Sunday, 7 October 2007

Kontakte / Freelovebabies / Tamborines - 6 October 2007, Melange

Tamborines photograph: Bob Stuart

Aah! This is most agreeable. I'm clutching a beer, lounging in a lumpy old armchair in cosy surroundings that suggest 'Moroccan-influenced hippy pad circa 1968 meets art student squat circa 1988'. To one side Kate of The Guild of Further Art is delicately creating a psychedelic action painting full of purples and greens, eyelashes and Pre-Raphaelite tresses. Around me, the air is juddering (yes juddering!) courtesy of Kontakte, three blokes boxed into the bijou, be-curtained stage in the corner. They are alternately cajoling and abusing their guitars into creating great sirens of drone-laden sound. Naming ones band after a Stockhausen composition suggests a group with lofty ideals, but you really don't need to think much to get Kontakte - they're pretty visceral. Just turn off your mind, relax and join their trip to a spaced state. The likes of 'Pulse Machines' push humming guitar tones and reverberations up against a backing track of imploding spacerock so the room can't help but be pulled in by the music's traction, warping and nodding amongst the Krautrock embers. Their are no vocals, as there's no need for words. Singing would be a distraction here, lyrics would knock your journey off course. 'Motorik' (they don't want you to miss the point do they?) throbs with heartbeat thumps and a spiralling guitar line that echoes back on itself over steadily rising waves of fuzz. The growling bassline calls up the ghost of late, great drone meisters Loop. Aww, I miss Loop. But never mind, 'cos Kontakte take hunks of rhythm and puresoundwaves and make me twitch with glee.

Free Love Babies are Will Carruthers and assorted chums playing sinuous, seedy, snake-eyed blues. They glimmer amidst a fug of dry-ice, sending out lazy smoke rings of sound. Will is something of a charmer with a fine line in raconteuring (as witnessed on the last UK BJM tour), twinkling sardonically in the gloom. And the man can actually sing! Who'da thunk when he was twanging away on his bass behind Sonic and Jase in the Spacemen that he was the one with the interesting stories to impart and the vocal chords with which to impart them?

The Tamborines are never ones to outstay their welcome, ripping through their fab set of cute, but snarly psych pop soundz with single-minded viciousness, but this time their set really does take the cake. Thanks to a toppling mic stand and consequent equipment malfunctions that eat up all their playing time, we only get three songs. This is a terrible, terrible shame as what we do hear is an all-engulfing roar of fuzz pop - it sounds like enormous cracks opening up in the floor to let the sound woosh out. Structural damage not-withstanding, the band heroically complete their set and we squeeze past the dozens of black clad, leather jacketed scuzz boys copping cigs on the doorstep and on into the Hackney night.

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