& von Bergdorf/sourmilk/Swilly/Proctobysmasaurian Episode/the
closer we are to dying/The Bleak Industrialists/Exchanged
Tides/Brutalist Architecture In The Sun/whtthppnsfpshthtbttn?
Battery, Fort Amherst, Chatham - 30 August 2021
afternoon of electronic noodling and visual arts"
annual Electric Medway Festival culminated with an afternoon of
electronic noodling and visual arts. This event was promoted as part
of MOONSEED, and organised by Minimus, who presented a day of
electronic and acoustic experimental music and sound at a former
Napoleonic Fortress in Kent.
organises lo-fi informal events where musicians and non-musicians
(if there is such a thing) can jam together with traditional
instruments, mobile apps and found instrumentation for enjoyment.
And if that sounds pretentious, nothing could be further than the
truth. I can honestly say, of the two or three goatees on show, I
didn't see a single stroke throughout the day.
For five hours
the gathered individuals, a few families, dogs and fellow artists
enjoyed the summer sun and mellow sounds emanating from the
makeshift amphitheatre stage and two small indoor rooms, complete
with visuals and lighting. Each artist played a short set comprising
of found sounds piped through megaphones, electronic gadgetry with
more wires and patch leads than you could shake a dog at, homemade
instruments, acoustic drums and electric guitars.
[L-R]: Electric Medway festival, whtthppnsfpshthbttn?,
Brutalist Architecture In The Sun
Architecture In The Sun is a coldwave project
centered around Dean Clarke. Today he was mostly using an ARP2600,
accompanied by his son Luca on electric guitar. They performed two
instrumental soundscapes influenced by Tangerine Dream. The first
of which sounded like the outcome of a creative jam with John
Carpenter, circa 1976. They have recently released Post
Democracy – the album, a collection of songs Dean
wrote with vocalist Cye Thomas in 2016.
Tides aka Jane Pitt stood out from the rest of the
performances with her found sounds emanating meditative sounds
from megaphones placed on the grass verge around the ampitheatre.
This gave us all a respite and time to relax in the afternoon
sunshine. There was peace and quite as all present appeared to
take a moment. Follow Jane
on Facebook here.
Bleak Industrialists is the project of Clive
Smedley. Showcasing a new composition, voice samples entwined
electronics err towards neoclassical and jazz-inspired electric
piano. Pleasantly chilled like a medium dry white wine, this was a
perfect musical accompaniment to a relaxing summer day. Just a
shame he only used less than half his allotted 20 minutes. More info
Photos [L-R]: Exchanged Tides, The Bleak
Industrialists, the closer we are to dying
was introduced as the closer we
are to dying and the title of his dark and somewhat
disturbing melancholy was the marriage of heaven and hell.
He confirmed in conversation that the title of the track and its
subject matter were inspired by William Blake and the brilliant
John Higgs book, William Blake vs the World. Fittingly, this
dronescape session started with Stephen Fry talking about the
existence (or otherwise) of God, and ended with a terrifyingly
loud scream. His everyone
will live in their own cathedral EP is a good starting
pleased to say, I was drug-free when the next act, Proctobysmasaurian
Episode, appeared from a dark room. They started with
squealing piggy samples and wore porcine face masks to hide
their true identity. These noodling swine lay somewhere on an
unbeaten path between the three little pigs and Slipknot.
Electricity flowed through synthesizers and guitar
reverberating waves through effect pedals & some welcome
feedback, with the meditative and relaxing ringing sounds of
Buddhist music bowls.
is the pseudonym of Simon Williams. His use of effect pedals,
live performance loops and misuse of a guitar that spent much of
his set lying flat on what could be best described as an
operating table, while he abusively wedged metal cutlery into
its aching body before creating and looping the noise of a
handheld fan across the strings. This was like an exorcism of a
bad spirit that had possessed the guitar. Once exorcised, Swilly
was able to don the guitar and finger-pick less abrasive loops.
[L-R]: Proctobysmasaurian Episode, the Spur Battery amphitheatre, Forst Amherst, Swilly
loudly flapping his wings as he flew overhead was a fleeting but
surprisingly effective improv addition to the range of noises
emanating from the stage. Swilly has the pure genius of a Swell
Maps home recording that is as far removed from rock n roll as
one man and his guitar can be. Both ingenious and captivating.
album is well worth a listen too.
sourmilk is a vehicle for
Andrew Kesbey. Rhythms, audio samples and some splendid,
electrified pads and waves all emanated effortlessly from the
one piece of kit, packed in its own groovy ARP2600 style grey
suitcase. Multi-coloured patch leads appeared to cover the
face of the synthesizer that was masterly managed by sourmilk
and provided an orderly queue of electronic music buffs at the
end of the set to gawp with eyes wide open. It was a modular
synthesiser - a case full of synth components that he had
assembled and patched together. This was the winner of the
Best Kit prize.
set included several inter-changeable rhythms and tunes that
were locked together with a certain mellow restraint, much
less extreme but equally as enjoyable as his debut album, Theory
[L-R]: sourmilk, Standish & von Bergdorf, Minimus collective jam
& von Bergdorf are Kevin Younger & Chris De C
B. Two-thirds of the brilliantly unique and original Hand of
Stabs. Their music effortlessly evokes the same wonky, bizarre
and bedazzled path of unearthly music produced on a telepathic
level by two splendidly dressed, portly mature men, with nothing
more than the occasional fleeting look towards each other. A
vintage Burns guitar sound with a board of effect pedals
collides head-on with an electrified bicycle wheel eloquently
played with a violin bow. Standish & von Bergdorf perform to
a mesmerised audience that completed the live performances by
Minimus gathering is complete without a finale of the final hour
that provides an array of instruments and jack leads ready to
connect to mobile phone apps as all are welcomed to join in an
informal and relaxed happy jam to complete the day. Electric
Medway and Minimus should be applauded for a brilliant free
afternoon of music at an amazing venue. It was great to be a part
of it and meet so many interesting artists. Let’s hope we don’t
have to wait another 12 months for the next one. 8/10
Buckley James Harvester
Additional Observations: Rob Dyer
Photos: Rob Dyer + Terry Lane