Sunday, August 28, 2005

Noise Fest - 26th August @ The Full Moon, Stokes Croft, Bristol

A few of the acts on the night were a complete mystery to me, so there are a few question marks here and there.. on which hopefully someone out there may be able to shed some light?

Haven’t exposed my ears to such harm for a long time. What a night!... a shit load of interesting noise terrorists for just a fiver…bargain!!!

I’m guessing Bear Faced Boy (?) started the proceedings with a beautiful blast of mangled sounds that warmed the stage up nicely.



Some stocky Finnish/German bloke (?) then took over the reins producing some tasty mixer noise which was coupled with banging his microphone under a piece of glass The sound came into its own when he chopped the static into some military-ish beats and wandered the stage yelling into the microphone. A moth was aptly smashing itself against one of the lights in time to the pulses, startled by the barrage of distortion, the scales from its wings catching the light in their descent, sort of contributing poetically to his set.



Consumer Electronics – One half of the notorious ‘Whitehouse’ - Philip Best, produced some lovely distorted sounds rippling with static flux – intentionally ugly, the shifting layers of noise revealed a few gorgeously angelic murmurs and ephemeral shapes. The vocal contribution was the usual expletive filled catalogue of child abuse, rape, murder, insults and general nastiness you would expect.



Next we had a naked torso of man (guessing Prurient?) contorting around a table full of pedals and endless spaghetti. The swarm of sound created convulsive fits, which in turn echoed his twisting dance of muscular fury – guess he had a few issues to resolve!...A bloody excellent raw performance - his mic lacerating his equipment or being screamed into…The sound - like a bag of electrified spanners being chucked around.



Emil Beaulieau - Well, boy this chap could move - like a ballerina in a wreckage of hissing static and blistering carnage. ( for the curious among you click here for a live brainwashed treat...) Stripped to his boxers, he gave a bonkers set - flinging his diy 'noise toys' around, his legs and arms contorting in bizzare unison with the chaotic sounds he was generating. This guy knew his onions when it came to producing interesting sounds- while still pulling the funniest faces. There are a few mp3 freebies hosted by www.noisemp3.com if you fancy a change from your usual ear fodder.



Jessica Rylan – She was a real cutie, creating sensual whispers and yelps to the electrical debris created by her machines,whilst moving the stage with a real sense of ecstasy. Download this track from her website it’ll give you some idea of her sound world. For some reason this was cut short and she went all unplugged on us – with 3 short vocal songs that gave some quirky insight into her mindset. By the way, the groovy little video of her in action on her site is also worth a viewing...

Sudden Infant

Sudden Infant gave a spirited performance screaming into his DIY noise-processors come plastic dolls, crashing the pedals and flinging the sounds around in hard angular shapes – the force of the sound was really physical, I loved it when Emil screamed into his face and he gave an absolutely deranged scream back.

The last act (?) was a drunken mess that descended into an accumulation of broken bottles, spilt beer and blood. Drunkenly staggering about the stage, goaded by the other performers to ‘press more buttons’, ‘Do something interesting’ I guess he was too far gone to produce anything useful, apart from his scornful replies of ‘c**ts’. By the time he did manage to salvage a few gorgeously reverbed hammer blows he couldn’t sustain it and with hands covered in blood he left the stage... Leaving the hecklers to clear up the wreckage – guess he had the last laugh…

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Mi and L'au

Mi and L'au
Photo from Young God Records website
A little preview is on offer at www.palimpsest-festival.co.uk of the Mi & L'au album - soon to be released by Michael Gira's Young God Records. Only two tracks A Word in your Belly and They Marry but they hint towards a beautiful album indeed.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

70x7


There are more synthetic pleasures to be had at the Wormhole, eight playful tracks by 70X7 that make for excellent listening. I especially like the simplicity of the ‘lull the carrion’ or the vocorded hues of ‘pain’... while imagining a darkened concrete room illuminated by a misfiring fluorescent…

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Tocsin

Xmal-Deutschland - Tocsin LP
Does anybody else have fond memories of this mid 80s release by Xmal-Deutschland?

The sound hasn't dated at all - The lovely Anja Huwe – backcombed hair like some demented siren – wailing the vocals across frenetic guitars/bass, heavy drums and ominous keyboards. The magnificently gloomy 'tag fur tag' will stay with me forever as an anthem for bedsit existential loneliness... ah those were the days.

The group left 4AD after this album and signed to Phonogram releasing the equally excellent 'Viva' - I especially liked (and still like) the sombre ‘Morning’ (Emily Dickinson inspired) track from this gorgeous release. Unfortunately the magic wasn't destined to last and, after putting out 'Viva' the band split with the remaining members going shamefully poppy.

Interesting enough Anja Huwe now makes groovy abstract art

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Aranos Colin Potter and Stimulus - Saturday 6th August @ The Cube Mircoplex, Bristol



I'd never heard anything by the Bristol electronica trio 'Stimulus' but they provided a decent stab at creating a suitably dark soundtrack for the 1920's projection of ‘Dante's Inferno’ that filled the screen behind them. The vocal moans that cut across the prevailing dronage and sporadic electronics seemed to echo the naked twists of the tormented figures on screen.



Colin Potter's set started in the distinctive darkened hues of 'Nurse with Wound' and then worked up to something altogether different with the surprise addition of live guitar fed into the mix - played my Colin himself - layering riffs over the top of each other, scraping the fret board and general string abuse. I liked the theremin action too with Colin’s hands hovering over electro static plates in true magician style, giving the sound that slightly queasy edge. In all it was difficult to describe the music except that it was well textured and pushed all the right emotional buttons, as the geometric shapes on screen morphed to the multiform stream. The overlaid Hiroshima monologue was a timely addition with it being the 60th Anniversary of that dreadful show of American superiority. In the latter end of the set straight-ish beat patterns were introduced with the other electronics being allowed to gather momentum to finally end in a cornucopia of sonic distortion...

The bare-footed Aranos was the headliner for the night – he provided a one-man show contributing live violin and vocals over pre-recorded treatments. Generally I’m not a big fan of backing tapes but on the night it was very spontaneous with both live and pre-recorded running seamlessly in tandem (except for maybe one song where the levels were quickly reduced to make his extra violin sounds more audible).



His gravelly voice was a real winner with me, seeped in a deep Eastern European accent. The subject matter of the songs ranged from surreal association to funny observation and I particularly loved the one that critiqued our increasingly commercial existence called 'Steady Job' taken from his ‘Making Love in Small Spaces’ release.

After his set Aranos convinced the other two groups to return to the stage for a jam session - the resulting mass of noise was just superb lasting for a good 10 minutes - a tasty treat that definitely brought a very wide smile to my face...




Thank you Abrasive Productions for hosting a mighty fine show.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Aranos, Colin Potter and Stimulus @ the Cube

A few pics a full review a little later...

Stimulus
Stimulus soundtracking Dante's Inferno

Colin Potter
Colin Potter on guitar with funky light show

Colin Potter
Colin Potter back on electronics

Aranos
Aranos giving the audience a taste of Eastern Europe

Aranos
Aranos banging the gongs

Jam Session
and all three locked in a 9min jam session - a tasty end

Friday, August 05, 2005

New Young God Records signing to play Bristol


Photo from Young God Records
Latest signing to Michael Gira's label - Young God Records - Mi and L'au are to appear at the Cube, Bristol - more info can be found here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Children of the Drone


Children of the Drone is an expanding collective of musicians based in and around Exeter UK. I've only downloaded number three in their on-going compilation series and i'm really impressed, their sound could easily be compared to other great free-form improvisers like Thuja or the Vibracathedral Orchestra.

The lo-fi room acoustics add lots of extra warmth to the proceedings, which are further enriched with exotic instruments such as Indian sitars, Turkish Sez, Russian Balalaika etc as well as utilizing some found objects along the way. I swear I heard a typewriter being used in one of the tracks (haven't heard one of those in a musical context since 'Dissidents' by 80's boy wonder
Thomas Dolby).

The end result is incredibly relaxing, as you would expect, without lapsing into the realms of background music, with the musicians melding instinctively to produce a stream of collective consciousness that picks up on musical ideas as they happen as all good improvised music should.