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King Midas Sound/JK Flesh/Glatze (live at Corsica Studios)

Corsica Studios, London
9 August 2012

As I walk in, a crazy man is on stage, pumping out some lovely squelchy bass sounds from a laptop which are instantly recognisable, thanks in part to his wonderfully overwrought vocals, as Black Sabbath‘s “Black Sabbath” (from the album Black Sabbath). And then it gets stranger and sillier from there, for this crazy man, it transpires, is Glatze, self-styled “musician and live music nutjob” (note- usually “self-styled” is an underhanded way of saying “bloke who actually ISN’T a…” but in this case he’s styled himself pretty well), and he’s loads of fun. More sonic silliness ensues, until he ends by accompanying himself on the melodica to an epic yet lightweight tale of musical instruments set to a jaunty dub/accordion backing, which ends, not unreasonably, in the deaths of all the characters. This makes no sense, I know. But it will when you see it. And you should see it. Glatze’s the kind of act you stumble upon by accident while really trolleyed at a festival and then spend the rest of your life going “Hey, remember that thing we saw at Arsefest that time with the crazy guy and the Black Sabbath and the laptop and that?” at people whenever you find yourself in a similar situation. Which is good, genuinely.

After Glatze the tone darkens considerably. Really, really quite a lot. For the next act to take the stage is the legendary [post=jk-flesh-posthuman text=”JK Flesh”], the Techno Animal-era alter ego of the mild-mannered but legendary Justin Broadrick (the one-time Napalm Death member more famous for his work as Jesu, Final, [post=blood-heroes-blood-heroes text=”Blood Of Heroes”] etc, but most of all for carving out an entire sonic territory for pissed-off industrial grind with the legendary, and awesome, Godflesh). The ubiquitous glowing Apple logo is a bit of a red herring, if anyone was expecting him to drown us in sound while sitting behind a laptop – he straps on a guitar, cranks up the volume, and manages to combine the worlds of all-out guitar onslaught and keyboard tapping with just two hands and a bit of stooping.

And it’s fucking BRUTAL. Chiming, chugging slabs of guitar noise and feedback war with big strutting robot rhythms as he treats us to most of his new (and essential) album [post=jk-flesh-posthuman text=”Posthuman”], and about half-way through we reach that perfect storm of volume where it becomes overwhelming, and we’re assailed from the air by white noise harpies while beneath our feet it feels like the bass is tunnelling up through the earth to punch us in the bollocks or other appropriate genitals. Meanwhile he’s yelling at us, distorted howls of rage and pain, and it’s like Godflesh, Throbbing Gristle and Merzbow are all on stage at once. Which would be quite a feat, as it’s not the BIGGEST stage in the world, though Corsica more than make up for that with their epic sound system. When he leaves the stage with a polite bow, he seems to revert back to being just a bloke, whereas for the last half hour or so he’s been some sort of agonised cyborg. Which is a bit weird, but pretty much what we’ve come to expect from the guy. The guy behind me puts it best, saying to his mate “I approve of that. It was terrifying and really loud”.

And then it’s time for King Midas Sound. My new favourite band. I must admit, I have a bit of a weird thing with Kevin Martin, whereby I recognise him as a musical genius, and love everything I have ever heard that he’s had a hand in, but completely forget about him for years at a time, only to come back and find out that in the meantime he’s usually been doing something even more awesome than the stuff I was really into before. From God, Ice, and The Bug to Techno Animal and Curse Of The Golden Vampire (often in collaboration with, of course, the same Mr Flesh who has, scant minutes ago, almost ruined our ears to the extent that watching another band seems foolhardy at best), he’s a figure of equal importance in the realms of sub-bass exploration to the mighty drone-doom masters SunnO))), only you can dance to him.

King Midas Sound take the stage through a haze of dry ice, pumping a wall of sound that makes even JK Flesh seem quiet, with bass that makes your trousers dance before your feet have even had a chance to move. The twin vocal performances of Roger Robinson and Kiko Hitomi, somehow melodic, strident and languid all at the same time, put a human edge on proceedings, while behind the desk Martin unleashes the robots. It’s heavy. REALLY heavy. Imagine a Mezzanine-era Massive Attack hiding themselves behind a wall of sound with the biggest, and most stoned reggae sound system you ever heard, only breaking cover to pop out every now and then to punch you in the face. It’s like that. And it’s the perfect pick-me-up after the relentless vitriol of JK Flesh; the two acts complement each other perfectly. It would appear Broadrick and Martin being in the same room is ALWAYS an awesome proposition, even if they’re not making noise at the same time as each other.

Fucking majestic.

-Deuteronemu 90210 at ultra-low frequencies-
-Pictures: James Barry-

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