Friday, 26 August 2011

Primordial Undermind / Thought Forms / Asymptotem

Review by Pete Callaghan
Image courtesy of Functional Onion

 So usually, this is the part where I write something about people going to local gigs and raving about how good the turnout was but unfortunately, I can’t do that this time. It would have been nice to see more people there, especially after all the trouble that Rob Hunt (Functional Onion) put into (digitally) stapling the gig poster to every other persons forehead so that the word would get around and patrons would turn out, if they had not passed out from blood loss or staple-based injuries. But instead of that, I get to write about a handful of lucky so and so’s who witnessed an epic gig. As I stood at the side of the bar, watching those few people filter into the Rigger, the first band got ready to play and I got ready to explore some sonic playgrounds. 

Starting the gig first were local lads Asymptotem, who blend looped feedback with a mixture of processed and non-processed percussion. It all unites into a soundscape of tribal proportions; wherein, you can close your eyes and see deserts emerging out of the speakers like some kind of synesthesic response to the music. And just so you know, no, I wasn’t using any psychedelic enhancers to experience this and no, I’m not really speaking literally; it’s a metaphor. Anyway, one of the things I really enjoyed was the looping of various sounds that continually reverberated and finally crescendoed with the feedback from the guitars and bass. A cracking start to a gig I thought, as I leant back on the bar, and smiled at the aural delights. 

If Asymptotem had set the stage by creating metaphysical sonic sand dunes and layering that with incandescent clouds made of feedback, then Thought Forms brought to this allegorical vista, the spirit quest through it. Sometimes they take you through valleys of guitar drones as you steadily climb the sheer sonic fascias and then sometimes they bring you crashing down as you slide over the post-rock screeches of shale cliffs. But always the rhythm of the music keeps you moving forward on your journey and it’s wonderfully blissful. The band themselves seemingly explode on stage as they blast out heavy riffs and pounding drums and then switch back as they pause and play joyful, moving pieces between incredible, ecstatic crescendos. The vocals, supplied by Deej Dhariwhal and Charlie Romjin, are so mournful and yet so hopeful, and slightly shamanic as well like they are bearing their souls to you. It would be hard not to describe the bands performance without hazarding the word “shamanic”, as the original meaning was “technique of ecstasy” and that, for me, sums it up. The track “We Would Be So Happy If...” was a game changer; catapulting me far out of those psychedelic planes of existence and into new stratospheric horizons. At the end, when everyone paused just after they finished, subtly looking around to see if anyone had just experienced anything similar to what they had, the room lit up with a monumental round of applause and screams of joy. Thankyou Thought Forms, wherever you are, for gracing the Rigger with such a wonderful sound that night. 

After I had come back down to earth following that mind blowing flight, it was time to bear witness to veterans of psychedelic rock, Primordial Undermind. These guys certainly kick out the jams in thebest kind of experimental fashion; their heavy, psychedelic fuelled riffs make you feel completely spaced-out and yet, are so seamless that you’re with them on every groove and wave. It is as if they come at rock from many different angles; like it was a three dimensional object that they had been meditating on in a place where time has no relevance. They then return to transcribe this knowledge into chords, rhythms and free form sounds, which they play for the gathered audiences to hear like lecturers of soul manifestation. This, by the way, should not discredit their performance by calling them lecturers; maybe, if you prefer, disseminators of knowledge? Whatever the case, I don’t really feel like I can do them justice here and maybe, since you have already left your bias and prejudices on the pavement, give them a listen and see what you think. They certainly kicked my ass when I saw them that evening and might kick your ass too, in the best possible mind expanding way. 

This Functional Onion gig was a real treat and I would definitely check out some more gigs that they’re putting on for something new that you might find you like. It certainly blew me away and might do the same for you.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Stoke Sounds Festival 2011 - I Thank you

Many Many Thanks to all who

discovered new music,
donated money,
supported bands they love,
painted faces,
fed the crowd,
made cake,
bought a programme,
twiddled knobs,
slid faders,
shared kit,
and were just wonderful in general on Saturday,
It really wouldn't have been the same without you
. . . . . here's looking forwards to the next one