September’s Wakefield Artwalk saw the inaugural performance of ‘D-EMI’. This is a new project combining drones and percussion in a live improvised set, using only Electro-magnetic interference as a sampling source.

I arrived at the performance only 24hrs. after returning from Portugal, from a transformatory experience at Suti Festival, DJ’ing under my moniker of ‘Loki Galactic’. This ended a series of summer festivals where I had the good fortune to play psychedelic music – Suti was transformatory because the experience has pushed me to write my own psychedelic music ready for next year. If you want to hear some of those DJ sets you can find them here on Mixcloud.

I was curious to see how the chilled atmosphere of a Portuguese festival would alter the performance of the project, as it had started amidst a somewhat more chaotic environment of gigging around the UK. I think the most obvious effect was that it allowed mew to move calmly through the 180 minutes I had allotted for the performance, without rushing into any big climaxes too early. Something to think about for future longer-length gigs.

One of the most surprising and pleasing aspects of the gigs was thew audience interaction. I do describe the performance as a ritual. It is the audiences movement through the environment and more specifically, their electronic devices that should influence the sound of the performance, but these intentions do not always work out on gig day. However it worked better than expected here at the Neon Workshops and as a ‘scratch performance’ I was able to take a lot away and hope the audience will have done too given the relative freedom to interact with the instruments I was using and to understand how the EMI influenced the sound.

D-EMI was always meant to be site specific and the Neon Workshop proved to be an excellent environment for the first performance. Neon lights use transformers at very high voltages, which means very high frequency EMI. The tools needed to make the lights are also industrial and visually quite spectacular. I was using two primary instruments to pick up EMI, an AM radio, using a long looped coil as an aerial. This ariel allowed objects to be passed through it as well as to be worn, as you can see from the pictures above of one audience member. I also used two telephone pickup coils, which acted as EMI stethoscopes for much more localised sound.

The pictures above capture the energy of the performance well and I thank David Lindsay for his spectacular photographic skills. I will be adding video of the performance and excerpts from the audio recording. The audio will also see a release on tape and digital following a workshop I am undertaking the wonderful CAMP Residential space in the Pyrenees. The exact format of these releases is to be determined but will almost certainly feature further performances too. Please watch this space for future gig announcements and follow me on Facebook for instant updates.