I Speak Machine
- Double Echo
Tonight’s affair is slightly unusual in its set-up: replacing the usual writhing, sweaty mass of bodies are candlelit tables for two. No romantic dinner is served up, though; and the music on offer is as dark and brooding as the room itself, channelling the spirit of all the greatest elements of the alternative scenes of the 80s. But there are no dodgy moustaches or shoulder pads, just a tirade of hard-hitting music and film.
First up is gothic-Scouse trio DOUBLE ECHO. Playing their own brand of dark post-punk and electro, the three-piece smash through a well-established back catalogue with audience applause deafened by sonic buzz. The 80s revivalists’ music is an amalgamation of influences with resounding influences from Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen and Sisters of Mercy. Lead singer Ash Lerczak bellows his lyrics in a menacing baritone, which resounds over atmospheric reverb-filled guitar solos, whilst Souter’s resonating backing vocal proves sinister. The set is an unforgiving and brutal vortex back in time. It’s a good job the audience are sitting down.
After suitably establishing the mood for the evening, Double Echo make way for I SPEAK MACHINE: a collaboration between analogue synth virtuose Tara Busch and indie filmmaker Maf Lewis. The cinematic double act offer something quite different to the usual, as Busch provides live soundtrack performances to accompany Lewis’ horror and sci-fi shorts. As the duo kick off their UK tour tonight, the crowd are in anticipation of what to expect and let me tell you they are not going to be disappointed.
Providing an assault on the senses, the duo attack you with a wall of sound and vision, proving that music can speak a thousand times louder than words. Lewis’ filmography has a distinctly Hitchcockian and Kubrickesque nature to it. With the works’ ability to create unfathomable tension through often very little actual action, the crowd is on tenterhooks, sitting with bated breath throughout the films. This tension is beautifully complemented by Busch’s haunting melodies and atmospheric soundtracks, created with an array of beautiful analogue synths and a distorted singing pushed with ease through a series of modulation like that of a robotic siren pulling the viewer closer and closer to the terror. With a terrifying box child, a scientist able to remove sound from the world and the attack of Gary Numan’s zombie children (yes, his actual kids!), the crowd are taken on a fluctuating emotional ride through sheer horror, suspense and dark humour.
However, without Busch’s enigmatic and extra-terrestrial performance the films would seem lacking. Tonight proves the catalytic bond that music and film can hold. After the films end, Busch treats us to her own ode to Numan, a cover of Cars. Cleared of its twee retro connotations, Busch re-establishes the true spirit of the song, sampling car accident radio news reports, and in doing so perfectly sums up the evening: black, gloomy but pure genius.