Various artists: EMOM York XIII, The Fulford Arms, York, 30th November 2022

Posted: 3 December 2022 in Live
Tags: , , , , , ,

Christopher Nosnibor

I absolutely love the EMOM nights: regardless of where they are, they’re eclectic, and above all, accommodating: there’s a real sense of community around them. But if there’s one criticism to be made, it’s around the demographic: guys. Always guys. White, and mostly 50+. This was particularly apparent at the Leeds EMOM at Wharf Chambers a couple of months ago, and admittedly, this is inching towards being my demographic, but… well. What to do about it? It’s an open mic. How can you make something that’s inclusive feel like a place for everyone?

While many guys take up tinkering with synths once their kids have left the nest, it’s clear that this is not representative of the electronic scene, by any means. So why do EMOM nights draw wall-to-wall guys, middle-aged or older, pissing about with expensive midlife-crisis kit, but next to no women or, well, anyone who’s not a middle-aged white bloke?

Tonight does not conform to this emerging form, and it’s genuinely warming to see that the room is not only quite full, but rather more diverse in its populace.

The diversity applies to the music on offer, too: within the first four acts, we’d witnessed modular minimal krautrock, angular bleeping and live chess, as well as an abundance of laptop action, yielding a full spectrum of styles and frequencies. And the evening swiftly evolves from here, because then there’s some absolutely everything going off all at once choral samples, synths and bouncing grooves what the fuckness from Hull’s PariahX, noodly and surprisingly atmospheric, vintage sci fi stuff from regulars TSR2, the trio again reduced to a duo, making innovative use of a mobile phone. They’re reliably good, but this is possibly the best I’ve heard from them yet.

Host Simon Higginbotham, who operates as How Buildings Fail, brings a heap of kit and five miles of cable to conjure squelchy experimental electronica in the vein of Cabaret Voltaire, as fronted by Mark E Smith, thanks to his sprechgesang vocals. He looks like he’s having a ball, and he does a great job, with the sound emanating from the PA landing in the region of Dr Mix: it’s of proper late 70s vintage in style, with pulsating retro drum machine sounds and endless reverb proving integral to the experience.

Fail

How Buildings Fail

Dots brought guitar, keytar, and his ‘n’ hers silver spangled outfits, and the human glitterballs provided one of the night’s more unexpected turns. They were good fun, too, even if I was mostly plunging headlong into the zone where everything goes quiet and fades into a blur as I fumble with cables and fret about the seconds ticking down. I am aware that appear significantly more composed than I really am. My head is swimming and everything is a fog.

Dots

Dots

The question of whether or not it’s acceptable to review gigs where you’re also performing is one I’ve touched on more than once, and tonight my focus on the acts has been pulled a little by the prospect of my first collaboration with Debz Fialkiewicz. Having been impressed by Hull Duo Spore’s performance at WonkyStuff in October, I wrote ‘I feel I should collaborate with these guys – because they’re ace, and Nosnispore has a definite ring to it’. And this, I have to say is the beauty of this little scene: the people are open-minded and interested. Debz got in touch, and so with no rehearsal and only minimal discussion – simply an agreement on ‘dark ambient noise with dystopian spoken word narrative’ the day before – it happened. A few people said the vocals were too low in the mix and barely audible beneath all the echo, but that was exactly the idea. There’s going to be more where that came from.

Noisenispor EMOM

Noisenispore

Still buzzing, I slump, drained, into my seat to watch the rest of the night.

Ian J Cole brought some avant-oddity, while Jamie brought some thumping uptempo rhythms to build a harsh beat-driven techno attack before Tom Ray – Home Taper – brought some bulbous, buzzing laptop distortion-driven heavy drone by way of a finale. He brought some really nice, dirty, dark tones and difficult frequencies that rattled the bones and sent vibrations through the intestines, and it felt good. Maybe there’s another collaboration there.

Jamie EMOM

Jamie

Tom

Home Taper

In all, it was another cracking night, and a first-class showcase of the thriving electronic scene in Yorkshire.

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