OMGPHIL! And others @ Phoenix Bar, Exeter – Friday 28th
Like some weird party from the late eighties, Japanese FX on the wall and all, Friday night at Exeter is definitely a place for people who feel the world is just too small for their over imaginative brains. It comes together like a puzzle which just doesn't fit right. The night (compared and headlined by George Lazenbleep) is full of experimentalism, electro, bleeps and noises from the dead.
First up we have someone who likes to make effects with his guitar and then loop them on top of each other until a wall of noise fills your ears for ten minutes. Whatever floats your boat. Next up at least there's a concept, but it makes you think "why?" So: strap a pair of microphones to your ears and then record whatever you're hearing. On this occasion it's the noise of a storm. It might have been arty and extreme while Duran Duran were topping the charts but tonight the word 'pretentious' comes to mind, especially when the noise itself kicks in. According to the conductor you don't get the full feeling for it unless you're listening to it through headphones, but I don't think anyone would tell the difference. Some real hard effects must have been used because all I could hear was 'SHHOOOOOOOO' for the whole time.
Time for something more wholesome and meaty. Whoops! Spoke too soon. A dead squid is brought out on a silver tray and has two crocodile clips put into it. They are then connected to a box with a few knobs on it, which then gets attached to a laptop. Not too sure about the technicalities but apparently the squid conducts the electricity, bending its pitch and tone while it does it. Then it is picked up by the laptop and played to a curious audience. The fact that again the overall product makes no sense seems irrelevant, and the fact that everyone was crowding round, staring at this dead squid (almost as if they expected it to burst out singing or come back to life) is funny retrospectively. And that last word pretty much sums up the whole night.
Everything here is pretty retro, and none more so than gigging virgin OMGPHIL! who makes music using old school Gameboys and looping systems. With a lo-fi set- up he wins the award for most tuneful of the night. Making self styled 'emotronica' and electro, fused with classic 80s futuristic noises his music really fills up the room with a dace feeling. You can imagine 30,000 watts of this stuff pumping out of a Glastonbury dance tent at one in the morning. For the first time in the evening he gets Lazenbleep moving in the corner and his posse of adoring fans cheers at every opportunity. Described by a member of the crowd as "mouthwash to the ears", it seems a fitting description for the whole night.