Friday, March 14, 2014

Goodbye to all of this, hello to all of that

This blog is now closing, but has been re-established at the new Spirit of Gravity website, where it will site alongside announcements of forthcoming shows, news, streamed music and other exciting things. Got to and click on blog for future entries.

See you on the other side

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Fame at last

In December The Dome asked us to play as part of their Earsthetics season. By all accounts Ryoji Ikeda's amazing show was far and away the best thing, but we can put in a good case for coming second…

You can read about our day out on the Dome website:

minimal impact

Minimal impact came onstage bang on 8:15, seated at a tiny coffee table concealing his kit, a massive video of degraded VHS feedback washing in blue/yellow arcs across the giant screen behind him. Starting with a coarse buzz that thickened out into a full spectrum wall of noise before being slowly washed away in stately swathes of phaser and jets of steam as the buzz reasserts itself as a massive insectoid whirr. A low fidelity immersive experience.

TR Agency

Tony Rimbaud’s hand picked quartet, TR Agency, where second on stage for a commercial break. Ron Caines sat on a chair at the front of the stage, nick stalking behind looping collages, breathy sounds, synthy washes and swirling alto, while nick talks about Stuff. And chewing gum ( The visuals were from a fantastic set of Black and White slides of broken mannequins. Nick discusses advertising, consumer goods and even recalls when everything around here Was All Fields. Staying pretty solidly away from rhythm it gets pretty spooky at times.

Static Memories

Static Memories’ Gus and Dan set up right at the back clearing as much space as possible for Mirei Yazawa to dance. She took up most of the attention of the players and us, lit from a lamp low at the side of the stage, with a pale blue block of ice slowly melting across the background. The music was typically beyond description: scraped bow across double bass, chimes and delays, Mirei twisting in response and driving changes in what they were playing, its all Very abstract. Dancer and musicians interlocked tightly.

Noteherder and McCloud

Noteherder & McCloud had Bartosz Dylewski who had booked the projector and built the screen supplying visuals, and Chris Parfitt came roaring out in a storm of soprano notes primary geometries sliding around behind him. It took me a while to get up a similar head of steam, but there was some grinding sequences I enjoyed and a section in the middle with me howling through the bitcrusher while Chris circular blew squealing overtones on the sax that still sounds pretty damn intense.

HL Collins

HLCollins starts his set in a rattling trio with Nicholas Langley and Hassni Malik from The Vitamin b12 sat in line at a metal baker's tray, scraping metal objects of various sizes about. Its theatre and oddly musical, and very funny. After a quick session with Henry up a set of steps banging a mic'd metal bin Nick and Hassni leave the stage and Henry moves onto a didgeridoo coffee machine that spits water but makes amazing sounds, he then moves onto a turntable and some balloons and effects for a comedy improv session that gets slowly creepier with a slurring hum playing back against clicks and bumps and occasional bird call for an ambient music for hell's ante-room.

Monday, December 09, 2013

A fat goose sandwich

November, as eclectic a night as you will see at the Spirit of Gravity.


Stereocilia sublimated some kind of guitar chink into a subtly modulating vibration that he slowly thickened and shimmered until it was a suitable place to land carefully echoed single notes, letting them fade and migrate away to a duskening horizon. Two notes seemed to chime forever while the sound underneath resonated more harshly and zithered up, before being engulfed in washes of valentine fuzz and we head off into a glorious space rock moment (I'd love to hear this section with a full on driving band) all wah wah heat and notes tracing off the fingertips into the unknown. Thin streams of trebly feedback pull us back through time and space to somewhere near the point we started modulating slowly past silver moons to some blissed out Kaleidoscope place of autumnal bucolic psychedelia.


Dogeeseseegod grumbled out of the blocks with yelps and growls of voice and implement. They had a glowing plastic goose. There were submarine noises and balloon farts, echoing beeps and chunks of radio. Occasionally things ticked for a while, sometimes it was funny. Tape blocks underpinned terrifying siren squalls and everything faded back down to subtle clicks. Steve who is a glyph, did his glyph voice thing occasionally. Sometimes from Very Far Away. Steve balanced the goose on their head. Sometimes it was terrifying. I have no idea what they had on their table to make sounds apart from the vocal microphone and a walkman.


After the sublime and the ridiculous, what? Arc start really drily, tonally they could have segued on from the end of Dogeeseseegod, but the sound is austere; Violin, Cello and Double Bass scratched thin on rough bows pulling out almost vocal sonorities. After the daftness preceding it, Arc have a sombre beauty. Sylvia Hallett is the first to break up the mood with a birdlike flurry of notes that skitters up and down the neck of her violin while the cello gets unworldly and Gus Garside rasps triangular patterns on his bass. Again it stretches out almost pastorally long notes sliding uneasily that puts me more in mind of the heath around Innsmouth than the South Downs. Gus flirts with an oddly metronomic drum machine, but this adds rigidity to the dark fluids that they are conjuring so is soon discarded as things fall into silence, boat creaks and rope torsion. As the bass and cello go about their dirty work the violin gets introduced to the effects and starts to float around the edges, there is a glorious section when it seems to drip like stars as the sound floats across the room. Then its Gus' turn to get abstract with the bass, setting up some sawing industrial din hawing away underneath a terrifying section that takes on horrific colours towards the end, if they need a soundtrack to a film of Brueghel's paintings they need look only this far. They finish with a hoe-down that sets Henry Flynt firmly in the mainstream.

We snuck a sneaky one in at The Coach House, too, on Friday 29th November.

Noteherder & McCloud continued their warm-ups for the Dome with some funny chirruping, feedback sounding drones and pretty relaxed skronking from Chris Parfitt's sax.

Asem played a set similar to their recent SoG show, of low key electronics and guitar (I've never seen anyone get feedback off so low powered an amp so consistently) finishing up with a new song of Morricone-sque piano chords and light guitar strumming.

David Thomas and Gagarin reprised a thing they'd only done remotely on the US Pere Ubu tour – David Thomas in the US and Gagarin in the UK. Some organ, some percussive noises, David Thomas started with a sheet of words which he soon ditched in favour of improvising with Gagarin occasionally kicking him up a gear with a well placed beat, or taking it down, they did a handful of songs and it was fantastic in such an intimate venue.

Then rounding off the evening, Gagarin stayed on for Roshi (feat Pars Radio) who were sublime. Starting with "Opium" off the new CD, which moves from singer songwriter simplicity pretty swiftly to some dark places, the still banging even in a small venue "Three Almonds and a Walnut", before David Thomas came back to provide unworldly moans to "Don't Breathe it to a Soul". It was really a bit special.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guitar night

Four for the price of three in October.


We squeezed in an extra set for this show, Ypsmael who we'd been after booking for a while was in the UK on a brief tour at short notice so it seemed rude not to. He started his set casually strumming his guitar a few times light shimers that fed into his chain of effects and eventually came back expanded by reverb in great bassy washes and far falling footsteps. Stick thumps, paper tears and penny whistle all go in at various stages ending up in some abstract state that has the expansiveness of space and the claustrophobia of undersea.


Asem were quickly up replacing them; Sara Selim on laptop electronica and GotoR on rangly guitar. Sara started the set with skittering reverb beetles with Gotor playing clean circulating notes into loops and wah-wahd thin lead lines. Vincent price and sonmeone I don't recognise made an appearance with some american poetry and portentious bass drums and it all gets a bit psychedelic as Gotor goes heavily into Robby Krieger territory before eventually winding out on bells and ticking and dulcimer.

Scottish James Brown

Sottish James Brown got a little looser, it was a little more chaotic on stage; stand up drums, another guitar, toy keyboards and a wonky mic stand in what looked like the least convenient spot. They started with a lovely bass drone and chiming notes picked out on the Casio. The drums either clicked by with clockwork precision or stammered unconvincingly, Tim fed a cornet into a loop (and always at an angle I couldn't photograph) and analogue delay played with time, in several senses – once taking back to the 19th century with some lovely dreamtime chimebox before slamming me into the early 2000s with some indietronic fluff of detuned keyboard and murky guitar strumming. And then off into surprising bass tones. A joy of lurching stagger.

The Priests of Nothingness

Carrying on the alternation between sly and slick The Priests of Nothingness sneak up on us with Derek and Dr David Reby slipping field noises and sliding effects around while Rob arpeggiates up and out with Moog and drum machine, it all sounds so easy, but was creepily effective with the bass of the Fallow Deer washing underneath, before it slips down into spooky interludes where synth, deer and slowed birds vie for the strangest noise and Derek plays acoustic guitar notes and building back up for a bit of a groove at the end.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Colour me digital

September saw our first involvement with Brighton Digital Festival and it came off rather well, three very different facets of digital music.

The 55th Flotilla were kind enough to take a break from their regular Build Brighton night and supply the elektrocreche, with their trademark ships wheel and telegraph, their new large size telegraph is a particular joy.

Nicholas Langley and Ian Murphy

Starting our evening off was the first live collaboration between Nicholas Langley (Hz, Cosmonaut Transfer) and Ian Murphy (Hobo Sonn), Ian set up in front of the stage (“I like to hear the actual PA”) with his vintage sampler and Nick sat right down on the cobbled floor with a phone. They start with Nick circling Ian's sonics quite uncertainly, settling into the evening before really starting to assert himself - pushing Ian out of his usual places, before fluttering some phoned in tapped tabla that had Ian bouncing back with some textural drones. Then Nick switched to a fuzzed organ that wound around what Ian was doing for a very satisfactory psychedelic finale.

John Wall

John Wall had to leave early so played the central slot and turned in a real storming set, wringing every tone from the generous PA that the Green Door Store has, so a special mention to Matt Benzie the soundman for giving him free reign to really stretch the sonics of the room. It was also nice to have John play in an environment where you could see the whites of his eyes as they flick around his laptop screen, totally focussed on what he's doing. Really abstract but very cohesive, from trouser flapping bass to the cleanest top ends.


So Baconhead gear up the proceedings, keeping the bass extended but adding crunchy rhythms. Referencing Panoptica and Derrick May; with extreme repetition, pitch bends and odd sounds it was step on from their set in the spring, uncluttered and unhoodied keeping focus on the dynamics. Head noddingly good.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Is it birdsong, or is it bridge FX?

It was the kind of evening that starts with a walk down the hill that just makes you happy to be out and about, a proper August Spirit of Gravity night.

Resonant Blue

Resonant Blue starts off squatting on the front of the stage, low level drone-stuffs laid out in front of him: keyboard and laptop, it modulates nicely for a while then seems to lift in a rush that precedes a whirr of traffic and field recordings and goes off in a more Ypsilon in Malaysia pale mode, the noise becoming tones and chimes, again it lifts into more digital sounding synths, before thickening up again with more choral drones and heading for deep space. Truly music for Starfelds.

Shinamo Moki

With the busiest stage we've had for a while, Shinamo Moki have guitar (!) electronic drums and electronics. Minutes before going on the guitarist’s effects rack goes west, so we have a slight delay while Tim Holehouse sets him up with his array; credit to both of them, I can detect no problem during the set. Shinamo Moki operate somewhere between Cornelius and Japan, the idea of eastern pop and its actuality. With the age and haircuts, it’s tempting to look on them as an indie band born of YouTube, but I think they go beyond that and manage to eschew vocals, which obviously helps us. It's all bent sounds; gongs, string synths, drums that detune, everything shifts and stutters - a lightness around the rhythm and deftness of touch that make this as far to pop as we'll go, and we go happily.

Timothy C. Holehouse

Timothy C Holehouse reclaims his effects array and sets up his collection of objects, and starts Ashtoreth Shaman, his new project. He has his effects and is just feeding sound in: throat-sung didgeridoo gurgles, drones and whistles, Brighton beach stones, sticks. And it’s just that: an hallucinatory ever-thickening drone of immense depth. We just soak it up, eyes closed, letting the sound wash over us and watching the internal unfolding.

Friday, September 06, 2013

It’s all quite straightforward really

Thee Founders back with a bang

Ill-Fitting Suit/s

The return of the Ill Fitting Suit/s was something of a joy; combining thee founders performance art roots, Nick Rilke's ongoing obsession with the human voice and Tony Rimbaud's moderne processing. And some string telephones (6 into one, unless I'm much mistaken). They had prepared a list of twenty or so items and over the course of a set and half, probably only performed half of them. It was alienating, funny, adventurous, daft, entertaining and a good listen. And once more a very hard to describe without resorting to blow by blow description. Words, the human voice, effects, suits.

Animal Magic Tricks

In between the two sections of their set Animal Magic Tricks demonstrated a new instrument she'd been working on: resonating spheres placed inside containers to produce rich ringing tones with a laptop controller. So she ran through an introduction and slowly introduced the sounds before forming the abstractions into a quite startling version of “Love hurts” with Frances' thick voice bubbling up as though through honey sitting on top of this completely abstract backing. Quite remarkable, she then had a workshop session for members of the audience before the grey suits returned.

Hobo Sonn

Hobo Sonn had established himself at the back of the room between the elektrocreche and the sound desk in almost complete darkness except for his usual low light that allowed us to follow his hand movements as they went back and forth over his twentieth century sampler taking on the sonic overspill from the bar with hums and clicks; low levels of distorted near silence followed by squalls of quasi-musical noise. It seemed quite a struggle to find a centre for the sound of the room for him to work off, before he identified this orchestral racing car ramp that pitched from bass up to some blistering treble fragmenting into coruscations of blistered hiss. It rounded off with midnight ghost clock chimes and Lovecraftian insect ticking.