Tuesday 17 February 2015

Dan Nicholls - Esoterica

Dan Nicholls
The music streamed off into the audience like the continuous roll of paper in Jack Kerouac's typewriter. Some was incoherent, much was about the journey from A to B, but all of it came from the hand tectonics of Dan Nicholls. It was a short half hour set at Rich Mix (12/02/2015) that unwound in one electronic reel of music.

Nicholls played both laptop and small keyboard often with head bent over always with intensity.
His set was a seeping cinematic creep like the slow-motion lava that edges towards the expendable villagers in a Technicolor epic. In the dark belly of Rich Mix's crowd I could not see my sketchpad so I wrote blind, the words tumbling out with Kerouac rapidity.
Dan Nicholls

Phase 1 - Metallic hyenas and Spirographs spheres. The dusty smudges of a hand leave imperceptible layers of graded grease as it works back and forth. Momentary flashes on the retina, the memories of a dazzling light. The memories of a day in the park, the dancing drops of light. The sound is the body and the body is all. It is all of me. Kickback.

Phase 2 - Blip. Makes the mouth form a silent vowel. A silent movie plays as actors loop on screen, they pronounce their a's, e's, i's, o's and u's. Zero in on just the lips.

Phase 3 - Rumble. Polyp. The sudden disturbance of a fish on the silty bottom and then the resettling. The first spoken word of a man, the sound of his voice on an empty telephone line. Echoing chambers of communication.

Phase 4 - Industrial. Punching engines, daily punishment and crazed enjoyments. We are complicit in being chewed up. The dull turning of my neighbour in bed during the night, he turns, again and again. Does he ever stop turning?

Phase 5 - Metallic. Wood against wood. Clogged ball-bearing, marble hunter. Fingers reaching into pipes. Wind whistles through small holes. Pushing plasticine into my mouth. It comes out of my nostrils, my ears, my belly button, nipples and follicles. Rising higher and higher, this mass of pink cushioned worms.

Phase 6 - Big round laundrette circle. Mini washers rinsing the ears, filling your mind with suds. I am mentally seasick. They stick my head on rinse and the ideas wash out in tiny baubles.

Phase 7 - Nazi salutes, men marching in reverse, swallowing bile. Hard shoes scraping shins, one overlapping the other, frog marching, goose stepping on top of one another. Tanks crushing tree. Plural squashing the singular.

As you can see Dan Nicholl's music is worth squeezing the inspirational juices from, even if the residue is only imbibed by the esoteric few.


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