Tag: Iplu

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.

Wiring not Driving

January 2022
The Rossi Bar

As usual all plans are provisional, so our last minute lineup change had Astral Engineering step up at the 11th hour. Excellent news. I’ve been enjoying the CD from 2020 over lockdown. Starting with a nice fat multi-layered drone to settle us down before hoofing off into a nicely spatial arpeggio with odd spinning tones and occasional bass line part. A detuned string synth melodic line wanders in before we segue nicely into the next piece. Slightly more insistent drums, and some piano that gives the impression of a space waltz without actually being one. Another creepy melody stalks this one. The next tune starts with a gated shimmer, joined by a staggered synth line and loping bass drum. It all gives way to an ascending synth line; and a key change that leads us off into the space bassline of the next tune. Occasional small craft whirr past us as space drones, the bass line gets some subtle filter work before some proper acid squelch activity occurs on it; this one could easily be 20 minutes long if I had my way. A white noise snare indicates the arrival of the final track with a clockwork hi-hat. The unfolding synth sounds like a CZ101 and we get a proper rolling bassline. It sounds almost like a played bass guitar at times, the way it seems to stand and then roll back into life.
Hear more from Astral Engineering on his BandCamp site: astralengineering.bandcamp.com/

Its Iplu’s first live show ever. He doesn’t seem nervous. His set starts with some field recordings, some subtle processing, some layering. It’s a little bit crunchy; gritty even in places. Some electronic whirps and understated uneasy drone. It’s not a drone it shifts slightly into discernibility, some tones, resonance. Having heard him speak, unlike most of the audience, I can hear his filtered voice amongst the ducks and tea-making. As the field recordings start to get busier the effects get less prominent, glass bells with a hint of something, and then it’s all tuned delay, hints of feedback loops, clanking. After about 15 minutes a glitched up beat starts, cd stammers and winds. A rhythm brings us out of our reveries. Its again heavily processed, I feel my head being slapped by it. Before it gets overwritten by a slow pad melody, some squelches eventually join and an LFO lifted bassline ebbs and flows. The final piece starts with reverbed bass notes on a piano, an occasional interspersed upper register note, a busy percussion part starts in, working around the high notes. A much busier high synth riff provides some melodic colour before we get a drop for some work on the percussion and it plays out with a slow build-up of parts counterpointing the synth melody before the drums are back for a fairly emotional climax.

Due to the lack of the regular sound engineer Meljoann’s vocals are a little low in the mix due to feedback issues, which robs is of some of that pleasure, but means we can revel in the joy of her backing tracks. She starts with her guitar strapped on. She starts with her customary “I hope everyone likes RnB”, before the backing track kicks in and she starts getting into some fretwork, the vocals are desperate. The bass is super fat and envelopes us, the drums thwack like benny hill swatting that bald bloke. It’s a fully warped sound, Jam & Lewis run amok with a PC producer. The second track eases up on the density for “Assf*ck the boss” an ode to the ways of call centre life. We get straight back into the high density and higher tempo for the next track “Trophy Wife” , this one comes on like a deranged mid 80s BoysTown banger with layers of resignation and an urgency of fidgeting trebly stabbing synths over another monstrous bass. Then we get a break with a word from The Mustics corporation, Meljoanns sponsor. I haven’t mentioned any visuals yet, Meljoann supplies her own, with advert breaks.
She has her own mythology, it’s worth checking out her videos on YouTube, you get a whole stream of life improvement videos from the Mustics Corp as well as well as her own more orthodox, but equally disturbing videos for the songs, anyway back to the set. The next track comes on like Prince wrestling a sea-serpent bass, occasionally the whole thing gets overwhelmed by a circling detuning queasiness inducing synth.
We get the second ad break, the Mustics representative staring malevolently at us while delivering her platitudes. The tempo goes right down for the ballad “I quit”, a two-note bassline, ghost synths, a heartful vocal and a stirring guitar solo. With proper posing. The final track “Business Card” starts with a bassline full of static, Gameboy beeps and really defies description once it starts, nothing sounds quite right, layers build and overwhelm us. It could really do with being VERY LOUD.

Apart from Meljoann whose visuals are an integral part of her set, the excellent visuals are from Chris midi_error, as we’ve quickly become accustomed to.