Posts Tagged ‘Tim Wright’

2nd October 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Back in July, elk impressed with the Beech EP, a magnificently understated work of haunting grace. The project of 22-year old Leeds based multi-instrumentalist Joey Donnelly, elk has now evolved into elkyn, which comes with certain connotations of what elvin is to elves, and is certainly easier to find on-line.

This first release under the new moniker features re-imaginings of the songs from beech by family and friends, including Miles. (brother Mikey), Mark Peters, S.T. Manville, Tim Wright, and others.

It’s not entirely surprising that the artists who’ve reshaped the songs have focused on their dreamy quality, and Mark Peters’ soft, soporific take on ‘yue’, which was aired in advance of the release is representative.

With the exception of ‘something’, which on this release is retitled as ‘here’ (which sounds like a Depeche Mode doing dreamwave), it’s the same songs in the same sequence, but such a very different record.

Although being twice the length of the original, ‘avenue’ is perhaps the least radically altered, at least in terms of the song itself between an extended intro and outro. Elsewhere, Miles. brings some stark synths and waves of ambience, not to mention sampled narrative to ‘Seventeen’, and it’s a radical transformation as the softly-picked acoustic song becomes a wistful dapple-shaded shoegazer, with Joe’s voice floating on a cloud above it all. Shed Seven’s Joe Johnson retains the brittle fragility of ‘winter’, and the last song, ‘stupid world’ sees Tim Wright introduce some grinding, wheezing organ drone and some stuttering to add more weight and tension to the cracked melancholic introspection.

What makes this release is just how sensitive and considered the reworkings are, completely transforming the songs – in very different ways – while preserving their essence and integrity.

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Shhpuma – SS028LP

Christopher Nosnibor

Perihelion may be MIR 8’s debut, but the collective consists of respected veterans of the musical underground, with a lineup consisting of Andrea Belfi (drums, percussion), Tim Wright (computer, electronics), Werner Dafeldecker (function generators, bass) and Hilary Jeffery (trombone).

For those unfamiliar with the term, and / or too lazy to look it up, perihelion is ‘the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid, or comet at which it is closest to the sun’. If the notion of translating the experience of such a journey into sound seems more than a challenge, then MIR 8’s approach is very much non-literal, with the album’s four expansive movements formed from spectral abstraction, leading the listener on a journey which is cerebral rather than physical.

Sparse notes chime, ringing out in the near emptiness. A mournful trombone note stretches out and elongates to near unrecognizability. This is a work of minimalism in terms of volume and spatial exploration, but in terms of things going on, a lot happens, just at distant intervals. Eerie, otherworldly notes ripple and ring into one another against indeterminate hums and drones. These are not linear compositions, the structures vague and informal and without regularity or definite shape. Everything exists within the incidentals, and everything is incidental.

The pace is sedate, but on ‘Scarborough Sky’ the various sounds rub together at an increased pace and affect a creeping tension with subtle dissonances and frequencies which touch – delicately but definitely – on the more sensitive ranges of the human ear, to discomfiting effect.

An interminably elongated note hangs through the first moments of ‘De Orbit’; subtle yet busy percussion begins to patter in the background, distant cymbal crash and as the depth of the sound builds, the effect is like listening to something very loud from a long way away. Heavy, single notes sound out like a ship’s horn from miles out to sea. At some point, the rhythm stops. Detonations rupture still air before bleeding into ‘Event Horizon’. The final track contains the most overtly conventional elements of rock and jazz, with a bas / snare beat underpinning some roaming, spaced-out freeform brass honks. But these elements by no means make for a conventional composition, as the elements exist with the sense of doing so independently of one another, before gradually being swallowed in reverb and muffling.

As a whole, Perihelion is a subtle, nuanced work. It’s distinguished by the attention to detail to the way in which the individual sounds relate to one another, and how their shifting places of divergence and convergence, create different sensations.

 

MIR 8 – Perihelion

Christopher Nosnibor

One of the UK’s biggest beer festivals may be in full swing a mile or so up the road, but a quality lineup is always going to attract a respectable crowd, especially when the headliners have spent the first months of their existence being careful to avoid overexposure. As such, a Stereoscope gig always has the air of an event about it, and tonight is no exception.

Singer / songwriter Meabh McDonnell is first up. Having turned solo after her previous ensemble, Bored Housewife, split, she’s been learning guitar and writing a set of new material. She’s nervous as hell, but makes it a part of the performance with herself-effacing chatter between songs. But she has a brilliant knack for penning amusing – and sometimes really quite sad – vignettes, lifted from the humdrum existence of daily life, and she really does have a lovely voice, and receives the warm reception she deserves.

Meabh McDonnell

Meabh McDonnell

Wolf Solent – former Federal and contributor to almost infinite bands around York, Danny Barton – is an old hand when it comes to performing, but still prefers to keep his presence on-stage low-key. Playing almost in darkness, a silhouette on the stage, he’s sporting a very dapper pale suit and some impressive Cuban heels. None of this really matters, though: what matters are his magnificently understated, lo-fi indie tunes. Despite having only three or four pedals, he conjures a vast array of sounds and textures from his guitar. It’s the perfect accompaniment to his laid-back but poignant vocal delivery.

Wolf Solent

Wolf Solent

Continuing the dark, stark mode of presentation, Stereoscope are a band who play in black and white. It’s a radical shift from their previous incarnation as Viewer: then, Tim Wright and AB Johnson would play concise, danceable pop songs, bursting with pithy social commentary, in front of eye-popping psychedelic visuals. Stereoscope play long, heavy, mid-tempo dirges built on repetition, with introspective and often deeply despondent lyrics in front of black and white videos of rivers and pavements. And they have a live drummer, which lends a whole new kind of aural dynamic to their performances. It helps that Martell James is a seriously good drummer, hard hitting and with precision timing.

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Stereoscope

They’re not going for the mass market here. And yet, ultimately, I prefer this. With Stereoscope, it’s clear they’re dredging deep into the depths of their innermost dark places. Johnson contorts himself into impossibly angular shapes as he wrings the angst from the corners of his slender frame. Immediately accessible, it isn’t, but with a slow-building intensity they grind their way through a powerful set that reaches its final destination: with the emergence of light and colour, it’s ultimately uplifting.