Mute and Mute Song artists took over the IKLECTIK Art Lab near London’s Waterloo on Friday 20 May 2022 for a night of electronic music adventures.
Alexander Tucker’s MICROCORPS project offered faltering, industrial beats that usually formed out of a noisy, joyous sprawl of rapidly switched patch cables, over which he was prone to howl processed, wordless missives. An element of surprise dominated Tucker’s set, with sounds and rhythms cutting out suddenly just as you’d figured out how to shuffle along. A final segment found Tucker accelerating a beat so harshly that it rapidly left gabba territory and more than likely broke Moby’s ‘Thousand’ record with its pacing before abruptly stopping.
Simon Fisher Turner presented nowhereyet, his sounds – inchoate melodies, processed cello, clamorous beats – set to a slideshow of London photographs by Sebastian Sharples. There was something eerie about Sharples’ photos, appearing to show a mostly empty, lockdown-era vision of the capital. We cross-cross from Spitalfields to the bombed-out sanctuary of St. Dunstan in the-East; from monolithic skyscrapers to snow-covered residential streets; from Canary Wharf construction to a deserted Bond Street. Fisher Turner’s music seemed to carry the same sort of alien, mournful sparseness; it’s as if the sounds and images, to paraphrase the enquiry ‘if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?’, pondered the question as to whether a place devoid of its people can still be considered a place at all.
Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones resurrected their occasional Sunroof collaboration for a celebrated collection of modular synth improvisations, released last year as Electronic Music Improvisations Vol. 1. For their Iklectik set, they were seated opposite one another in a manner reminiscent of Marcel Duchamp and John Cage’s 1968 chess game, the board and its pieces replaced by innumerable boxes of flashing lights and tangles of coloured cables. In contrast to the pieces on their album, the set was intensely rhythmic, with grids of spare, almost skeletal beats instead of carefully-wrought, sinewy sequences. Miller and Jones have been friends and sonic adventurers together since 1982 and the symbiosis between them as they teased rhythms and patterns from their kit without ever seeming to communicate with one another was a testament to that enduring partnership.
The evening was interspersed with DJ sets from Nik Colk Void, ranging from juddering techno through to a memorable after-hours moment where she dropped Mudhoney’s socially-undistanced anthem, ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’.
See Sebastian Sharples’ photos of the night at Instagram.
Words and bad photos: Mat Smith
(c) 2022 Documentary Evidence