Spirit of Gravity @ Green Door Store, Brighton 07/11/13

Posted: 11/11/2013 in Live Review
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Although 12 years old Spirit of Gravity is still getting the punters in, and there is a tangible feeling of excitement tonight.  Ostensibly avant-garde music promoters, they remain fresh within that oft-humourless medium, by mixing the serious, the ridiculous and the ridiculously good.  Like tonight.

Stereocilia is London-based sound-artist John Scott.  His set is composed of layers of soft harmonics and interweaving chords that harbour post-rock, then some tasty 70s space-rock.  At one stage the drones and chiming guitars can’t help but evoke an Indian flavour.  Just as the audience are completely hypnotised into submission, he is gone.  Mission accomplished.

One of the highlights from any Spirit of Gravity event is the Electrocrèche.  A selection of ever-revolving charity shop keyboards set up for the audience to abuse between acts.  You can either create the most beautiful cacophony of your life, or take masochistic delight in knowing that repeatedly hitting the highest key over and over is being broadcast round the building.  Playing the Electrocrèche does highlight how much effort SoG put in.  Suits you sir!

There comes a point in everyone’s life where you want to watch two fully frown men jump up and down making astonishingly agonised bird impressions through contact-mics in front of a radiating goose lamp. That somehow, is exactly what DOGEESESEEGOD do.  Interestingly, from the vantage point of that odd corner-space in Green Door Store the room started to smell of dog food.  Was this intentional?  The show starts off very funny, but after ten minutes it becomes painfully clear that only the bands mates are still laughing, after 15 minutes they mercifully stop.

After all that bluster comes the more measured disorder of ARC.  What really sets the local improv mainstays apart from many of their contemporaries – asides from their sheer breadth of skill – is the subtle use of electronics.  There was a real feeling of community while they were playing, as every abstract effect produced a ‘what was that?’ reaction in the audience, provoking a shared sense of puzzlement.  Which when you consider the trio of violin, double-bass and cello are have been making music since the 80s it’s impressive they aren’t taking a safer approach.  They perplexing end with a country hoe-down?

That’s the good thing about Spirit of Gravity.  You are always kept guessing.


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