Leafcutter John review
Leafcutter John invited me to join him for a Planet Mu set back in 2003, providing some generative beats for his wild noises. Great memories, and here’s a nice review of the evening by Dan Gusset, reproduced here as the original has gone offline:
Gig Review: Planet Mu room @ Wheels Instead of Hooves Xmas Wingdings, Electrowerkz, London, 19.12.03
On the couple of odd occasions I stuck my head into the Rephlex or Skam rooms at this gig there didn’t seem to be much going on, although that is probably more a case of unfortunate timing than rather than a reflection on the quality of the music. AFX apparently didn’t show for his set in the Rephlex room and a few upset fans spent the evening flapping from room to room trying to find him. In the Mu room a brief DJ set from Mike P had people dancing from the off, which just went to show how eager the crowd was. First up of the live acts was Leafcutter John (and his electric breasts). John’s music is, by its nature, not that easy to dance to. The crowd stopped and gawped when he started making the atmospheric noises that underpin his material. The humor value of watching him triggering various clicks and clanks by moving magnets over his false pointy breasts (his real ones are very round) seemed to keep peoples attention. The first half hour of the set took us through about half of the Housebound Spirit material, all of it sounding very new, very fresh and very live. Some of the bass played was phenomenal. I could literally feel it moving my hair and flapping my trousers. He was then joined on stage be his friend Alex who took control of the third computer (John was already using two laptops) to create some beats. This second half of the set was quite unexpected and sounded like all of his most dance orientated material (like the untitled track 9 from Microcontact or Woktech or Woods and Rivers from the Concourse ep) given a special club friendly pounding backing. This worked brilliantly and got the crowd dancing again like they were before, even if it wasn’t the complex beat programming. This new side to the Leafcutter John (and Hisfriend Alex) live experience really puts the whole thing in a totally new light and makes John’s music far more suitable from this sort of environment. For me, this was the highlight of the evening.
Next up was Chevron, who played a fantastic set of classic rave like material with pounding gabba drums, acid synth sounds, spooky samples and occasional ray-gun like sound effects provided by the modified toy known as “Ragga Weapon 2”.
Mike P (µ-ziq)’s live set was another bashing of Bilious Paths material interspersed with a couple of the older classics. All of the older material reworked a little so they sat perfectly in the set with the latest material. A couple of tracks had been added to the set since the gig reviewed back in October, otherwise the set was quite similar.
Remarc played a DJ set of old school jungle, heavily laden in his own material. Opening by scratching the siren sound from Not 4 U then launching into what is undoubtedly his best track is a great way to get things started, but made it difficult to maintain that level.
The final live set came from the Santa suited Shitmat, playing a set that was much heavier on the gabba and lighter on the mash-up and jungle elements than the one reviewed last month. The Rolf Harris mash-up was of course still present, but it was the opening Ian Dury reworking “Hit me with your gabba kick” that provided the comedy highlight of the set. This performance sorted the men from the boys and by the end of the hour the crowd was reduced considerably, although this was true of the other rooms too so many it was more to do with the time than the music. It did agitate the security guard stood at the side of the stage. He had found a drum stick and had been taping along with most of the acts all evening. When Shitmat came on and his mood changed considerably, he was stabbing at things violently and heckling.
Mike P provided another DJ set, comprising mostly jungle material, that was every bit as good as Remarc’s and Chevron finished of the night with a laptop DJ set of rave classics like Charlie Says and sped up, raved up, chart tunes like Mel and Kim’s Respectable sounding like Chipmunks. Fantastic night. Can’t wait for next year’s.
Originally posted on GussetBlog by Dan, 22.12.03.
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