London WC2 Astoria
Quickspace know that the most potent music is always about catharsis...
Repetition, we know, can be irritating. When cleverly orchestrated, however, loops, repeated riffs and interminable spirals of indecipherable vocals and surging sound have a hypnotic power, an undeniable majesty.
Solex (ie, Elisabeth Esselink with mates on guitar and drums) understand this, building on sampled grooves with heavy thrumming beats counterbalanced by Esselink’s sweetly childlike singing – achieved to greatest effect on ‘One Louder Solex’ and the manic ‘Rolex By Solex’. Madness, especially in tandem with back-wall projections of vertiginous upside-down motorway races, but it works a charm, and when ‘Not Fade Away’ is given the Solex treatment, we hear the unstoppable grind of the underground eating its way through recorded history and regurgitating it in a new, Technicolor configuration.
Quickspace, likewise, continue apace in their efforts to subvert convention with the thrilling repetition of blissed-out guitar blasts. Tom Cullinan and his cronies know that the most potent music is always about catharsis – a scrambling of the senses, a bleeding of the brain, the heart and, ultimately, the ears. So they take to it like demons, unleashing their mesmerisingly emotive Krautpop at blistering volume – so loud and dense you feel you could fall upon it and it would sustain your weight like a pillow.
Frequently, the icy beauty of Quickspace meisterworks doesn’t begin to crystallise until you thoroughly succumb, allowing them to compel you into their deepest core. Once you have relinquished resistance, however, they are breathtaking. ‘Coca Lola’, which endlessly recycles itself to stretch for miles, could very well be the best use a harmonica has ever been put to; and ‘Goodbye Precious Mountain’ is the sound of loneliness to the power of ten trillion, sweeping and surging like a post-apocalyptic adagio.
Repetition, then, in the hands of Solex and Quickspace, is less a backwards step and more a gorgeous, if circuitous, progression. Just let go, listen, and listen again.