Tag: Tullis Rennie


May 2023
The Rossi Bar

While we were sleeping starts with glitches redolent of a record kept in a damp corner of a cellar for 10 years. Some crackling bass washes slide in with ghost cars and distant bombers heard through ears dropping out from sound pressure. It’s an oppressive start, terrifying. Eventually one of the washed out sounds starts to modulate into something with pitch and we get some drones starting to evolve. A shortwave radio scan of “I am sitting in a room” brings us from behind the settee, and as the fear subsides, the drone subsides, Guy messes with the speech, in non-resonant ways tape winding, slowing it down, pitching it up. We get some heavily delayed intermittent synth line. The speech devolves into noise and acoustic grit and eventually bass pulse. Odd slurs of sound slip around it and the speech comes back. White noise percussion forms a pseudo beat about the pulse which modulates through various stages before settling on something like a bassline. Ah drums. A brass riff stolen from the mid ‘00s makes a surprising appearance dragging the beats down to a virtual deranged standstill. Lucier’s words return over bits of burnt brass, and shiny little slivers of distortion.

Tullis Rennie is next up, in another life he is a tromboning free-improv-er, and the brief disappointment I have for him turning up trombone free soon disperses once he starts. A lovely pulsating shimmer of a brisk arpeggio’s synth kicks off his set. A space whine sees this off; modulates around us briefly and the arpeggio returns. A deeper synth line unfolds and subsumes everything, there are slight flourishes hinting at what we’ve heard before. And now everything majestically stills and our vistas seem to expand, and then we’re suddenly returning home from the environs of Jupiter. Back on to Rock-a-nore beach in Hastings in 2021. The sea laps and a pointillistic synth note carries us along into another trip. We have percussion on this one, subtle a-go-go, perhaps. Lopsided unassuming synth riffs propel us. Interlaying lines build, the odd bass note, perhaps a dulcimer line. A quiet bass drum. Its given a good amount of time to gently evolve. The next section has a sharp stabbing line overlain with thick washes of sound, some detuning goes on and then an impossibly fat bassline runs through us several times and stops. We then get into a set of uneven interwoven lines a lurching rhythm, sharp synths, scurrying bells all weaving lines around each other.

Johanna Bramli’s set starts with a slowly blistering bass drone, superfast subliminal morse staccato blips run over it until eventually her piano and vocal comes in. A drum threatens to start, a slow oceanic scrape and the sound of swimming. The bass has slowly become threatening, a loping rhythm track skips underneath, the drone oppression slowly lifts as a piano starts afresh wordless vocals make us wistful, elegiac, the sounds of the pool become ghostly, distant. Some bursts of distorted bass, bring a different less threatening drone. Hi-hats seep in from a door opening onto a grime party in another building. There’s a grinding. Slow organ, a description of another room, a bass drum throbs, literally rumbling under it, then stops, returns. A counter melody to the organ and a nasty jet noise.  Again half heard distant things add depth and mystery. A male humming, the grime party door and the bass throb are linked… another organ line heralds the next section. Drums and sub bass form a line galloping towards us, a softer organ line and layered up vocals, male female, not unison, but united. Indecipherable sounds block around the singing, Johanna now, through effects. We get a low key percussion workout which slowly evolves into the final section of her set, the drones slowly return, layering, warm and enveloping and not threatening this time either. A click, spool winds, short busts of static, or morse. And finally falling into the Stargate for close.