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Nurse With Wound/Mika Vainio & Bruce Gilbert/Radian (live at Koko)

Koko
London
15 May 2011

Loved the minimal post rock vibes of the opening act Radian – that 23 Skidoo ethnicity and those broken This Heat narratives  were riddled with an exciting unpredictability, each track, a scattered jigsaw filled with unusual colours and textures, oozing a restrained intent that was really impressive.

Bruce GilbertBruce Gilbert and Pan Sonic‘s Mika Vainio were next on the bill. Introducing themselves in a short burst of hi-end pierce that got the crowd cheering. They continued with a Malaysian flavoured ambience, a gigantic staked beauty, fluttering like a quartz split mouth of the night, later molested in high pitched scars. Then the beats kicked in, like sacks of liquidised potatoes slapping all hardcore, whirring on the rebound, turning the rainbows of electro abstraction into a lush avant-club land, the convexed projection dancing along.

Mika Vainio & Bruce Gilbert

Probably impressed by the previous act, the Nurse with Wound foursome blasted out a delicious cacophony. Colin Potter doing arm requests for more volume – to which I was glad the sound guys didn’t oblige as my head felt like an aching ball of phosphorus. Slowly the harshness sheared into eerier waters, bespeckled in mumbles and moaning vapours and other classic staples of Nurse whimsy, gestating nicely as word worms snaked the screen. To my disbelief, “I Am The Poison” materialised (the very song that originally converted me to Woundworld), Steven Stapleton‘s vocals sounding over-medicated, nicely obsessional,Waldron ‘n’ Liles churning out a gut wrenching bass to Mr Potter’s eccentricities… the phasing nimbus projection behind them giving out Coil déjà vu. If you ask me, this was worth the ticket price alone.

On the back of this, some seriously sexy trumpet smears pursued, leading to outbreaks of tomfoolery from all assembled. Liles getting carried away with a toy megaphone and being pushed off stage by Steve; Mat Waldron on pinhole music box, all Nosferatu hunched, cranking  out delicate Hellraiser trickles… Random noises a plenty as all four squabbled over their contacted junk like a bunch of kids.

Andrew LilesBacteria multiplied on screen as an arse-clenching rumble of a drone made its headway, potholed in snapping mouse traps, S&M whims and a sinister flux of electro statics. On screen, squid-like creatures floated around Manhattan to the ghost-written operatics. The scene quickly changing to visions of some Lynchian travel lodge populated by shadow shifting creatures. Corrosive drones crackled with flashes of amped tinfoil – the half-light revealed the fleeing shapes of scattering monkeys, their muddy primate faces looking genuinely perturbed. The sound, a tight knit claustrophobia, squeezing out every ounce of tension then detonating in bursts of gorgeous brutality. A few comical switchblades broke out as the BPM index flew off the handle in funfair-esque detours, contradicting the images on screen that definitely seemed to take a back seat as the team finally disembarked into a deformed drum’n’bass hoedown. Here’s hoping somebody pressed the record button.

-Michael Rodham-Heaps-

(pics: Emerson Tan)

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