The Rossi Bar
Dan Powell was perched just off the edge of the stage, with all his kit on a table onstage. He was (to all appearances or whatever the audio equivalent is) working mostly electronically, rather than filtering small percussion. He had some new Raspberry Pi devices and switched between tonal washes, thrums and scratchy electronics. James O’Sullivan was using prepared guitar, mostly with it horizontal on his lap, things under the strings, things over the strings, around the strings, pulling at the strings, tweaking, scratching. Occasionally shouting or whistling into the pickups. They work together well, listening, switching, complementing. Dan dropping out so James can scratch, James dropping out to let a bass-y spacey noise pass through their sonic universe. Muster is a duo of subtleties, odd quiet things that impress. Which isn’t to say that they don’t get loud or frantic there’s a nice sequence with a bubbling synth noise, some clumping sounds and James picking up his guitar in an orthodox hold and fretting at it in quite a frenzy. Or another point where he has it feeding back – albeit in a quiet and controlled manner. Overall, it’s a set I’m happy to listen to with my eyes closed, which means I don’t get the pleasure of watching them worry away at their devices, and it is a pleasurable watch, full of interesting activities.
Dolly Dollycore returns with her latest reworking of the piece she did last time she played for us. Along with her vocal, gong & percussion, her laptop work has moved on a step with the addition of a controller adding extra levels of inference. She starts with the gong, booming and more tickling stick work, she weaves in and out of the acoustic and electronic worlds, sometime her voice, sometimes percussion, sometimes electronics, combining, layers of recorded and live voices, words. Creepy hints of savannah nights worm through. It’s more disturbing than previously. The electronics wield field recordings, recorded percussion and musical fragments, they build shapes around her words and drop down to silence for some particularly salient point. Emphasis. This time I didn’t cry though.
Mai Mai Mai
Finally we have Mai Mai Mai, he’s live soundtracking a film of a southern Italian religious festival filmed in the 50s full of possessed folk dancing, singing, rolling on the floor and such. One problem is that Toni’s synths are still somewhere in Italy, this is the first day of his tour and they didn’t arrive when he did. In fact they stayed in Italy for the whole of his trip. Fortunately he did have his hand luggage, with laptop including a pre-recorded version of the soundtrack, some effects and a couple of pieces of kit he can use. And use well. Voices whisper, things creak, there is NOISE, booms. As suits a soundtrack it’s pretty abstract – at times building up to some pretty torrid sound pressure. At other times it settles down to odd rhythmic patterns with sonic washes and tones. Sometimes the voices come through strong talking, singing, laughing. Strong, but not un-effected. There’s a nice lengthy section with some monks singing layered up with a child’s voice and some church bells slowed down to infinity. His set ends on a two tone pulse with Residents-y singing, gradually being swamped by increasingly massive drones…