Embarker, Dead Gum, Kostis Kilymis, Autotistika @ Power Lunches

Regaining ground


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
The Power Lunches basement opened its doors after 8 to welcome a line-up put together by Organized Music from Thessaloniki, including Kostis Kilymis (who runs the Organized Music from Thessaloniki music label) and Autotistika (aka Michael Rodham-Heaps). It was Autotistika and his variety of sonic paraphernalia who took over first, setting the tone with a spooky godlike mask and lingering loops, veering from playful childlike innocence to fully-grown rhythmical attacks. If there was any feeling of constraint in the tiny space to start with, the hypomanic drones gave this parallel mirrored universe a matching soundtrack - rendered more haunting by the mumblings of prerecorded voices.
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.

Dead Gum

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.

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