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The afternoon of the day I go to see Kelpe, I have a nap and dream I am having an affair with Beyonce Knowles. It is a dream so brilliantly realised and technicolour, I wake up thinking I don’t need to go out with her; it is ticked off. It reminds me of another dream in which I went on a date with Spike Lee and he kept trying to get off with me while I dragged him round Woolworths, though that is another story. What I mean to say is that Kelpe is going to have a tricky job, if he wants to be the best thing that happens to me on March 27th.
Outside the Arts Centre, it is as if the ex-church is throbbing – wah-wah-wah it goes, with all the bass. Inside, Kel McKeown is bent over his laptop, sharing a stage with a live drummer. Kel’s controls are perched on a large table covered in black sheeting. It looks like a coffin. And perhaps it would feel as if he had turned this place into a crypt, were it not for the deep sea visuals projected on three walls. Can you clap visuals? I want to. There are massive jellyfish heaving up the walls, and slo-mo rain water, prawns, ultra-violet what-are-theys. Anemones take on a more sinister air when they are accompanied with the meatier, more visceral takes on Cambio Wechsel’s warped noise. It is at this point I look at my companion and grin. She says; ‘Do you like it?’ and I go; “MMMMMMMmmmn. I do, I do.’
Even so, engaging a crowd with a laptop you are concentrating on very hard, is hard. Obviously, there is a preponderance of nodding going on, though as the evening passes there is the delightful progression from nodding>foot-bob>whole bob>hactual dancing. While I am at the bobbing stage, it occurs to me that I look like a dick. I bob anyway, because Kelpe sounds more propulsive, more urgent, and less pleasant ( << not a snark) this evening; live percussion adds a dimension of doom to his already wide portfolio. I mean, it is difficult to explain how the sheer range of playful noise on Cambio Wechsel is brilliant precisely because it doesn’t lose sight of trying to make you feel pleasure. And yet it is nothing so dread as ‘pretty’ electronica. Certainly ‘The Blankout Agreement’ – a song I use to accompany me on night-time bike rides through ill-lit parks [I do, and do not, recommend this] sounds angrier tonight. Towards the end, ‘Yippee Space Ghost’ (my gateway Kelpe song) comes on. And though it loses something from its dainty, higher register; and though the bassline sounds less friendly, it manages to retain its essential hands-in-the-air beauty.
In the middle of all this, I have a very fervent mindwang back to when I went to Megatripolis [worst name for a club EVER] and how I thought it was quite brilliant that people sold lollies and there were outsize cushions to loll on. I am quite a bit older now, and wonder if it is the want of a cushion that has made me think of it. Should I be thinking about portable seating of the sort to be found in OAP catalogues when I am at a Kelpe gig? Probably not - though I promise it is a quick thought - a fleeter - hailing from the part of my brain that wants to listen, properly, sitting down. I have another flicker when I notice just how many red buttons are lit up on the mixing desk. Now, I don’t know what these buttons do - though I do have a Tourettes urge to push them all - but seems to me to be a good sign; a fitting colour for how Kelpe sounds.
But he is shy. At one point, hearing applause, he actually waves the audience off, using the universal arm gesture for ‘Argh, gerroff, stoppit’. This is echoed later, when I mooch over to say thank you for having me. ‘How’s the tour going?’ is what I ask, and he says ‘Oh, it’s not a tour.’ Not in a stroppy way, but as if the grandness of the word ‘tour’ is something he's vaguely uncomfortable with. And he shouldn’t be, when the clatter he makes is this agreeable.
Colours Don't Leak
Wind In The Windows
Pinch And Flare
The Blankout Agreement
Closed Cup Headroom
Yippee Space Ghost
Arpeggio For Synths
Wendy is on Twitter, here.
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