A mythical aweness natural exists about Node. Trying to get 4 well known producers in the same room to record, let alone play live is a task in itself. The mythical nature is also reinforced by the little media coverage of shifting (what is reported to be) the largest collection of Analogue Synths and Modular racks into one room in the history of Electronic Music (supposedly).
Put what is already known and written aside….just walking into the Royal College Of Music and seeing what is on stage is enough to make the balding, beardy predominantly male audience orgasm from the sight of such hardcore synth porn. (I could be wrong, what few ladies attending I saw, did have hair, but not facial…I cannot and will not comment on their pleasure principles)
As we all know, dreaming of so many wires doesn’t necessarily produce anything of cv and gated note. Tonights performance produced synthscapes from Node’s albums. But it was clear that this wasn’t heavily pre-programmed to copy cat perfection, with a heavy amount of live improvisation
Ed Buller produced some achingly beautiful ethereal melodies when not sat twiddling infront of his modular system. Dr Dave Bessell supplied minimal guitar in the style you’d expect for this sort of genre, he seemed to be the only noticeable member which had some sort of computer hardware involved in his set up (from what I could make out it was just to create some bass waveform). Mel Wesson seemed to be unfortunately positioned infront of his precariously supported modular, placed on a very cheap shop display rack, which if it had collapsed would have been fatal and much more tragic than any other major artists falls this week. Mel was heavily improvising monophonic synthesis throughout and proving that the lack of presets and pre-programming is an unenvious art form. Laughably there were no flashing sequencer LED’s on Floods modular setup, but he made up for it by turning his rack into a makeshift christmas tree.
Kosmische synthesis rumbling in your ribcage with a huge nod to all those analords of the 60’s and 70’s, the only way this could be better was to turn it up a bit…we got there in the end which made us all want a bit more, along with a comfortable sofa or even better…a bean bag.
You don’t get this sort of stuff live very often these days, the reasons for this are obvious. Less is more in my opinion, I d rather this than laptop synthesis.
Tonight leaves me asking two questions which shouldn’t be taken negatively - just to stimulate interesting conversation;
They couldn’t have used everything stage tonight…..so was a lot of it for visual impact?
When you get this amount of Modular Analogue Synthesisers in one room, why is it the only genre that seems to get produced is what can only be described as Progressive Synthetic Kosmische?
Not that I would want it any other way……
(thanks to Neil Fellowes and Paul Boddy for permission to use their fantastic photography)