23 Nov 1994
|Tour by LFO and Autechre|
|Location||121 Holborn, EC1N 2TD, London, England|
|Supporting acts||Nightmares On Wax, James Lavelle, Mark Broom|
The event was also advertised in The Guardian (London (UK)) 19 Nov 1994, page 33 of The Guide, their music gig listings for the week.
IN PURSUIT OF ABANDON... by Paul Mathur
IF YOU want to know the truth, our man Ian Gittins got it spot on in his Sabres review last week when he wrote about fuzzy cab rides and lost weekends, good drugs and that life-affirming pursuit of abandon. Sort of "carpe diem" on heat with double vision to the soundtrack of colliding volcanoes. Transcendence with knobs on.
So, there's plenty of us here who woke up, snorted the coffee and recognised that liking this music didn't demand that we cast aside rock's raggedy thrills. Sure, an element of discernment isn't likely to go amiss (you can't glassily adore Pearl Jam, The Orb AND Frank Black unless you've been involved in some sort of debilitating juggernaut-related accident), but an appreciation of the modern dance doesn't exactly require stabilisers. It's fun. Trust me.
Although the trancey brouhaha has invaded the populist mindset, the difficulties of communicating what is essentially a courageously faceless creative gesture continue to obliterate any real need for a live "performance".
Baffled as to whether we're participating or observing, we spend half the time diving into the elliptic daze, the other half mumbling doubts about whether there's any point in yanking the anonymous elegance of vinyl towards a drama-free exercise in mute boffinry. Tonight, the doubts do their darndest to smother the pleasure, particularly since every act onstage consider the distracted rearranging of valves and wires to be the very height of Nineties entertainment. Sounds to blow your mind, but visual activity better suited to a Sunday afternoon in the garden shed. They potter around, then tinker a bit.
Ever optimistic, a gaggle of us stare at the stage, convinced deep down that someone's going to pop out of a cake of something. Eventually, Autechre stumble into the middle of the hypnosis to make their point about how if you do a record without strictly repetitive beats in each bar you can bring down the government or something. Ten minutes in, and old-fashioned concepts like vigour, engagement, pleasure and — to Autechre's apparent satisfaction — tunes, are but a distant memory. Several of us are simultaneously and inexplicably reminded of Preston bus station. Fearing dementia, we run off to watch some paint dry. Autechre plod on until the man from the glue factory arrives.
LFO's initials stand for Low Frequency Oscillation, something to do with plugs and lightbulbs apparently. Like you give a shit, right? They elaborate slightly more sturdily than Autechre on why Warp Records has, over the past few years, been one of the most consistently thrilling and frustratingly underrated labels in the country. Unfortunately, they too (like just about ever dance act, save for the Blessed Trinity of Sabres, Underworld and Finitribe) determinedly deny us any visual stimulation. It's like watching the radio.
Warp's splendid press officer assures me that "the spectacle is all inside your head", so I close my eyes and wobble about for a bit on the fluffy pillows of sound scattered around the place. I almost see what she means.
Mo' Wax's mighty James Lavelle spins some records, heaps of noises remind us how to forget everything but the panache of living for the present and some bands explain why that live video remains bolted to the back burner. We nod reassuringly, and leg it off to bob about like billy-o.
Next thing it's noon.
- Mathur, P. (1994) "LFO, Autechre: Leisure Lounge, London". Melody Maker.