Sunday, 27 December 2009

excuses that have lost their way

Diamonds On A Boat from Nicholas Audsley on Vimeo.

Forty nine chalk farm road. The scene of many a legend. Falling down stairs, forgotten conquests, drunken despair, unlikely meetings with radio legends and faded pop stars and stage invasions. A few thursdays back I overground my way along the lock, past Morrisons, shivering my way past the bouncer and indie kid queue into wide-eyed hellos with the girl in the red-dress. Aquila Rose. She was there to to throw questions at the feet of Samuel and the Dragon. You should understand this is all a few steps removed.

We rush up the stairs after a guestlist disaster, swiftly rectified. I always forget the name of the guy who often works the doors, the occasional freebies due to sharing first-year uni happy days with his sister a distant memory. His name is the same as mine.

The Barfly sits on a pedestal in my mind, sadly the programming is not what it was. Or somehow my tastes have evolved. Carling has been usurped by Tuborg though, some things have changed for the better. The backdrop for the night was x-posure, the XFM show powered by the unrelenting enthusiasm of John Kennedy. Samuel and the Dragon were first on the bill and swiftly set about transforming the upstairs room. The vibe was dubstep quasar led by a beautifully deranged prince. The projections throughout made me feel like I was in an air vent on the set of a BBC sci-fi com turned screensaver. I can't express the feeling I have about his hair, it defies description. Diamonds on a Boat was the first track to shower the room with anticipatory ripples and melancholy foreboding.

It tastes like candy floss encased in shimmering platinum bombshells. Thrown up in the air, you mistakenly expect it to plummet like a tonne-weight. A smattering of moments retain that impact and just as your head is locking and lurching into that dirty dancefloor nod, the waves part and feathers fall like raindrops. Freeze-frame.

I shudder like a boxer dodging a sharp left, choking back the sweat, celebrating a tiny, fragile victory. The bass lingers though, a dirty telltale fading out near the two minute mark before the beat comes back with a vengeance, a swift right rising up to send me crashing to the floor of the ring. Call for the trainer.

My head's spinning now, I'm seeing stars and hearts, tense little phosphenes telling of love burrow under my skin, lost to that heady helpless tumbling. The whole mirage gets shattered by a lairy Belfast native moaning about sound problems. I actually thought dear Sam was miming his way through the opening salvo. Given the the theatrical nature of his performance, I do not think I would have minded especially, had that been the truth. Trying to wow an audience when the mountains of headliner equipment beside him clearly restricted his movement wasn't easy. I still felt something though.

The flipside to the latest gem on the Moshi Moshi production line is called Rising Up. At this point, the vocal brings Chris Martin to mind. A Chris Martin who found the/his balls to lend his dulcet tones to murky electronic soundscapes.

Samuel and the Dragon - Rising Up

Hold on a second. That actually happened. Pity such dabblings never became regular.

Faultline - Where is My Boy?

Back to Aquila. More than meets the eye with this one. Journalistic tendencies with inspired flight and VICE aside, she turns out dark little pockets of poetry and song. They sparkle like rough diamonds on the black market. Unrefined still, that's no bad thing. The outside world seeps in through the window whilst she's sneaking out the back door.

Whilst Samuel only needs to sigh and glower to hint at some ineffable sadness, Aquila's plate-smashingly soulful blend of vulnerability and bitter jealousy has the power to get hungover hips shaking as well as providing a perfect soundtrack to midsummer afternoon adultery. Dolo brings the fireworks to amp this one up, before spiking my drink with lies, closing off all escape routes and bolting the door behind him.

Aquila Rose - My Love is Not True (Dolo remix)

So let's conclude. This pair. Both fuelled by the desire to fuse emotion and feeling to crisp electronics that blow hot and cold whilst locking you in dynamic circular embraces. This synthesis tends to happens at the lower, fuzzier end of the sonic spectrum, a sensory shapeshift with enough hooks to save you from falling into the abyss. Samuel currently has the edge and a solid grasp of listener's heartstrings, testament to the laptop craft of his dragon. I get the feeling Aquila is worth keeping tabs on though, her way with words outshines Samuel with ease.

Somebody's gonna dub this genre soon. I can't be fucked to give it a name.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Brilliantly written piece.. absolutely love Samuel & the Dragon..mesmerising... and thanks for the heads up on Aquila.