Saturday, 16 October 2010


I'm somewhat discombobulated today, for reasons I'm not going to go into at the moment, so forgive me if I wander off on all sorts of ridiculous tangents and nothing makes much sense. Although let's face it, that wouldn't exactly be a first for this blog.

Last night was spent in the most civilised surroundings of Cafe Oto, at a night called Otobahn, which turned out to be the perfect place to decompress after a day of wildly oscillating moods, none of which were particularly pleasant, not that I'm falling back into my old ways, it was just one of those days that needed a good end to it to shave off the spiky aggravated edges of my overactive brain, and spending the evening with a couple of my favourite people, drinking excellent beer** to the accompaniment of some rather fine music, live and dj'ed, seemed to be exactly the right solution. There were a couple of live acts, a solo analogue synth set by John Chantler which started slowly and hesitantly, but grew and evolved into a deeply thrumming krauty deep space mung out with tickly arpeggiations. I wasn't that impressed at first, but like I said, when he got into his stride, the billowing ambience of the modular synth provided just the right sonic tint to the night, an enveloping, yet unobtrusive warmth that coupled with good conversation and the aforementioned ale calmed me right down, and allowed my racing mind to catch up with itself and let me think clearly again.

The second lot, Regolith, laid down a very enjoyable, but for my tastes when it comes to this sort of stuff, slightly too quiet set of droning psych blues with two electric guitars and laptop***. I really wish it had been louder, and the mix a little more balanced, especially towards the end when one of the guitarists cut loose with a fucking great solo which was almost swamped by the muddiness of the mix, I mean, this was proper Quicksilver shit, and I want to fucking hear that. I could understand it if they were going for the subliminal thing, but it was too high in the mix to pull that off, yet still too low to make the impact it should have. Not their fault, and we all know my opinion of a lot of live engineers§, so I know who I blame. But even with those shortcomings, they played some beautiful music, and I'm a sucker for e-bowed slide guitar, which their set contained in bucketloads, and the laptop processing etc. was so tightly enmeshed and integrated into the whole weave of sound it never came across as gratuitous technological icing, which is the impression I often get from laptop musicians in a live context. Not here though. Good fucking stuff. Louder next time please.

There was some great, eclectic dj sets from Mapsadasical, Radioolio and others too, a nicely random mix of sounds electronic, acoustic, freaky and beautiful, again, not at full club volume, but at just the right volume to fill the room without anyone needing to shout, and the conversation never obscured the music either, like I said, a civilised night out, and it's the only night I've been to that had its own cryptic crossword. Which you can have a go at here, although it might prove impossible to crack if y're not a krautrock junkie...

So yeah, a really nice evening, and one that I really hope won't be a one-off, apparently it was put on in place of a cancelled gig, and I for one am really glad they did, because a space like this, that's not a full on club night or a full volume gig, isn't in a grimy pub or dingy venue§§ for once, but in a good place, full of good people and fine sounds, with great food and drink, is something that's been sorely fucking lacking for a while, somewhere that's almost as much about being social as it about the music. It was pretty damn packed too, so even though it was free entry, I'm betting Cafe Oto did alright last night. And with that in mind, I'd like to be amongst the first to humbly request the lovely people who run Cafe Oto to make this a regular fixture, and not just because I want to dj there, but because it was a genuinely excellent night in exactly the right venue§§§. It even had a rather nice flyer:

Fuck me, no tangents, I must be feeling more relaxed. Oh wait, here comes one.

I must also recommend that you get hold of a copy of Nigel Kneale's utterly fantastic, and unintentionally hilarious, 1976 series Beasts, I actually thought I might rupture something laughing, fucking awesome television. The rats...

*No, not the Valium...

**Particularly the Kernel Brewery's excellent IPA Citra. Fucking fantastic stuff.

***Which for once, didn't bug the shit out of me. I have a slight issue with laptops on stage, for many reasons ,some of which are deeply irrational, and none of which I can't be arsed to into here. I will at some point in the future when I next get pissed off by the sight of someone staring at a screen on stage.

§For those who don't, it's not particularly nice. To put it very mildly.

§§Not that I object to those things, as you've probably gathered, but it's nice to have somewhere to go where you can just fucking kick back.

§§§Like when Kosmische was Upstairs At The Garage. It was never quite the same anywhere else. Good, but not the fucking joyous pill fuelled great rush through space Kosmische could be when it was UATG. Probably because most other venues wouldn't let us get away with half the shit we did there. Like crate-skating, which I'll explain one day, suffice to say it's a very specific method of dancing which you should never attempt when y're off yr fucking tits, but also something you just wouldn't attempt even vaguely sober, fun, but with the risk of injury ever present. Yeah, sure, UATG was a shithole, but dammit, it was our fucking shithole for one night a month for a fucking killer few years. More on Kosmische soon...

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