Thursday, December 10, 2015

Recording: Ben Gunning

Artist: Ben Gunning

Song: Destructive

Recorded at Smiling Buddha (Silent Shout Festival – Night 1), December 4, 2014.

Ben Gunning - Destructive

Although they'd stepped away from presenting live music, Silent Shout returned for a two-night celebration to mark their fifth anniversary. Taking over the Smiling Buddha for two nights gave the site's designer Roxanne Ignatius a chance to re-imagine the space, with a deconstructed disco ball twirling above clouds and webby fabric tendrils. Plus, downstairs there was a gallery of her consistently-excellent show posters, going right back to the series' beginning when it had to spell out its mandate of "EVIL DISCO / GLOOMY ELECTRO / DEATHLY SYNTHPOP". And though there was a retrospective element to the whole affair, the music was decisively forward-looking, including a couple bands making their debuts.

It was quite pleasing to see Ben Gunning's new Massive Love album being championed by Silent Shout. Though it undoubtedly includes some bum-wiggling grooves, its yacht rock sound arguably owes more to Steely Dan than The Knife. The recorded versions of the songs do indeed have some slick electronic undertones, though live that's subsumed somewhat into the smooth sounds of Gunning's all-star backing band, which includes DIANA's Kieran Adams (drums) and Joseph Shabason (sax) plus Bram Gielen (bass), Thom Gill (synth) and Michael Davidson (vibes) plus Robin Dann and Alanna Stuart (backing vox). Playing after a lot of the crowd split following the headlining set, there was room on the dancefloor for those who stuck behind to see this rather astonishing band in action.

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