Tag: Nina Kohout

Monotron bridges

November 2023
The Rossi Bar

Cour’en start with laughter, and then whistling, slowly out of nothing a two note bassline starts to form,  drum machine follows, a fizzing distorted organ and Louise’s voice through loads of delay. Thoughts Collide, shouting “Broken!”, an organ solo. Brief. Back to words again and pitch bent organ and end. Some banter. The second song starts on an altogether more buzzing tip, they turned it up and the volume gives an energy to the bass. The organ this time is used for slicing punctuation. An evil guitar solo, feedback and screwdriver fuzz. Back again to words. Then everything stops into delay and guitar feedback “Wot-ot-ot-ot?”. Next one starts on bass drum, then a moodier bassline, less buzz. A spooky organ riff as it’s just after Halloween, the guitar played with an electric toothbrush this time. It drops down to drums and voice for the final voice and stop. The next one starts with an indistinct bass and strident rhythm. The bass suddenly bursts into a pinging acidy burble. The guitar on this one a filthy deep churn. Filtering synth, another one burbling. An exchange of heckling and a proper full throttle bouncing bassline, the vocals come in before the drums, “Who the fuck are you?”, a nice B52s fuzz organ riff. A guitar burst channelling Andy Gill then down to a bassline stomp to end. The last song starts with a rubber band bassline, and a weird CZ101 backwards detuned riff that warps into a modulating drone during the verses. The weird riff to end into reverb and noise and laughter.

Karl M V Waugh next up. A very different type of set, sound-tracking an op art video he’d made. “Watch this, don’t watch me”. A buzzing drone murks up out of the silence, modulating deep layers building up under it. A higher buzz sneaks in, slowly the sound develops, thickens. Still builds nothing lost, more layers; more, more layers. Nothing lost, the top layer warps out into a top buzz. Constantly shifting. A delayed keyboard clanging riff. Still building. A big Tardis modulation enfolds everything as it sweeps into existence. There’s a sound like someone struggling to shut down a feeding back 500w Marshall stack in the dark warehouse next door. It floats along like this for a while, then continues to build as a sea-swell roar swoops in. A synthetic pterodactyl can be heard over this as everything reaches the peak. I can’t see the visuals properly from where I’m sitting, God knows what’s going on there. The storm breaks into fierce acoustic winds that batter the room. Eventually it the wind dies and the bass drone slopes back in, the sea recedes and a nasty buzz envelopes everything. A distant choir, the bass splits into a thrumming bass and circular saw. There’s a lost swirl of synth and slowly everything mushes up into white noise then back down to the buzz to wind out as a single drone from a long lost set of pipes.

Finally we have a new set from Rashamon; vocals he promised us, but the lack of a mic wasn’t promising. The first track starts with what sounds like a recording of Christmas heard coming from a mall. The bass drum kicks in a marching beat, Monotron delay, staccato synth ping. A high melodic line filters between the beats and the rest of the rhythm kicks in.  Some pads before it finally breaks down for the bassline. A nice heavy filter on that. And to make up for the lack of basslines to this point we get a second and a third. A female vocal comes in, ah, its pre-recorded, its provenance unknown, we’ll find out. Hooky, mind. Some synth spirals and what sounds like the chorus and another breakdown into some squelch. Some nice little flourishes of the Monotron, it’s easy to go overboard with the filter and delay, so it’s nice to see it used in such a restrained fashion.  This is pumping. The next starts with an old style breakbeat, booming away in the largest room. Ratchets down sparse drums and a melodic mid synth line and Monotron squelch swoop. It builds up around that, layers of pads and drones, sirens, bells. No vocals on this one, just layers of dark intensity. The next one starts with a nicely modulating squelching arpeggio. Drums and whistling drones gather around. Pointillist synth lines complement it and a rolling beat gathers momentum, an interlocking track of total dynamics, suddenly it shifts and we get a melodic line over a popping rhythm. Again this one just turns into a driving stomper of interlocked rhythmic parts. The final track starts with a voice from a film, a classic bit of Rashamon, something about Halloween and Christmas, a bit funny a bit dark. The final track starts with a monster beat, not so fast, big, jingle bells like some 1990 hardcore tune from before the race to 180bpm began, the bassline is melodic rather than pulsing, swooping under another female vocal, bells, counterpoint it.  Again its intensity to the max, unsettling.

Surprisingly heavy on ordinary instrumentation

October 2023
The Rossi Bar

Ron Caines, Andrew Greaves & I’m Dr Buoyant: if you don’t know him, Ron was the saxophone player with the near legendary prog rock band East of Eden, long before half of us in the audience could walk. He’s been playing with both Andrew (and with his band Broken Star) and I’m Dr Buoyant for a number of years, but this was the first time they’ve played as a trio. The set starts with some layering up of synths by the electronicians but when Ron starts they drop away leaving him to lay some plaintive lines before a thin stream of near feedback creeps in and ever so slowly swells to some lovely swirling, echoing space noises. Ron starts to bounce back off this; trilling and parping, Andrew responds with a flurry of notes and then slows it down to another deep space tone. As things progress Tony starts channelling Ron’s saxophone back through the effects chain, which is nice. Andrew gets into some synth runs, then back into the spacey washes and occasional organ scurry. About 20 minute sin Andrew starts a much effected drum pattern, pinging echoes and squelchy reverbs all over. Ron switches to slight, tremulous bursts until everything starts to thicken out and he gets into some harder blowing. And then it all winds out in light arpeggios and looped sax breath.

The Organ Grinder’s Monkey, it’s the first time we’ve had Ben back in a while, and he’s changed things around a bit, the lovely Black and Chrome Jaguar guitar has gone to be replaced by some multifunctional high end (but at least black) modern thing. He’s also changed his set around a bit, gone are the tight punchy songs and he’s loosened up a bit, but there’s still plenty of structure. No singing though. The first song he starts by getting some guitar loops going through Bill the laptop. There is some odd glitching and you can visibly see him deciding on whether to restart or use it as feature, he decides to forge ahead. When the chiming interlocking guitar loops are cycling away, he gets the guitar to show some of its other features, messing with things, triggering midi sounds, the wayward glitches mostly fall away leaving on the deliberate ones. And thankfully for his stress levels the rest of the set seems devoid of issues. Apart from the unexpected triggering of an amen break. The next one starts with one of his pop guitar riffs, there’s some madness noises and the amen break. The whole thing has that clarity and lightness that reminds me of my favourite of Cornelius’ work. He gets really into messing with the beats at the end, building on his work with the games controller the last time we saw him. The next one starts with the messed up beats. Slower and rather chunky, he plays in a bassline and some more nicely interlocking guitar parts and glitchy frills. There are some great guitar controlled breakdowns on here. Theres a really quick switch into the next song, it’s almost completely formed. Guitar and rhythm doing what I can only describe as tripping along with extraordinarily filthy noises over them. Unless its some kind of dub of the previous song. Organ Grinder’s Monkey on the Version. It does go through a quite expected silly breakdown/chop up at the end. But a great example of what can be done with a bit of imagination on how to do things. An interesting experimental approach to playing, with a great ear, combining to make something really out of the ordinary.

Nina Kohout starts with heavily affected multitracked vocal, thick and well layered. We fall silent, piano comes in and she sings on, simply and alone. Electronic bass tones well up, and a fairly brutal waltz beat starts. The sound is surprisingly spacious after that heavy start. The next song is deceptively simple with an electric guitar and voice. Followed by something that starts with some deep electronic pulses, and slow dread-full beat. Some nice use of a what sounds like a scrapingly bowed cello sound. The beats pick up, heavy on the toms, intensity ramps, yowling backing vocals add to that. And it rounds off with a nice drop to a spooky ending. The next song is about consent, pretty dark, angry and as it’s new I guess raw. Intense, something of Kate Bush about the way the vocal lines interleaving. After a light break for a middle eight we get some seriously heavy synth riffing, deep and ponderous. The next song is much lighter, starting with vocals of a high thin drone before a piano line comes in. There’s a really nice string synth interlude before things go off at a bit of a tangent with interplay between pre-recorded and live vocals and back to the piano line. The next song is a song for waking up and in Slovakian. Multi-tracked and affected vocals start with drones, and a bass pulse “hah!”, church organ washes and reedy pipe melodies follow with synthetic bird whistles. The final song starts with a plonking marimba pattern, the vocals come in, everything fades briefly then a deranged Latin rhythm starts, with some proper sonic bass. Its almost channelling a gothy Herb Alpert, only without the trumpet.