Friday, 21 May 2010

Getting experimental in the East End

Photo by Diamond Geezer

Best laid plans going awry led a long-mooted viewing of the Chris Morris terrorism comedy Four Lions to be missed on Wednesday night. Instead it was time for some experimental music at the OpenLab OpenNight at Bethnal Green Working Man’s Club.

Of the assembled acts utilising open-source software as part of their performance, many bordered on the unlistenable, but at least all showed a willingness to challenge their audience, themselves and in some cases the limits of the human pain threshold. This was not a place for melody or a casual singalong chorus.

The most engaging and traditionally musical crew were the alarmingly-named Cuntbucket, who blended synths, guitar and bass to occasionally thrilling effect, albeit with moments which needed more work. This is obviously no bad thing, though. The idea of the night is about potential and having a progressive attitude rather than producing something more fully formed.

Elsewhere, screeching violins, waves of Underworld synths and a laptop seemingly weeping binary tears after being forced into an arranged marriage with an iPhone all played a role in the evening’s musical offering.

Most intriguing was a “set” from a man named Chris who performs as Popdamage. At this point only witness accounts can be reported (at the time London Liked was deep in thought, staring out over tranquil City Road Basin from the new concrete and steel plateau and steps which lead from the north side of City Road – see photo above).

Popdamage then, comprises a man with a brain scanner and a beach ball. The beach ball is thrown around among audience members, while the brain scanner works with software to create sounds based on the connection between the movement of the beach ball and the brain scans.

Apparently, this progressive and unusual set of instruments failed to work on stage, but later worked for brave audience members who had a go themselves after.

It’s perhaps the first time an artist has tried to combine elements of Clockwork Orange headgear, Kraftwerk and beach volleyball, but must be worth a look in future.