4/18/2018

Controversy, Conspiracy and Community

"You've just come at the right time. We're having a bit of a party. Do you like... you know what?"

Some people claim their music can heal you of your ailments. Some people describe their music as entertainment. Those are bold and dangerous claims. Instead, I'd like to offer you a night of music that will both nourish you and make you feel slightly uncomfortable in your own skin. Served up with an extra-large portion of dry ice, drones, ritualistic grooves, minimalist complexity, and divine chaos:

With performance therapy from Mad Pride troubadours The Ceramic Hobs. They did it their way. And they still do!

Raw, fragile, ritualistic pop aestheticism from Vukovar: conjuring vast sonic landscapes out of the bare bones of an ultra-minimalistic Post-Punk.

And The Mekano Set plan to bring a mix of dark electrickery, drones, bass and soundscapes. Probably. 

Dead Radio DJs will play a nourishing mix of deep cuts throughout the night: left-field outrider post-everything grooves, darkened skylines, novelty records, answerphone messages and 1960s TV theme tunes. Expect to hear The Prisoner, The Pink Panther, Ivor Cutler, Swans, Killing Joke, pagan voodou, Morricone and more.

Thursday 19th April at the brilliant 81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool.

It's recommended that you buy tickets in advance as there's strictly limited capacity: 





The last time we played with Vukovar the night almost got pulled. The bar staff were concerned that it was going to be some sort of dodgy Neo-Folk bash (Vukovar were performing with Rose McDowall who has worked with a variety of people on the Post-Industrial avant-garde scene). 

Rose is a vocal anti-fascist. But I was a little worried that there might be one or two swastika lickers in the audience. The kind of “I'm not political but...” dudes who feel somehow duty bound to bore you to tears: they'll tell you how their SS uniform is actually a very expensive replica that was used in some film in the 1980s; they'll tell you that swastikas are a positive symbol actually, and that it's not cool that you spilled your drink over their expensive replica SS uniform, because it was used in this film that came out in the 1980s...). These dudes “don’t’ judge” but their Talking At You quickly tends towards over-population, how certain social (ethnic) groups are a burden on society and shouldn’t be allowed to have children, and how it’s a form of social injustice that women don’t go for Nice Guys like them.

You only have to take a quick look at our twitter or facebook to see where we stand politically, philosophically etc. Call a bigot a bigot, and steer well clear. You can't save them. Don't give them an inch or they'll make a dramatic mountain out of it. And then bar you from climbing it, or going round it. And then express outrage when you show no interest in wanting to climb or go around it.

And at the end of the day, we Anarcho Romantic Situationist Fourth Way Feminist Sonic Explorers do have more fun. 

Anyway, the band and Rose were just incredible and the crowd were lovely. The night blew me away and I'm still not over it. As we all said at the time: why the hell isn’t this our Friday night out, every week?

It's been really refreshing to play with bands that are influenced by more than just the usual, unavoidable run-of-the-mill music. That's twice we've played Maguire's with bands that are doing something brave and eclectic (the night we played with Venusian / Cynthia's Periscope / OLA was equally inspiring); Bands that understand that Punk isn’t just about macho men with expensive guitars, and that experimentation can include melody and narrative as much as a lack of structure, objective or groove. Bands that have been a pleasure to work with at a time when we've been operating in uncertain times, on zero energy with zero confidence. Maguire’s just isn’t the right venue for it.

Vukovar work a sonic alchemy out of the minimum of ingredients: drums, bass, voices and a sliver or two of synth. Less gear than your average rock band. No effects. No massive amps. No vintage guitars.

Some bands have the ability to create or change atmosphere before they've even played a note. From the moment they start playing (or rather, take to the stage to the near-silence of equipment malfunctions). Something was happening. Something willowy and uncertain, with a hint of danger shining in the glare of a caged trouble light. 

Musically, a band always seems to stand out when there's an element missing. Vukovar don't have a guitarist. They don't need one. With just one voice and two drums they conjure more atmosphere than your average band manage with an entire Shoegaze Starter Kit of several thousand pounds worth of bespoke, overpriced neo-vintage analogue gear.

Where most bands mine the Post-Punk period for elements that have become played out, tiresome and cliche' (the cargo cult of bluesy pre-punk guitar riffage, posturing, the leathers, the noodling folk metal guitar filigrees, the snobbyness, the panto-metal leanings of the worst Sisters albums etc.), Vukovar have embraced the mystery, the dynamics, the minimalism and expansiveness of Coil, Nurse With Wound, The Virgin Prunes, early Psychic TV and T.G. But crucially, they also lyricism and melody as elements to embrace as equally as silence, chaos, tension and release.

Vukovar are a coiled spring. The adaptability and intensity of the beat and bass - a real creative rhythm section (no plodding, no flash, no needless self-indulgence or unnecessary frills), such a rare thing nowadays. The raw vulnerability. Brutalism as mechanism for the generation of something sacred. 

So continuing onwards and upwards (and two doors to the left) with the deep-cuts /leftfield / no-filler vibe: this next one is taking place in the amazing live room at 81 Renshaw! The room has a really excellent sound system and the staff always make us feel really welcome. So we're really looking forward to this one.






Meanwhile, here's some random snaps:




Spotted our CD in an genuine Record Store was pretty awesome. Next to Le Tigre no less!





















6/29/2017

Things get weird with The Mekano Set: Emotion Wave 9 = Liverpool 81 Renshaw Street


Saturday night show was sublime, refreshing and a load of fun. 81 Renshaw is one of Liverpool's hidden gems: a perfectly sized live room with a great sound system, hidden away behind an unassuming, un-hipsterish cafe and brilliant record store full of Post-Punk, Psych, Hawkwind and cool Jazz on vinyl. Emotion Waves is a night devoted purely to adventurous, contemporary electronic music - and that's as far as restrictive genres go.

Emotion Wave's crew were so welcoming and their pure love of music / sound / noise was immediately apparent. They're putting on nights for the love of music, not their own egos, opinions or posturing. There was no sense of competition or info-dumping. 

We did a fairly chilled set including a couple of songs from our brand-new CD. I mean, chilled for us. So it was still a bit disturbing. And Rachela, our secret weapon materialized for the last song (the still un-released, still evolving NotNow) for a ritualistic dance to finish things off in style.  I haven't listened to the recording yet but there's a link at the bottom of this post.

It was genuinely enjoyable (even if I was a bit very under-rehearsed). The on-stage sound was nicely balanced, I could hear our sound echoing in the room with a real sense of... spaciousness. Or something.

Even the moment when I completely messed up the beat of a song, rendering it completely unrecognisable and us unable to find the groove to sing became something genuinely funny and entertaining. "This is for all you lizards out there..." Because as we all know, Pete Price is a Lizard.

Here's a pretty frank and in-depth interview I did for the Emotion Wave show: https://medium.com/@emotionwave/the-mekkano-set-q-a-eed5eab5b0f4

And some ace snaps below thanks to TomyBlue:









6/27/2017

IMAGINARY WEATHER

Imaginary Weather - our latest adventure in sounds and spaces - has entered into the really real world as a rather slick looking Digipack.



https://themekanoset.bandcamp.com/album/imaginary-weather 



It's a strange place to be in now it's all done and dusted. It's been a massively productive twelve months (and more). I've learned so much and it feels like we're better able than ever to realize the sounds in our heads. 

Imaginary Weather - to my ears at least - manages to include all of our essential ingredients: the cinematic vibe, the drones and extra-demnsional noises, the heavyweight grooves and the glimpses of dawn through a smeared windscreen. It's very "cinematic" according to some early adopters.

So we should probably take a well earned rest. I'm having days where I'm not doing anything which is really out of character for me. I feel like it's a good sign to not just be diving into the next project. But we've also been rehearsing - jamming / remixing a set of songs from now and then, and working on a couple of new ideas. A couple of really great collaborations in the works too.

We have a really exciting gig coming up on Saturday. Here's an interview I did with the night's organisers which was a lot of fun:

https://medium.com/@emotionwave/the-mekkano-set-q-a-eed5eab5b0f4




https://themekanoset.bandcamp.com/album/imaginary-weather

https://themekanoset.bandcamp.com/album/imaginary-weather 


 We're playing live on Saturday 25 June: Emotoin Wave @ 81 Renshaw Street


 



2/14/2017

Dystopian Daze


We never dreamed that the future would look like this. A new age of superstition, scapegoats, victim blaming and the currency of fear. Misanthropes and xenophobes and greed guide the fate of nations. Freedoms reduced and no good can ever come of that. Nationalism is a vanity, where vanity is a kind of pride in something you don't really have. What a world.



With my fellow Mekano Set co-conspirators scattered across the planet. Distant transmissions firing off across boarders, received by failing equipment. Uncertainty. Things lost in translation. Words come out all wrong. Everyone being pushed, tested, shoved through emotional / intellectual / spiritual grinders. Surviving.

And I waste too much time and energy on negativity. So I must balance that out. I have to put some of that energy into something productive, something positive. It's easy to be angry, it's more challenging to do something with that anger.



So we pushed ourselves and we had a proper night out on Saturday playing with Esa Shields at Dumbulls in Liverpool. We improvized a bit, dusted off Dirty Hand Job and NotNow. We took new song The Diseffect for a spin and finished off our set with an element of surprise: a fire dance that happened unannounced in the middle of the dancefloor.

Rachele conjuring The Mekan -  Photo: Tomy Farrant


I think I got the beats and bass bigger and clearer than ever; my guitar in full deep-space reverse-filth mode; a dash of vocodered cymbal and the addition of some pulsating analog synths and reverby sax from Jez; noise, words and objects by Jewelly MePresents; and wonderful projections from Simon Jones and Projectile Vomit: there were some definite Hawkwind moments I reckon. We just need to find our Lemmy...

It had been a while since we'd done anything live because I'd devoted so much time over the last year to finishing Imaginary Weather. So it was a nice way to celebrate it's completion. It's available now on our bandcamp and will be out on CD, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon etc. soon.




https://www.facebook.com/tomybluePhoto/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155898157908306


Imaginary Weather is available now:




Thanks to Esa Shields for inviting us to play, Dumbulls crew for making us feel welcome, Rachele Cerelli for fire and movements and Chucky for turning up even though her breaks weren't working.

More pics from the event: https://www.facebook.com/pg/tomybluePhoto/photos/?tab=album&album_id=10155898157908306

Some recent pics + videos: https://www.instagram.com/mekanoset/