Oxford life. Thirtysomething challenges. Music leanings. Anything really.

Sunday, October 30, 2005


I just got home from Audioscope. My ears are, for the second time in a week, wrecked.

How do you capture eight hours of music in one blog post? You can't.

Was it the fact that the band that drew me there, Explosions in the Sky, were probably the most disappointing? It's not that they were bad. They weren't. They did Mogwai music just as I expected: passionately, loudly, with many layers, and with much thrashing of hands on fretboards.

I can listen and love that music till the day I die, but I've got to the point where I know what to expect. I love it, and it stirs me as I watch it live. But, well, I saw Mogwai do the same thing about eight years ago.

Thankfully, the pull of EiTS drew me to Audioscope, and everyone else on the bill surprise, excite or thrill. Mostly all three at once.

Shooting at Unarmed Men, Ill Ease, Four Tet: It has been a day and night to remember.

I got the very last ticket, too. Scores, maybe hundreds of people were behind me in the queue, and it was me who had the privilege of hearing: "You're the last one. There's no more space." There's some guilt associated with this, too. I pushed in. I saw someone I know near the front of the line, and tagged on. One person behind me, therefore, didn't get in. Sorry. I did worry about this for, um, well, to be honest, about 11 minutes. Until the first band came on.

Four Tet amazed me. Looking scarily like a cross between an old friend (Harry Golby) and a Tefal-big-forehead-bloke, he bulldozed the crowd from behind two laptops and all sorts of squelch-making gadgetry.

I have no idea how this kind of resampled and processed music is made, but I am happy to hear thumper-thumper-thumper-thumper music all day. Especially when he manages to twist it into a brain curdling mess of noise, layered with a skin of freak-sounds.

I've actually always been a bit suspicious of live electronic-technoesque music. When you watch someone controlling a couple of laptops (whose screens you can't see) with a mouse, there's always a suspicion that they've just pressed play and then spend the set reading email and looking at porn.

I know. I know. I know. I KNOW, ok? He's doing it live, but the mind does wonder... Anyway, who cares if he's done it all in his bedroom the night before. It's bloody marvellous.

But it's cruel to single Four Tet as the highlight.

Data Panik did Nintendo-pop.
Shooting at Unarmed Men did post-punk vitriol.
Ill Ease did a one-woman-band guitar and drum sampling frenzy.
Explosions In The Sky did Mogwai.
Fell City Girl did Six By Seven.

I don't have the wit, or sobriety, to do any of the bands who played today justice. I can only hope to pass on the feeling of awe, and joy at seeing a suite of bands who lie across the spectrum of music that is happily kept a long long way away from the charts.

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