Ryan’s Bar, London
A deliciously astringent evening of electroacoustic goodness at Ryan’s Bar in Stoke Newington – just a plectrum’s idle strum from Thurston Moore’s new pad, fact fans! – which saw US fuzz manglers Bonnie Jones and Tim Albro team up with London-based sound artist Kostis Kilymis and free improv sax explorer Seymour Wright.
In a different universe, this would be a Davis Cup line-up to be proud of, but unfortunately, our sports and cultural authorities are not as visionary as I would like so things were kept firmly focused on the knob twiddling and reed abuse.
The foursome kicked off proceedings as a quartet, brewing up a tasty mulch of clicks and static, like an intertwined root system encrusted with soil. Wright’s angular playing fitted in seamlessly with the electronic detritus, alternating various extended techniques with blasts of atonal, digital-sounding noise. The grumbles and cheers of the footie-watching crowd leeching through from upstairs only added to the grainy blur.
Jones and Albro were up next in an all-American duo. They wove a warm blanket of gunk from their assortment of sound making junk – a radio, contact mics, hand bells, table top guitar and the usual modules and laptop. A pleasing goo it was, if somewhat hidebound by the underpowered sound system.
In contrast, Kilymis’ duet with Seymour Wright was a more combative affair. Like some cosmic sparring match, Kilymis, glasses and beard in full effect, hunched over his kit on one side of the room, while Wright, whippet-thin and standing up tall on the other side, the two traded blurts and squeals, parps and glitches. Intensely focused, the two prodded and poked, trying to find a gap in the others’ armour, never quite letting their guard down.
By the end of this elongated set, these previously separate sounds melded into a unified rumble that slowly decayed into silence, like two boxers after 12 rounds, circling in an exhausted embrace.