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WHALESONG THROUGH A PITCHSHIFTER
:: Sketches For Albinos :: Blood Moon :: Flower Corsano Duo :: Beach Fuzz ::
23 July 2009 / Islington Mill / Salford
By Cath Aubergine

There's something beautifully incongruous about sitting in a comfy armchair watching Blood Moon. Even Blood Moon in not-as-terrifying-as-they-can-be mode. That said, compared to even most bands that favour the word "experimental" they're on the outer edges. Tonight's piece sees the introduction of analogue electronics to a set underpinned by the bone-vibrating sound created by drumsticking a bass through a pile of effects; along with breakouts of cymbal-heavy drum attack from Graham, his face contorted into something which could be agony or ecstasy. This is in addition to the regular Blood Moon ethos of abusing a guitar until it sounds like a selection of mammals being mutilated - but, um, in a good way. Lou, mistress of the noise, stands near motionless aside from her playing hand and the occasional manipulation of a pedal to fold in another searing sheet of sound. There are a couple of technical hitches that threaten to break the flow tonight, but the great thing about semi-improvised music is, well, you can improvise round it...

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Bone-vibrating

Islington Mill is the ideal venue for one of Wotgodforgot's more left-of-centre sessions; its concrete floor and exposed pipes say "Berlin art happening". I know nothing of the next band, Beach Fuzz, although their basic instrumental set-up looks more conventional. This, it turns out, is one absolutely enormous red herring...firstly, they have that hallmark of a classic Wotgodforgot band of it not being immediately clear when the linechecks and tuning have finished and the set started. This is because it mostly sounds like whalesong through a pitchshifter, performed by three men with an apparent aversion to facing forwards and a drummer opposed to anything particularly repetitive. It is often difficult to ascertain whether the high pitched howls are guitar or human in origin - not often you can say a band makes Blood Moon sound melodic in comparison - but then I realise I've been in a near trance for 15 minutes so they must be doing something right. Loud ambient, does that make sense? It does here. Where next, then?

Wasn't sure what the listings meant by Matthew Collings (Sketches For Albinos) because Collings effectively IS Sketches For Albinos - the difference is there are odd snatches of song here, of half-whispered vocal melodies and gentle guitar strumming, punctuating the washes of glacial electronics and ambient space which carry echoes of his Icelandic home. His second piece sees him doing what he's best known for; playing through strangers. Both of Blood Moon join him, along with a third guitarist - none of whom, he explains, he has met before today. Their remit is simple: play a chord, and he is the controller, the electronic conductor, weaving patterns from the three streams and adding his own melodies on top.

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The Controller

The Flower Corsano Duo are described as "an acutely musical collaboration between kinetic drummer Chris Corsano and Vibracathedral Orchestra's Mick Flower on shaahi baaja (Japanese banjo)." Could well go a bit jazz, then. Or pretty much anything else - such is the beauty of Wotgodforgot. 15 minutes in and I still have no idea what sort of music this even is. Corsano is apparently some kind of legend in his field, Thurston Moore is a fan, and his intricate drumming does indeed point at a jazz background - albeit one that got waylaid in the direction of experimental hardcore. The shaahi baaja turns out to be a rather large table-top thing played like an autoharp or dulcimer, but with a vaguely sitar-ish sound to it - maybe it's strung to some sort of Eastern scale. In terms of dynamics they've got it nailed; building up to crashing peaks with Corsano's hands moving so fast you can hardly see them, but trying to pick out any form or pattern in the frenzied onslaught of notes and beats is a bit like staring at an old TV set to between-channel static in the hope some words will appear, and in the end we're just left feeling rather exhausted. Credit where it's due though - Wotgodforgot just managed to get a respectable number of people down a back street in Salford in order to listen to four resolutely experimental acts - another triumph for Manchester's most innovative live music night.

See the news page for information on upcoming WGF events including Wooden Shjips here on 20th August.


Resources:
Blood Moon
Beach Fuzz
Matthew Collings / Sketches For Albinos
Flower Corsano Duo

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