Peril/Low Cost Life
The Bedroom Bar,
London – 8 February 2014
satisfying night of off-kilter electronic acts"
being the first instalment of a new monthly evening going by the
same of 'Abbatoir', located in The Bedroom Bar, in Rivington Street –
deep in one of the main arteries of hipsville, central Shoreditch. When
we arrived I was reminded of exactly why I don't socialise in many
joints in this neigbourhood. Deafeningly loud music that sounded pretty
shit through the sound system (way too much top end and treble) didn't
either instil much confidence in the house sound system nor what to
expect from it later. Thankfully, as the evening drew in outside and
post-work local crowd inside were gradually displaced by those in
attendance for the live acts, the night was transformed.
No sooner had Dee Rüsche and Jonas Ranssřn of the thrilling
Kabát taken up position in the DJ booth than not only was the hitherto
terrible sound magically elevated to something way more convincing (and
bass weighty) but the playlist conjured up between them reminded me of
precisely why I find myself in such locations mid-week. To the strains
of the unrivalled electronic heaven that is Keine Ahnung's Plastik
(get the 12” - not the album it appears on) I settled comfortably in
for a night of off-kilter electronica acts.
Photos [L-R]: merchandise, Dee
Rüsche, Low Cost Life
Opening act were male/female duo Low
Cost Life whose
passionate (even political) take on glitched, sampler electronica and
soulful female vocals sounded like a bunch of intriguing ideas
that had be studiously assembled only for the resultant compositions to
fail to connect. It never really gelled, which partly
surprises me given the various elements in play, but in such a crowded
marketplace where you never get a
second chance to make a first impression, they fudged the opportunity.
Which I somehow feel was a shame. Who knows, maybe I will revisit in
More of a known, and consequently anticipated quantity, was Chris
proggy electronic alter ego, Mild
Peril. Shamefully, I've still yet to
review any of his releases (I do recommend you go seek them out). As
much as the name still makes me cringe a little (surely there's a touch
of something self-deprecating about the choice of moniker?), it is a
rare thing to hear this kind of music live – even in a scene such as
London's offering up gluttonous potential on a monthly basis. It's the
audio equivalent of surrounding yourself in Chris Foss' paintings of
multicoloured, organically shaped spaceships and wildly imagined
landscapes in the impossibly far away reaches of the universe.
I have tickets to see Tangerine Dream in London during the summer –
which will be my first time seeing them live. As much as that will be a
key tick on my list of 'legendary acts to see live' I still suspect
that I'll enjoy an evening with Mild Peril more than those pioneers.
Gilbert may have taken inspiration from the likes of such Krautrockers
rather than start a movement of his own, but the quality of his take on
the form makes it impossible to deny the satisfaction one is able to
derive from indulging. Which is why whenever Mild Peril plays live, it
will feature in my Songkick list of upcoming events.
Setlist: 'Arp of
Pan Part 67' (a work in progress), Arp of Pan 2, Outer Zone/Sigma Zone
on Precinct 13
[L-R]: Mild Peril, Soft Riot
Top of the bill Soft Riot
is actually one man. The one man chaos
machine that is Jack Duckworth. A one-man riot. Quite what the inside
head is like I find it difficult to picture, but it is assuredly a
weird landscape. In all honesty, I haven't yet connected with
musical output as much as others seem to (Női
frontman Rüsche is one ardent advocate) but that's possibly
more live than I have recorded. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to
extend that experience much tonight as a later-than-planned start meant
I had to leave after just two songs in order to catch the last train
home. Still, what I got was more of what I'd witnessed before. The set
began with There
Just Isn't Enough Time (somewhat
ironically entitled given my circumstances). Fortuitously, given my
limited time, this was followed by a new song called You Never Know What Might Come
Next - which is perhaps the most perfect summary of Soft
Aside from the eerily unsettling monochrome artwork to his releases
to date, Soft Riot's sound delivers on what the visuals hint at.
There's possibly an unhinged genius at play here. I'm still not sure.
The bonkers mashups of movie dialogue samples, minimal synth
electronics (always a feast for the eyes live) refuse to sit easily
alongside Duckworth's (let's call them) quirky vocals. I'm pretty sure
I still don't quite get the Soft Riot concept but that may be because
trying too hard. Seems sounds like this are perhaps best experienced
more in the gut than too much in the head.
Setlist (partial): There
Just Isn't Enough Time, You Never Know What Might
Come Next, Another
Drone In Your Head
A satisfyingly left-field evening - albeit frustratingly truncated.
the Abbatoir club continues in the same location every third
each month. 7/10