I may have made some misplaced assumptions about tonight. Speculations such as all German’s are cold, and sticklers for precision. The Ruby Lounge has a questionable sound system. DJ/producer/computer types live, are always tepid, obvious and repetitive affairs.
The main support is D/R/U/G/S. Now, they are a little repetitive. For a short while I’m unaware they’ve even started. It takes moment to discern that the duo casually hunkering over a laptop are performers, and not just two fellows defragging a hard drive. Maybe the nonchalance is part of their shtick. The music certainly doesn’t warrant air punching, or that smug grimace that lots of laptop-knob twiddling types are doing these days. Nevertheless, even with a non-performer such as say, Gold Panda, you know he’s started at least; there are quite obvious visual clues. Not here. The music isn’t bad, it’s just not particularly very good.
Next up a rather humble gentleman is on stage with a wine glass, some ice, and a couple of bottles of water. He taps and runs a metal wand around the innards of the glass, and a shrill tone bellows echoing through the soundsystem, it now having been transmogrified into a swirling, reverberating cacophony of noise. Instead of keys on a keyboard, he adds an ice cube and the tone and dynamic change. Two cubes, three cubes, some water, circulating the rod round the glass, each time creating a new texture of sound. Eventually he presses play on his machinery and a new set of noises whir into their own. It’s common now for the music producer to do this, bop in time to his pre-programmed bars, but you get the impression that Pantha Du Prince doesn’t subscribe to this mode. His esoteric tampering seems earnest; each track is fresh, organic. ‘Saturn Strobe’ is just as vast in its scope, well beyond the aural confines of the Ruby Lounge. The same can be said for tracks from Black Noise. It’s a rare thing when a musician in a live setting can successfully recreate the minutiae of music as complex as Pantha Du Prince, but somehow, very little is mislaid.
I’m always apprehensive about music makers who rely on computers when they play live. I understand that there are noises no piece of wood or brass or string can produce. It’s the way the musician strums or hits or blows that makes the performance. The DJ taps and twiddles. What’s crucial about live performance is the crowd reaction. All musicians live for the response of a crowd, and it’s this element that links every performer together, no matter what their instrument. Pantha Du Prince is working the crowd into a state somewhere between awe and frenzy. Then there’s the sound. Very pristine. Throughout the night there’s a fellow toward the back of the stage whom I’m sure is on sound duties. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s Herr Hendrik, and the patsy at the front of the stage is a fake.
Either way, tonight Pantha Du Prince, whoever he is, is borderline superb. It’s Tuesday, and working an audience into anything other than a reserved shuffle is a hard task, a task that’s accomplished to perfection.
I’m a big fan of Manchester Screenwipe. For the uninitiated, Mcr Screenwipe do their own take on the La Blogotheque format, in which musicians are taken to low-key locations whereupon they perform as the God of all that’s acoustic and naturally reverberant intended.
To celebrate hitting the 100th video milestone they’re putting on some of their favourite Manchester acts. Dennis Jones, Cats In Paris, With That Knife and Brown Brogues will all be at the Deaf Institute, Thursday August 12th. The first 100 people through the door will get a limited edition mix tape of some of Manchester’s finest artists. Oh my.
Tickets are £6 advance/£8 on the door. Available here, The Deaf Institute or Piccadilly Records.
As part of the ongoing exhibition ‘The View From Here’, the organisers are running a film night at Nexus Art Cafe. However, this is no ordinary film night. Instead, there’ll be a ‘Youtube Karaoke’. Those planning on attending will have the chance to vote for any Youtube video they deem worthy to be played on the night.
“We will be collecting data as to which videos are chosen and who chose them. This information will be used to form a landscape of human culture”. There’ll also be a screening of Daft Punk’s Electroma. The night starts at 7pm on Friday 6th August and entry is free. In the meantime you can vote for your favourite films using the ballot box at Nexus.
The organisers are also planning for another event that will run in conjunction with this exhibition: ‘Bright Club’ will take place at Nexus on Monday 16th August 7:30-10pm. It’s a night that blends comedy, science, music and anything else that can happen on stage. This month’s theme focuses on the idea of ‘place’. Entry is £2.
The group are looking for participants. If you’re interested in speaking at ‘Bright Club’ on the theme of ‘Place’, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively you can call Nexus Art Cafe on 0161 236 0100.
When I first heard this track I thought it was Wild Beasts (with a hint of Klaus Nomi). It’s not, it’s a women called Leona Anderson, and the track’s from an album released in 1957 entitled, Music To Suffer By.
Born in St. Louis in 1885, Anderson proclaimed to be, “the World’s most horrible singer”. It’s an adage she was quite comfortable with and it got her further than many of those who had the necessary talent. I liken her execution of anti-talent to modern acts such as Neil Hamburger or Die Antwoord (of course both are remarkably good with their adopted shtick). I’ve heard a lot worse than Anderson, however, but given my penchant for all things truly terrible, I quite like it. The good news is that the album’s been remastered and is released today. Even better is that it’s still pretty hilarious. Here for Spotify.