[live review] locomotiva @ half moon, se24

April 18, 2010

Concert date: April 17, 2010

Unfortunately I could only attend the first day of Locomotiva, “a weekend of reverb, delay and landscapes” held at Herne Hill pub/venue the Half Moon (April 17-18) – a shame as the organisers had managed to assemble a strong roster of artists across both days. The event was clearly a labour of love for all involved.

The undercurrent that linked each of the sets on Saturday was noise. From Codes In The Clouds‘ post-rock (think Explosions In The Sky) to Spotlight Kid‘s decidedly unethereal take on shoegaze; from Eat Lights Become Lights‘ driven Krautrock to North Atlantic Oscillation‘s eclectic alt-pop – they all shared a respect for noise as a vital ingredient in music.

The three highlights were particularly successful at blending musicality with noise.

The Tamborines (above) presented a tight, fuzz-laden rock that recalls the Dandy Warhols, Primal Scream and the obligatory Velvet Underground (the drummer channels the ghost of Moe Tucker). In other words, great.

Sennen (above) closed the evening with a typically effortless set of optimistic, dreamy noise-pop. Their latest album, Age Of Denial, has seen them up the catchiness quotient, and will hopefully bring them a well-deserved wider audience. The night finished with their rendition of New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle.

But the real discoveries (for me) of the evening were the companion sets by Swedish minimal experimentalists Library Tapes (David Wenngren, above left) and Woodchucker (Jonatan Nästersjös, above right).

Blending processed ‘real’ instruments (guitar for Woodchucker, piano for Library Tapes) with found sounds, real-time sampling and other instrumental layering, they created – individually then in a short set together – a delicate, fragile atmosphere that caused the audience to hold its breath, as it were, for a full half-hour. Definitely worth exploring for fans of Inch-Time, Goldmund, Ekkehard Ehlers, Machinefabriek and others that strive to temporarily put the world on pause.

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