The Arches, Glasgow
The fertile noise scene on Instal’s own doorstep has made this offshoot festival a welcome addition. 11 acts are on show in two late night slots following the main Instal festival, and added a speakeasy frisson to proceedings. Positioning them in The Arches public bar, awash with pop-eyed clubbers, makes for an at times uneasily tense mix. The abysmal sound on the first night doesn’t help matters, though neither does opening with the scratchy phutterings of Edinburgh duo Usurper, whose barely audible exercise with ‘disabled’ instruments are pretty much lost to the babble.
There’s no danger of that with Jazzfinger’s martial slabs of sound, and any subtleties inherent in the primitive analogue wail of female duo Hockyfrilla (it’s Swedish for mullet) are stampeded over by their collaboration with Muscletusk’s relentlessly pounding sludge. Squeezed into 20 minute slots, there’s an ad hoc urgency to such collaborations, and pairing Wounded Knee’s vocal loops with Noma’s overriding drone, and Shareholder’s abrasive clang with Nimrod 33, there’s a sense that everybody has to have a turn.
The brilliantly monikered Kylie Minoise closed the night with a short sharp shock of slobbering one-man aural hara-kiri and gonzo pantomime nihilism. The sound improves considerably for night two, opened with an Industrial Dr Phibes organ vibe in a collaboration between Birds of Delay and Nackt Insecten. Brighton female trio Polly Shang Kuan Band’s sonic mouth music plugs into similar territory pursued by Double Leopards, and Ben Reynolds’s solo guitar shimmers with a shy cheek. Any reticence displayed, however, looks like rock star posturing compared to brother-sister duo Red Kites, whose gossamer-thin folk whine finds them facing away from the audience. To close, Opaque’s normally solo guitar FX is expanded to a tooled-up quintet of masked bandits for a brief, unpunctuated burst that defines Infest as a slow pincer movement towards Instal’s centre.
The Wire, issue 274, December 2006