Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Support: Impossible Flowers
Publisher: The Arches, Glasgow, 7th October 2007
Its while picking up tickets for other gigs in mid-September that I discover that Murcof is playing at the start of October. The Mexican musician has three albums on the Leaf label, I had picked up his most recent CD - Cosmos - at the start of September. His first album is the most memorable, the one that makes the impression, the other two being works I should spend more time with.
Having bought a ticket, I was advised that entrance was through the back door to The Arches. At Coco Rosie and Yann Tiersen I had gone in the front door only to be told it was the back, so knowing in advance was handy. Except of course, when I turned up at the back door there was no sign of anyone and the door certainly was not open. After hanging out with the homeless and drunks who hang around in that back alley for 15 minutes, I gave up and went to front door. Which of course was the entrance being used that night.
The Arches have a wide selection of performance spaces, this even was in the Play Room, a cosy seated theatre. When I went in a band were on stage, and there were a scattering of people on the seats. However, it was only a sound check, the band disappeared, as did most of the people. While the few of us left looked around and wondered what was going on.
Before too long, that band were back on stage. I saw their name on the poster, but forgot it, and they didn't introduce themselves. A four piece rock/electronica outfit - bass, drum, laptop and electronics - with some flexibility to who did what. The sound was pretty laid back, a kind of indie electronic thing. Much better than the band who supported Deerhoof who played in a similar kind of ballpark.
The second support band did introduce themselves - The Impossible Flowers - a three piece, improvisational outfit. Drums, violins and electronics, with a dose of accordion at points. The sound was sprawling, free form, but tight unlike the more annoying advocates of the improv scene. At times free rock drone style, verging into rhythmic almost techno, a sound that wove between reminding of Not Breathing to perhaps someone like Coil. At times they hit moments of discord, the improvised transitions clashing - but for the most part they hit a solid groove, which suggested that they had at least rehearsed the general form of the set.
Murcof had a long table set up at the back of the stage, the most minimal performance following his two support acts. One man, a laptop, and a series of knobs and boxes. For all that, it was undeniable that his performance was the highlight of the night. His recorded sound coming to life in a vivid manner live. The layers and depth of the sound clear, the textures, the differentiation crisp and striking. Moments of wonder with the strings and drones, the clicks and cuts, sweeping across the audience so that as he finishes and shuts down the laptop there is a moment of silence. The applause is enthusiastic, shouts for more, Murcof surprised has to switch things back on again, and the audience waits patiently through a reboot.
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