Friday, April, the 17th
Via Berthollet 13 - Torino
h23.00 - €5
Vessel (Tri Angle,Uk)
Everyone enjoys their own noise, and we're all curious to hear how, when given the opportunity, our natural ability to create noise might sound as it rings in our ears. Often this innate form of expression can materialize into learning an instrument or honing a vocal skill, but not so for Sebastian Gainsborough. The Bristol native's Vessel project remains fixated on the possibilities of making and arranging his own noise, using the forms of dub and techno like a means to his esoteric ends instead of the impetus itself.
Released in 2012 through the increasingly experimental Tri Angle label, Gainsborough's debut album was conspicuously titled Order of Noise. But referring to him as a " noise artist" or calling his music " noise-techno" wouldn't be entirely accurate, even if he does paint with many of the same grim colors. Order of Noise was more gauzy and mystical as it took on the producer's hometown sounds, as trip-hop, dubstep, and industrial were dissected and used as decorative references in its treacherous, fog-choked landscape. Ultimately, this worked best when Gainsborough was simply showing off his handiwork in well-crafted environments; any notion of moving through the space felt faint and illusory. For his second Tri Angle LP, Gainsborough's made another noise-specific techno record beholden to his remarkably generative skills with sound manipulation. His reliance on homespun methods of fabricating instruments gives Punish, Honey a distinctively raw and tactile identity.
The 2013 EP Misery Is a Communicable Disease provides a better entry point to Punish, Honey than the cabalistic Order of Noise. The first full-blown iteration of stark, mechanically inclined techno that Gainsborough put to his name, the EP's three tracks accosted the listener with an unforgiving clamor, entirely unexpected from the Bristolian at the time. Punish, Honey comes across like that, too, and in much the same way. Gainsborough's source materials sound crude and primitive, like the din of reverb around each knotty crack of percussion is drawn from the cold, dry cave dwelling it was recorded in. He distills those prehistoric qualities into a fuel for the stone-grinding engine inside each incessant bassline and crushing stomp of a kick drum. Occasionally, Gainsborough takes a break from the machinery and tosses a few handfuls of granite dust into the air so we can watch it sparkle. Punish, Honey may not be the most hospitable of environments, but there's always a fascinating display working in its shadows.
The album is best taken as a document of unparalleled noise creation, an inconceivable world made from the everyday objects around us; Gainsborough has outdone himself here in terms of mastering this predominate craft. In this context, however, noise isn't everything, and structural refinement doesn't seem to be a priority for Gainsborough. Most of Punish, Honey pushes a sense of melody that—whether due to the instruments making the sounds, or the outsider mentality of the producer himself—is inherently off. The nauseous moans of " Red Sex" and " Euoi" 's whiny racket become less palatable with each turn on the carousel that makes up Gainsborough's debased techno. This infatuation with musical " wrong" -ness is a defining characteristic across the nine-track LP, so it's unfortunate that necessary counterbalances (compelling arrangement, emotional arc, memorable hooks) aren't consistently utilized.
Perhaps such criticisms are of no concern to Gainsborough, though, because his approach does work staggeringly well when each disheveled factor is in alignment. " Drowned in Water and Light" recalls the full-moon majesty that made Order of Noise so alluring, rendering that haunted splendor aside lumbering rhythms and seismic heaves. The centerpiece of Punish, Honey, " Anima" , sets a Suicide-sourced synth pattern against swarms of ghostly detritus, rolling drums, and omnipresent organ chords, a claustrophobic production that works because you feel it shift and expand while it churns. " Kin to Coal" operates on similar gears, but is fashioned in a lean, sinewy way with jackhammers and hacksaws. Unquestionably, Gainsborough's sonic ingenuity continues to be his greatest asset; his growth as an artist hinges on accepting that others can't always enjoy his noise as much as he does.
ASTORIA OCÙLTA // February - May 2015 //
Abele & Caino