Musik / Reise at Platform, 10/1/15

Ordinarily ending up making saffron Martinis with oven chips in place of ice at 4am would be the highlight of anyone’s evening, however even that adventure in mixology can’t compete with this musical collaboration between two members of The Phantom Band, a couple from Mogwai and Faust founder-member and krautrock supremo Hans Joachim Irmler.

Considering Mr Faust (who earlier performed an excellent though less ecstatic solo set accompanied by a lass scribbling on paper plates on a turntable – you had to be there) only rocked up on Wednesday night, the music on offer here is nigh on extraordinary.


Goodness knows what they could come up with with extended rehearsal (or even recording) time in the studio.

From glacial beginnings, through growing intensity and what sounds like a 303 burbling into action we end up in a glorious, almost Moroder-esque, entirely instrumental wig out.

Underpinned by drummer Martin Bulloch’s thumping 4/4 kick drum it’s all rather marvellous.

Appreciation turned up to eleven, it’s a cathedral of groove and highly impressive artistry all wrapped up in dubby reverb.

At the good natured question and answer session after this all too brief 45-minute gig, it is revealed that around fifty per cent of tonight is improvised on the hoof.

Stuart Braithwaite and Duncan Marquiss particularly keep a close eye on each other as they caress space age noises from their guitars and myriad effects pedals.

Behind a heap of black boxes our Teutonic friend sways about in concentration, but even he looks lost in sound occasionally as each extended song (or piece) intensifies.

It’s impossible to say how many tunes they play tonight; each blends into another as glorious density dissolves into delicate melody.

A few moments of ambient atmospherics before the tic tac drums come gently back in; following the guitars and synths initially before letting go and coming fully to life.

No idea whether any of them has a name; other than the last which is clearly titled ‘Do Doo, Ooh Wee Oooooh’.

Note: this maybe incorrect and simply reflects what I’m merrily singing along inside me head as we approach yet another crescendo.

It’s a polite affair at Platform with no visible security, but then stage diving doesn’t seem massively likely; very much a concentrated audience, nodding along in appreciation.

Since Faust themselves only ever managed 25 shows in their whole existence there’s a reverence at play, and justly so really.

He’s a charming character is Hans and the year zero approach of his band has always been a fascinating proposition.

No idea if further work with the other four is on the cards, but if they do take this to larger, more raucous environs it’s hard to see it not being a huge success; a real and rare chemistry.

One always hesitates to recommend something without qualification, but when it’s this good it’s difficult not to.

There are a few grizzled fellows in the crowd looking like superannuated Draculas but since, to the best of my knowledge, they never took a nibble on anyone’s neck I can’t even complain about that.

When the only grumble about a gig is it’s too short – well, for the artistes it’s one of the better gripes to face.

After the show the group are invited back to an audience member’s house to check out her “excellent record collection”.

“Sounds promising” is the reply from on stage; not as promising as frozen potato cocktails mind.

Words: Andrew Morrison


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