So a few months ago, I went to a new night of experimental electronic music at The Star Inn, Guildford. I reviewed it, and being a doofus, forgot to post it. So in advance of my review of the second TnE night, here's the first one...
Impressive array of wires and machinery. Artist with back turned, focused solely on looped pulsing rhythms and gentle synth washes. A soundtrack for a sea of robots, a rising metal tide. One hopes that it is as gentle as the low hum emitting from the speakers. There are hints though, that it is a dark future ahead. Either way I'd like to see this artist doing film scores or game music, knowing it'd be both immersive and terrifying.
Much less kit for this one, but no less immersive. More shimmer than crashing wave this time, building like you're just coming up. Irony being I'm sober for this gig, but yeah, this sounds pretty. After the glitter intro we get what appears to be jungle that's smoked a joint of trip-hop. I want it to be louder. Suddenly we're back in rainforest territory. This is chillout done very well. The soundtrack to 4am euphoria. Here it comes, something sinister. The lurking spectre of the hangover to come. They say DMT is a 12 hour acid trip in 2 hours. This has been a good club night in 20 minutes.
Organ music from a sci-fi film it seems, but I can't place whether opening or ending credits. There's menace as the beat kicks in, so we'll go with opening credits. An unfamiliar landscape appears, and you try to stop and stare, maybe get your bearings but you need to get to safety first. A flash of white light and you're in the city, grey brick flaunting its neon lace panties. Casinos, clubs, cyberpunk street vendors. You reach for your pocket, and the machine flickers. "Insert credstick to continue". You pull out a few coins and start to remember where you really are.
Prepared guitar. String on string, like a quantum physics lesson gone wrong. The loop pedal makes it orchestral, steadily building, and it feels like you've discovered a way to make your life run in slow motion. Use of a bow on an electric guitar lets you know this is nowhere near conventional, but the waves carry you off all the same. There's a majesty to this, like you might hear from Godspeed You! Black Emperor, a comparison I've made before. Perhaps lazy of me, and certainly it doesn't give James Armstrong of Slow Clinic the credit he deserves here. Improvised soundscapes of stunning depth, you'd hardly believe this the work of one man if you weren't seeing it happen before you.
Projector, and a noir-ish soundtrack, a night drive with William Gibson as your Sat Nav. Not what I was expecting at all from the name, but it's been mostly ambient stuff tonight. The projected visuals have something of a Lawnmower Man feel, though this is no nightmare. You have become one with the machine now. You recognise yourself in the mirror, but see that you are also irrevocably changed. Parts of you are better, faster, you only wish you were able to hide the wires.
A duo, the first this evening. his is definitely dance music, and it's not ambient. Not a bad thing, you need loud party music every now and then. They look like they are having fun, and messing with the crowd a little with a few breaks in volume. It's cheery stuff, and they also appear to be sharing a bottle of bubbly between them. It seems like the sonic equivalent of bringing space hoppers onto a bouncy castle. Great fun, but you're probably going to regret it in the morning.