65daysofstatic (Decomposition Theory) and Johanna Bramli – 24th November 2018 – Gateshead Sage
By Gordon Armstrong (G’s Gig Shots)
The evening begins with Johanna Bramli taking the stage and delivering a mesmerising 30 minute set of musical soundscapes from an array of keyboards, samplers, a theremin and other electronic gadgets. Joanna created a layer upon layer utilising all the technology but also with her voice giving it an ethereal feel over sounds of thunder created by her fingertips and samples of conversations all being held together with hypnotic beats, drones and accompanying visual projections! Check out her EP Spirals but better still see her live to get the full effect.
Between set changes there are constant sound bites and snippets of tunes of various genres, not just your usual “playlist“ of similar artists and I believe that this was a deliberate part of the evening to set you up for what was about to happen.
65daysofstatic are currently breaking down all barriers of the “gig” perception with their Decomposition Theory tour (read our interview about the tour here). Lit only by the glow of their laptop screens or the flicker of light from the projections behind them the emphasis is definitely on the music being created as there are literally only shadows moving between instruments and computers during the performance. Below you’ll find a photo of a piece of text handed out before the show explaining what they have set out to do, the reason being I think it best coming from the horse’s mouth. This isn’t through laziness on my part I just think I may not do it justice! It’s hard to review something so unique where there is no right or wrong, no bum notes or missed favourites.
Performing as a three piece tonight 65daysofstatic have an outline for each piece and the screens show the coding as it develops along the way and at times the audience aren’t sure where the piece has ended and whether to applaud yet or not (much to the amusement of the band and audience).
There are still those crushing guitar and drum moments but they are mixed with electronic beats, creating patterns of sound that just pull you in and demand your attention. Towards the end of the evening’s performance the rhythmic coding projection changes to flashes of images then single words as the track builds and builds giving me the feeling of having donned my sunglasses in John Carpenters They Live and seeing the subliminal messages!
Even in the near total darkness of the Sage, you can see that the band are thoroughly enjoying this freedom onstage to break away from the expected. With a wave a smile and a thumbs up they’re gone and we are all left to our own take on what we just saw. I said to a friend “I think I’ve just seen an unreviewable event“ and I meant it in a good way, as I was totally engrossed by each twist and turn.
I felt the whole night – the pre-performance music, the support and 65DOS – came over as one whole aural installation, if that makes sense and I’d definitely visit the gallery to “view” it again.
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