Live at KGRN, 2019-06-25.
by Dave Skipper
Recently I started heading in a new direction with my noise-making. I have gotten a bit disillusioned with generating noise from cross-modulating analogue synth oscillators, which has been my predominant approach for many years. Meanwhile I’ve been getting more interested in listening to field recordings and noise albums created with junk metal, contact mics, and feedback. A current favourite is Merzbow’s 1990 album Rainbow Electronics, having picked up a used copy on CD a little while back (you can check it on YouTube here).
So I’ve started playing around with some hand tools and power tools with contact mics to create live samples of physical noises, which I then mangle and distort in my modular system. It’s a lot of fun!
I recorded my latest gig, which was at the awesome live space in Tokyo that is Kagurane, or KGRN for short. It’s easily one of the best sound systems to play noise through when it comes to small performance spaces in Tokyo, with great clarity and power across the whole frequency range.
My set was strewn with problems and flaws, but I share it here warts and all as a document to this new path I am tracing. I am moderately happy with the outcome, but it was definitely a lot of fun and I think it’s an interesting foundation on which I hope to develop and mature. I’m concocting some ways to ramp up the performance for future gigs, and am eager to put my ideas into action!
Below is video of the full set, only 11 minutes long. The audio is a mix of the direct output of my modular, and the live room sound.
Basic timing notes:
0:00 – 5:02 … physical action section, various tools, recording some short loops (problem: due to a setting error each loop overwrote the last, whereas I wanted to concatenate them all together; also I forgot to adjust the reverb)
5:02 – 6:23 … drill sound loop, increased distortion
6:23 – 9:10 … main harsh noise section, splicing and mangling the same drill loop
9:10 – 9:51 … I added a bit of analogue synth sound here
9:51 – 11:18 … outro section and breakdown (a bit sketchy and inconsistent, I didn’t manage the flow well enough here)
As usual, headphones or good monitors are vital for the sound details, stereo width, and bass frequencies (YouTube sound ‘quality’ notwithstanding). Don’t be lazy with your tinny smartphone/laptop speakers!
With thanks to the KGRN staff, Kyosuke Terada for co-organising with me (he did most of the work!) and the other wonderful artists who played at this event:
Marinos Kousomichalis (from Greece)
Paul Gründorfer (from Austria)
Naoki Nomoto (duo with Kyosuke Terada)
Taro Aiko (of Endon and M.A.S.F.)
You were all amazing!!
Event flyer (designed by Kyosuke Terada):