Without friends, life would tend to be…well, different, and honestly, probably pretty lame. In no way shape or form can I imagine not having the incredible and massive group of friends that I have been fortunate enough to amass over the years. Where am I going with this? Well with the assistance of my old friend and co-worker Jefferson last Thursday, I wouldn’t have known about the fact that Vessel was playing later that night. Thanks to Jefferson and social networking however, I was able to catch this show at Kremwerk last Thursday.
Vessel is part of the ever growing list of awesomeness that Tri Angle Records has been politely pumping over the last four and a half years. I first came across Vessel back in 2013 at (duh) Decibel Festival. Having heard of Holy Other and Evian Christ, I decided to bounce up to Chop Suey (which is sadly closing soon if it hasn’t already) for the Tri Angle Records Showcase. Suffice to say, the showcase completely blew me away and I became an instant follower of all things Tri Angle.
Tri Angle was formed in 2010 by Robin Carolan split between London and New York City. Since then they have done an excellent job formulating a sound that they are now known for, and sticking to it, something that we don’t see as much from labels in this day and age. Ten to twenty years ago when you found an electronic label, you would more than likely be able to hunt down anything else on the label and probably be pretty stoked about it because it would encompass a lot of the same sounds and/or mood. Labels these days tend to be putting out so many releases from so many different artists that the art of label differentiation has unfortunately been a bit lost. This is one of the reasons why Tri Angle is special to me. You know what you’re getting yourself into when you listen to another Tri Angle Records artists: it’s going to be moody, dark, emotive, bass heavy, industrial, all complete with hidden elements of pop buried between all those other layers.
With that said, Vessel (Sebastian Gainsborough), released his first LP through Tri Angle in 2012. Entitled Order of Noise, this debut LP saw the Bristol based artist sprinkle his own brand of synth heavy noise across platforms such as techno, industrial, and broken apart dubstep. Here’s a favorite of mine off the album:
Definitely making an imprint on those who listened, the news of a new LP from Sebastian in 2014 was excellent news. Released on September 15, 2014 Punish, Honey saw Vessel returning to a fair amount of noise oriented tunes, yet this time a bit more carefully constructed. Oriented more towards a techno style 4-In-The-Floor beat, this fairly non-dancey, but head swaying styled noisey techno can easily be eaten up by any noise and industrial fan. It’s slow, it’s sluggish, it’s dark and dreary. Often sounding like you’re in the middle of some sort of heavy mechanical shop filled with multiple kinds of machines all working at once, Punish, Honey will definitely put you into a certain space, and keep you there whether you like it or not. Personally, I love it. Here’s one of my favorites off the new LP:
Fast forward a few years to last Thursday, and a random Google+ post from Jefferson mentioning Vessel in town for $10 got my ears perking heavy. I hit up Jefferson immediately to get the complete details, and told him I’d meet him down there later. After a delicious dinner and toasty bowl of sativa with another old friend in Fremont, I bounced down to Kremwerk around 11.30pm.
Container was currently on the decks spinning an eclectic mix of odd IDM infused bass music. Surprisingly the tiny little space of Kremwerk was fairly full towards the stage, with lots of room to move around towards the bar area. You never know who is going to be out at a low publicised show in Seattle, but that said, apparently Vessel has his followers. Vessel stepped up to his table of equipment right around 12 Midnight and began what would end up being a full on journey.
Beginning with some deep exploratory noise like his LP’s and EP’s, Vessel brought us all into his space through a full static sound bath to get things going. The next 65 or so minutes were then filled to the brim with all things noise oriented, swimming around in slow industrial based techno beats, hints of Bristol dubstep, random sounds of gabber at 160bpm, and of course, more thick and heavy distorted synth patches. Beyond the sounds, watching Sebastian have just as much fun up there pushing boundaries was also part of the show. His stage presence is as such that you know he is fully in it, completely enjoying what he is doing, making, and experimenting with – just as much as we were all completely enjoying the sonic onslaught he provided for our ears. Kremwerk’s tiny but punctual soundsystem did well handling the raw signal he was sending, as there was definitely no laptop to be seen anywhere on stage that evening. Here’s some video I took from the night (you may want to turn your speakers down before playing as these are raw and LOUD):
By the end of the 65 minutes, I was already begging for more. It is truly show like this that keep me interested in electronic music, shows where you know you’re witnessing something different, something cutting edge. If you’re into any sounds that tend to be a bit darker and more edgy, I highly recommend checking out Vessel and Tri Angle Records. Their whole catalog is worthy of the snobbiest of ears.