ and some of the more textured pieces from the ‘5 Hills in Surrey’ pieces. Yeah, so how do we describe Gagarin freshly? He’s added a phone to the setup since he last played at SoG that has some live time-stretching of samples, but he still largely uses the foot pedal triggered drums and hand controlled pads, with a keyboard added. There’s still that satisfaction of watching him dance between the pedals, even if his mobility has been slightly reduced by breaking his pelvis last year. The new stuff is good as well, it sits satisfyingly deep in the bass bins of the Green Door Store while bringing in the more fractured slower tempos of the looser things he’s been doing recently.

From Heaven to Hell

August 2015
Green Door Store


Kuroneko Kuroneko were first on, they were due to be augmented by a further player coming down from London, but she was stymied by the Tube strike. Fortunately Ruse23 was on a trip to the old home town so was down here early.

Russ, along with Paul Khimasia Morgan, Adam Lygo and someone I don’t know, step off from HRT’s invocatory setup, although only Adam sports a mask on tonight’s show (Ruse’s is taped to his setup), Paul also has a noise setup, the unknown has a synth and Adam twirls gurgling vocalisations around the room. It’s a tough thing to do well, HRT hedged their bets with black comedy, but playing it straight can be hard to pull off and I think they did. This was pretty scary stuff, you could practically smell the sulphur and see smoke forming in dark corners of the room, Adam’s voice travelling back through time.

Ingrid Plum

Ingrid Plum Ingrid Plum started with her pure voice, reminiscent of her singing in the tunnels at Newhaven Fort last autumn, almost designed to put us off the scent. She also had a cassette player with tones from a recent event playing back through a small (very small) Marshall stack. Almost a toy, but it had two speakers with very different tones and she also used a mic input into it that she used dexterously for tonal feedback. It’s a disarming set that skirts noise and fuses well with her vocal style.


Gagarin Gagarin played a great deal from his new CD, but with the bottom end extended into the depths allowed by the Green Door Store’s Bass bins, and generally toughened up. His visuals were a film of the New Horizons flight to Pluto from the NASA website slowed down to a virtual crawl. The album is a mixture of his field recordings (the Balham garden: birds, trains etc) and scattering rhythms. Not quite the same kind of London sound of his last CD, more like the abstraction of the touch cassette, with more skittering beats, lighter on its feet even with the extra weight of the soundsystem.

There’s got to be an easier way to get your Five-a-day

August 2014
Back to the Green Door Store in August, and a hat-trick of fine visuals to accompany the usual high quality music this month.

Andrew Greaves

Andrew GreavesAndrew Greaves began with a premiere of his piece for organ, ‘Octabeast’. A rare foray into composition for SoG, this was a massively physical performance, with his swift fingers producing relentless arpeggios, the effort becoming increasingly visible as the piece developed. The overlaying echo, and rhythmic pulse which began to introduce itself, produced a kosmische feel. The accompanying visuals were provided by street photographer Simon Peacock, presented in Andrew’s patent flowing slideshow format, and grounded the experience in a way that more spacey images would have failed to do. Watch out for a photographic exhibition from Simon, with the possibility of further collaborations in store, and you can also find a CD of ‘Octabeast’ at our Bandcamp page at http://spiritofgravity.bandcamp.com/album/octabeast.

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GagarinSet to his trademark film of Soviet space footage, Gagarin’s set eased in with ambient washes and picked out keyboard notes, but soon his mode of more delicate physical performance was introduced. Moving as lightly as Fred Astaire, his hands and feet danced across his pads and keys, always a pleasure to witness. Glitch funk recognisable from his Biophilia CD, nicely pulled apart and played around with live, was interspersed with less rhythmic interludes creating a subtle and nuanced set. The visuals developed into a more abstract, washed out style as things continued, closing with a more robust beat-driven sequence.

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PawnsphinxThe professionalism of Pawnsphinx’ musical presentation apparently caused some confusion, with some mistaking his set of original pieces for a DJ set. Muscular beats emerged from his laptop, bouncing well-developed drum and synth pads around the venue. He also shared with a bemused audience the bizarre video art of Matthew Barney, from his Cremaster cycle (www.cremaster.net/). This involved two identical women stealing grapes through a tablecloth from a load of air stewardesses in two blimps, with the stolen fruit defining the choreography of a Busby Berkeley-style dance troupe on an American football pitch below – no, I wouldn’t believe me either. Possibly a bit too distracting to make the most of the sounds developing, but Ben was given leave to continue past our normal curfew time to provide something of an SoG rave-up to finish the evening.

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