Saturday evening, and the setting is quite different to the previous night’s - the superficial glitz of a freshers filled nightclub. I am in the basement of Dalston’s Power Lunches, and my feet are sticking to the floor due to some unknown substance as I watch the stage between dread-locked heads. At the bottom stands four video players of different shapes and sizes, telling the morbid tale of a throwaway society, depicting mindless consumerism and merciless investor development between flashes of static. Even the event’s name, ‘Towards Collapse’, seems to point an angry finger at the unstoppable churn of London’s development cycle.
As I walk in ‘DJ Bin Fetish’ is on stage… If the name weren’t enough entertainment value on its own the joyous selection of grating drones and doom-laden, slow-motion techno he conjured up over his 45 minute slot certainly was. Next on stage was Brighton-based John Wheatley. His curatorial skills as owner of Cutting Room Records have earned him coverage in esteemed publications such as The Quietus and a regular show on Future Music FM. However, it was a rare live outing from under his Microbes alias that warranted his attendance on Saturday. Groaning shockwaves of bass, crushing drones and ceiling scraping high-end carved out narratives for an imaginary cyber-thriller in the line with the noise-punk stylings which comprised his debut cassette release back in 2012.
Having seen Shelley Parker a few weeks ago in the now sadly endangered Rye Wax in Peckham (sign here please), I was at least somewhat aware of what to expect. However, Parker’s ability to fill a room with sound never seems to lose its thrill. Indeed, the soundscapes she crafts seem to transcend the borders of the basement venues she has been occupying lately. I can imagine her productions sounding just as powerful, infectious and visceral in the Tate’s Turbine Hall or Kraftwerk Berlin’s colossal atrium. For now though it’s a pleasure to see her play wherever possible, treading a satisfying balance between dirt-caked noise and skippy breakbeat techno not letting either outstay its welcome and leaving you wanting more each time.
It was credit to the scheduling of the event that Parker’s dancefloor oriented approach broke the tension of the previous beatless proceedings at the perfect moment. Huron continued with pointed rhythmic experiments, presenting a plethora of broken-beat glitch, celestial ambience easing between the data-moshed soundscapes at various interims.
Towards Collapse are only a couple of events into their series, however it’s already pretty easy to gather a sense of what they’re about. They have also recently put out a cassette release with another Cutting Room Records affiliate, K (no) o, and Cloaks member Submechanical generating plenty of anticipation as to how the project might develop. So while the incessant grind of development crushes on, its good to know there are still people out there who choose to confront, rather than ignore it.
Towards Collapse #1 Visuals
Busy times at the sub-standard, elephantiasis priced and bed-bug infested magnolia-box rental that is Towards Collapse HQ. The luxury canal-side redevelopments are gradually creeping towards us along the Grand Union towpath, but for the time being you can still find a few knackered TVs and VHS players fly-tipped around the borough, so we’ve spent the weekend hacking together a grubby visual setup for next week’s Towards Collapse. Check out this little preview:Posted by Towards Collapse on Sunday, 1 March 2015