Friday, July 06, 2007

NuSphere collaboration at 491 Gallery

Up in Avebury recently, Dave Prentice mentioned an EdensoundS party he was going to be playing at in East London on Sunday 1st July. Dave makes an eclectic range of dance music under the name NuSphere. We've attempted a little bit of electronic-saz fusion in the past, so we agreed to try playing a live set for this occasion. The venue was the 491 Gallery in Leytonstone, a squatted property which describes itself as a "nonprofit sustainable community regeneration art project". I'd not been in that part of London since the days of the M11 protest, and hadn't been to a squatted community centre since visiting St. George's Church back in the spring of 2005, so it seemed well worth checking out.

I got a series of trains up to Crayford where Dave and I had about half an hour to run through the set in his tiny studio room (mostly so I could have some idea what key each track was in). Then there was a mad rush involving more trains and buses, but we made it in time.

We were meant to be playing at 2pm, and I'd imagined this was a kind of 'Sunday chill-out session'; in fact, it turned out to be the aftermath of an all-night party, so most people had gone by then, and those that remained were largely asleep, or pretty 'mashed' (as they say these days).

EdensoundS flyer

This was just as well, I've since realised, on listening back to the recording. There was this strange time-delay effect I still can't quite understand. I plugged into the Dave's laptop and my saz came out through the PA sounding great, but it was as if the sound was reaching my ears faster than it would unamplified. And that seems impossible. Surely the process of amplification should involve some slight time delay – but it was if there was a reverse time delay. I'd play a note or chord, and it would be audible a fraction of a second sooner than I intended. The only way I can account for this would be that all my previous uses of amplification have involved a split-second time delay, so I've learned to compensate by playing notes just slightly earlier than I normally would (apparently, playing on huge pipe organs, there's quite a significant time lag, so that's really challenging). And somehow, this amplification setup had a considerably reduced time delay, so my compensation resulted in a consistent mistiming of my notes throughout the set. Listening back, it's like I was recorded on a separate track, which was then shifted back slightly. The strange thing is that I don't really remember struggling with this at the time – I got quite into it after the first track (Dave was having technical problems, and a central sample which set the key of the piece was replaced by something in an entirely different key, which created a bit of a problem for me), and remember feeling quite loose and in the groove. Fortunately, none of the couple of dozen people present (many sprawled on cushions asleep or half-asleep) was in any state to really notice this. And perhaps it's more noticeable to me because it's my playing.

Anyway, it felt like we’d done something really good, and we resolved to do more. There's a new trance label whose owner has approached Dave with a view to release some NuSphere material, and a psy-trance festival in Surrey sometime this summer (linked to last year's Psychedelic Beach Ball) where he'll be playing, possibly with a bit of my saz playing thrown in...

Certain tracks (the dubbier and trancier ones) seemed to work better than others, so we could take that into consideration.

If we can just sort this time delay business out, I think could lead to some really interesting creative output.

Despite the problems described, I've extracted a few excerpts from our set, included as part of a general collection:

Listen Here


Anonymous Audra said...

Well said.

7:49 PM  

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