CHICALOYOH + BEAR BONES LAY LOW @ Bradford New Beehive, 25/8/13
The New Beehive has always been the unsung jewel in Bradford's crown - a gas lit pub with original fittings, real ales and more atmosphere than any other pub in the North. Atmosphere means a lot in a venue and for a gig with two solo artists playing esoteric electronic equipment, it's a vital part of the gig.
Bear Bones Lay Low is Ernesto González from Sylvester Anfang II. He sits at a table with a strange selection of electronics and begins to play for us a kind of radiophonic version of "Bolero" in space. Sat on antique furniture with a nice pint of American Nut Brown Ale brewed in Saltaire, it all makes perfect sense. The passage of time becomes more abstract as I find myself more and more lost in music and after a while he starts to sound like a recording from the seventies of Kraftwerk trapped in a cloud of ganja at Lee Scratch Perry's Black Arc Studio. More nut brown ale, please, I reckon, Mr.Barman. Ernesto then begins to get really abstract conjuring up a weird, dark, tropical soundscape. Such is the spell that when the phone in the bar starts ringing, it is actually ringing in time to the dark pulse of Ernesto's sounds and we are left trying to work out if the sounds is coming from Ernesto or some retro electronic phone. The barman answers the phone and our question and then for a final song, Ernesto unleashes some deep, shuddering beats and euro horror synths. A delighted "bloody hell" seems the only apt response.
I now confess that I had never heard anything by Chicaloyoh before and all I had to go on were the enthused testimonies of friends who had attended Woolf Music. I had no idea what to expect. Like Ernesto before her, she also stood before a bewildering array of objects and wires but also had a guitar and microphone. She got the lights dimmed before starting, setting the scene perfectly for a set steeped in mood and vibes Imagine Nico singing for Popol Vuh but instead of scoring for Herzog, they do scores for David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" and John Carpenter's "The Fog". No, I guess you probably can't imagine that, that is maybe too much of a stretch for the imagination but it honestly is the best point on the map I could find for her. Chicaloyoh is Alice Dourlen, a resident of Normandy in France. If you have ever explored Normandy, you will know it is a beautiful place, rich in history, scenery and architecture but with a slightly eerie quality about it, especially at dusk. In short, it makes an intuitive locale for the genesis of the extraordinary music of Chicaloyoh. She fuses sinister guitar chords with edgy synth sounds, processed beats and that unique voice, so angelic yet so deadpan at the same time. There is a subtle, underlying darkness in the music yet without a trace of tawdry melodrama or gothic posturing. This is the real thing, works of gentle majesty capable of making your spine tingle. I expect to hear a lot more about Chicaloyoh, she is definitely highly recommended and you need to get her on your radar.