A diminutive figure wanders on stage, winds his fists tightly around the microphone, shuts his eyes tight and omits what can only be described as a low growl.
The Brighton leg of the Sound Carrier Network has officially commenced.
Suzuki’s Network, a project by which he invites musicians around the world to be “sound carriers” for his voice, eschews the formality of rehearsals, clear vocals and four-minute songs. Instead, he enlists local bands to improvise on the day and join him in creating a sonic wallpaper of noise.
Suzuki is joined by Feline1, highly-rated local band AK/DK and Ann Shenton from (Add N to (X)). AK/DK are worthy heirs to the Krautrock throne, mostly for their impressive amount of analog instrumentation. The Mellotron and Cat synthesizer, played by Feline1, produce gorgeous sounding bleeps and blips that sound so organic and retro you rue the day Korg was invented. Meanwhile Ann, herself somewhat of an electronic legend, plays a Theramin, which is taped to a bottle crate and placed on top of a stool. Ann waves her hand around the aerial, producing different sound waves and dissonant crashes and crunches. It’s electrifying (and slightly terrifying.)
The songs (by songs I mean lengthy compositions – each one lasting well over fifteen minutes) are indebted to the Krautrock sound – a deluge of textured synths, atmospheric beats and dirgy basslines. Each song builds and builds, going through different key changes and time signatures that sometimes your brain struggles to keep up with the onslaught of sound.
Leading the improvisational melee is Suzuki, who seemingly has a touch of lycanthropy since his indecipherable vocals are complimented by growls, barks and other non-human sounds. It’s unclear whether he’s singing in Japanese or English, but that doesn’t matter since his mere presence is captivating enough. With each dynamic twist in the music he jerks his head and body to one side, throwing sounds into the microphone, gripping onto it as if life depended on it. It really is unlike any other gig I’ve seen – the sheer assault of sounds left me slightly giddy, but in a good way.
By creating an open and collaborative approach to music, Damo and his Sound Carriers are leading the pack when it comes to live performance. What he lacks in feet and inches he certainly makes up for in ideas.