Constructed from the simple elements of one-chord riffs, oscillator drone and live drums, Minit (Jasmine Guffond and Torben Tilly) built an effective pyschedelic escalator from simple elements. Songs emerged and receded through a discreet otherworldly hypno-monotone, seething and eventually exploding with motorik pulse. Culminating in a cover of Joy Division’s Atmosphere, stripped back to bass and beaten cymbals and augmented with the odd whoosh of unruly electronics, their set held the capacity audience spellbound.
Peter Kember, a.k.a Sonic Boom, a.k.a Spectrum, formerly one third of Spacemen 3, teased the audience with a public retuning of the guitar then stationed himself behind a wobbling table of vintage electronics. Opening with a song without words, dedicated to Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics, which had enough zoom and pulse to secure the audience’s undivided attention. This segued seemlesy into a cover of Laurie Anderson’s hypnotic Walking & Falling, confirming that tonight he was intent on exploring the more electronic aspects of his oeuvre.
Despite the guitar’s absence there was no doubt that the euphoric swells and lulls, motoric pulses and drones, that were elicited from these mixers, sequencers, samplers and keyboards bore a distinctly psychedelic, pre-dance, edge. What might have risked becoming a dialogue between one man, his Gitannes and table full of patch cables, was saved from introspection by vocals reverbed somewhere past the outer edge of dub.
The performance was modest, at times almost an anti-performance but delivered good humouredly, as Kember acknowledged the audience’s enthusiasm with a thumbs up and the promise to be back later in the year with a full band.
For the first of two encores the motorik-rhetoric of Suicide’s Che was given a work over. Its haunted non-sequitors sounding almost as smacked out as Vega and Rev’s original. This was followed by Red Crayola’s Transparent Radiation (a Spacemen 3 standard) laconically played on the guitar, here making its first and only appearance of his set.
The rapturous audience managed to secure a further return to the stage but as Kember explained, the problem with old drum machines is that they have a tendency to discharge their memory, a problem that on this occasion even Doctor iPod could not fix. A shout of “We don’t need any drums” from the audience, provoked a smile and a shrug and Kember joked that he had Hawkwind’s silver machine trapped inside his little black box – but warned us not to have too many expectations. The simple, modal dronescape that ensued provided a modest but fitting finale.