Live Review: Emute Lab 3 at The Rose Hill

Emute Lab 3: Bog Bodies X the Threnoscope + Koray Tahiroglu & Roosa Poni

The Rose Hill, Brighton

Wednesday 13th February, 2019

Brighton’s Rose Hill Tavern saw Bog Bodies bring their signature approach to creating music to its cosy stage. Consisting of tenor saxophone, drums and an electric guitar laden with effects pedals, the short story of this group’s endeavour towards unexplored compositional technique is an interesting one, starting with the group’s formation and collaboration with cinematographer Ben Rowley, who has a technique of covering 16mm film leaders with scratches, paint and applying letraset transfers to the entire strip including the optical soundtrack, in the process creating an abstract moving image that could simultaneously be seen and heard. This concept was widely embraced by the band’s already growing vision of tapping into new soundscapes and exploring ways in which they are created. This fresh approach was exactly what was brought to and delivered through their performance at The Rose Hill Tavern. However, this performance brought the unexpected and pleasant surprise of the sonic trio’s new collaboration with Sussex University head of music Professor Thor Magnusson, whose research into music and computer science and coding have, like Rowley’s on film, allowed him to create and control a world of sound all his own.

Again Bog Bodies unleashed an ever-increasing landscape of sound which bedazzled the ears and eyes of the crowd. The set began with Magnusson’s computer, which was connected to a projector that shone an image of Magnusson’s screen, showing the image of the app of which the professor himself created and named the Threnescope, which at the command of Magnusson’s coding created drones which were simultaneously brought to the screen and speakers. The process was repeated until three moving images and three sub-driven drones sound-rotated, occasionally colliding with each other. The result was a slight difference in the sound and direction of the drone. With this set in place the band slowly crept into performance. The shrill call of saxophonist Robert Stillman and the energetic push of drummer Sean Carpio bringing out a performance and sound that brings to mind artists such as Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, while the echoing effects and bright sounds evoked from the effects-covered playing of guitarist Anders Holst created quite the juxtaposition. Still, with amazing skill and precision, Bog Bodies were able to blend this unique mix and deliver an unforgettable performance.

George Richardson

Robert Stillman, saxophone; Anders Holst, guitar; Sean Carpio, drums, Thor Magnusson, threnoscope.

Photo by Anya Arnold.