Dozen Beats 11Edit this event
Following Million Dead's saddening departure from the scene that is sometimes known as "Rock", ex-singer (well, he's still a singer, just not in Million Dead) Frank Turner has been touring incessantly wherever anybody is so kind as to have him, from toilet venues to fan's kitchens. Dozen Beats 11, featuring bassist Julia Ruzicka and latter day MD guitarist Tom Fowler (along with ex-Cars As Weapons drummer Rich Harwood) have taken their time to return, in rather more grandiose style, here at the Curzon cinema, with re-edited clips from Texas Chainsaw Massacre providing narrative in place of a vocalist. Whilst Frank's recent works have been a showcase for his lyrical autobiography set to acoustic guitar, DB11 have been working in a noisier, and, as yet, instrumental direction.
As an audiovisual experience, their performance is pretty basic. Essentially they play three extended, riffing songs over fifteen minutes; an atmospheric introduction as the scene is set with a long held chord wait for pretty obvious visual queues before breaking out some grunting churn to accompany images of characters tied up and terrorised, before breaking into an appropriate stampede for the final escape/chase scene, before playing a few tracks without the film. Musically, its pretty great; despite playing with no PA, it's still wonderfully heavy, bringing to mind Kyuss with slightly more complex timings. Tom takes the opportunity presented by the semi-improvised nature of the situation to showcase some very slightly wanky lead guitar squall not really seen in Million Dead, but the grooves are solid enough that it makes you marvel, rather than retch.
I’m not sure why porn is soundtracked as it is. See, after Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies’ show, featuring as it did images of striptease, spanking and abstract showers of tits (amongst some more abstract, distorted images, all care of video directors/artwork designers/VJs type2error), I did some “research” and found that most pornographic moving images are accompanied by gruesome funk-lite, which would be somewhat soothing, were it not so offensively cheesy. I was surprised, as YMSS’ (or at least their rhythm section - tonight “YMSS” is two men and a heap of electronics) much more effective blue movie soundtrack strategy is physiologically enervating ambient glitch noises. It’s all rather overwhelming - a big sound system with a bigger screen, your heart racing to awkward spasmodically unsettling jumps from scree to calm while tits, blown up the size of elephants, flash before your eyes. Thrown into the equation is a dancer, whose moves, whilst hardly erotic in themselves, are unarguably liquidly sensual, further adding to the full-on sensory overload thang, however, with the girl dancing into the colours, it does come off a little like a “groovy” caricature of a Warholian Factory party from time to time.
The music develops through dark trip hop twisted away from the coffee table and into a pulsating thump and grind whilst the visuals alternate between suggestive juxtapositions of yet more spanking and Commodore64 images of warfare. While the seemingly organic improvisation between visuals and music is tremendously effective, YMSS as a two piece don’t scale heights anywhere near those of their full band incarnation. It's fairly accomplished and certainly interesting, even though it lacks the startling inspiration of their day job. Still, as an event, it's a successfully startling wake up call to other bands to push themselves in new dirctions.
- Interview: Frank Turner on The Olympics, The Backlash, Thatcher and Black Flag
- DiS Talks To Frank (Turner)
- Frank Turner needs Scottish shows!
- Million un-Dead: Frank Turner readies debut EP
- Youthmovies, Dozen Beats 11 at Curzon Cinema, Soho, London, Fri 24 Feb
- Former Million Dead folk seek out vocal talent
- 2005's Grand Stakes: those that fell aren't forgotten
- Million Dead, Gay For Johnny Depp at Camden Underworld, Camden Town, Thu 22 Sep