From full-blown zoomorphic nightmares to trippy found sounds and good old guitar impro, the first sonic meeting of Embarker (US) and Dead Gum (GR) in London kicked off their joint European tour with a (few) bang(s).
Kostis Kilymis picked up on the repetitive electronic noise motif on his mixer, reflecting an impending urban doom with quasi-military conviction. His sober, head-on minimal approach stuck to its guns throughout, and though the set didn't seem to last long, it made its point.
It was Dead Gum, his back to the audience throughout the hole set, that made the only attempt to create something close to proper songs with his guitar, lyrics and hauntingly mesmeric visions of a riff...The word "proper" here translating to anything from troubled, antisocial feedback to humorously psychedelic recordings (the imaginary guests of the line up). Taking the freshly released GAINER on the road for the first time, he faithfully abused his trademark noise impro, this time moulding it into rather more accessible shapes and forms - and tracks like Regain and Dare quickly caught on.
Embarker (aka Michael Roy Barker) traveled from Philadelphia to join Dead Gum (aka Panagiotis Spoulos) on a tour that, after London, takes them to Utrecht, Paris, Bilbao and Athens, to name a few. Nonchalantly taking his place behind a table full of mingled spaghetti wires, he was rather inhabited by the spirit of a mad scientist attacking his mixer instead of a giant pipe organ, channeling unsettling noise on his way to absolute sovereignty. The chaotic collage (which, in Embarker's other projects, is accompanied by also chaotic or dreamy visuals) was cut through in between with inspired moments of awkward make-believe: "I'll have to come back tomorrow", he declared. He later walked down to the audience to leave us his lamp - possibly with a view to see us partake in his moments of illumination.
It was four short sets, one clear message: On this tour, you never quite know what to expect, but it'll definitely drill into your senses.
Text and photography by Danai Molocha.