Review of performance at Counting Backwards

Last week I gave an improvised performance using turntables, objects and environmental sound for Counting Backwards, a regular night of text, sound and performance in Manchester. I also improvised with Chris Gladwin who’d played as The Wyrding Module, an electronic doom project. Below is an extract from a review by Tom Jenks from The Other Room, an experimental poetry night also in Manchester. (You can read the full review here.)

“Graham Dunning began the evening. His set up was reasonably traditional: three turntables linked together, a series of records to hand. What he did with this set up, however, was altogether more surprising and interesting. He started by producing a series of percussive sounds, not by using the turntables, but by using the lid of each deck: slapping it with the flats of his hands or the heels of his hands and opening and shutting the lids. These sounds were recorded, looped and layered, producing a sound like dripping water or a roomful of crazed clocks. A static hiss was then introduced, then a crackle and the dripping water became rain upon a roof. As the soundscape became more densely populated, the feel became more subterranean: the rumble of underground trains or the landslips of the inner ear. I heard these things too: scrapyard noises of machines dismantling other machines; forest winds; poltergeists; possessions. A warped disc was then placed on one of the turntables whose clicks and scratches created a sporadic anti-rhythm: the scampering of mice or a stick being rattled along railings. Magnets were dropped onto the central turntable: the thud of objects falling from aircraft. Snatches of music drifted by, sometimes oompah band, other times lift music. A cymbal was placed on the central deck and through amplification and distortion became a Chinese gong when a metal object stuck or was allowed to strike it. A microphone was introduced, capturing a stray cough from Dunning before being hung out of the window, bringing in traffic noises and the ambient crosstalk of smokers below into the space, breaking the hermetic seal. These sounds looped, echoed, constellated and decayed as if heard through a haze of fever. More music suggested itself, this time what sounded like the sort of music a Scottish dance band might play if someone had spiked their fish suppers with acid. All in all, a very beautiful noise.”

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