29 Oct 2012

Anthroprophh live at 'Unpeeled' in Manchester

Here is excerpt of another live review that is going to feature in the next issue of Optical Sounds. This time it is of the 'Unpeeled' alldayer in Manchester on the weekend that saw Anthroprophh play with Big Naturals as well as Mugstar:

Unpeeled: Anthroprophh w/ Big Naturals
Gulliver’s, Manchester 
27th October 2012

Although the Unpeeled event was an alldayer that took place across two venues on Manchester’s Oldham St., we just arrived in time as Anthroprophh and Big Naturals are setting up. As much as Id admired his spirit and approach, I was never much of a John Peel devotee, and a good deal of the bands that are on over this day-long jamboree don’t really fill me much in the way of excitement. I would have liked to have seen The Groundhogs, but to be honest I was only really interested in seeing Anthropropph & Big Naturals and Mugstar. The Paris Angels reforming didn’t hold much interest, if I’m being totally honest.  Sandwiched between Anthroprophh and Mugstar were The Telescopes, of whom I’m only vaguely familiar.

I saw Big Naturals at Supernormal festival (the year that Rocket Recordings curated it) and I’m not surprised to see Gareth Turner lugging a massive array of Green cabinets, Marshall heads and a sizeable board of FX pedals. Big Naturals are a two piece who manage to sound like ten men, no doubt due in part to this level of amplification firepower. Anyone who has heard the Big Naturals recent self titled album will know that they have absolutely no problem stirring up a mighty noise. I’d imagine most people are aware of Paul Allen through his pedigree with The Heads, but with his Anthropropph role, he cuts a more oblique and noisier figure, channeling all his Kraut and Prog fantasies into something more open ended. If the stuff he has posted on Soundcloud is any indication, then his soon to be released album on Rocket is going to be a droney, krauty treat.

The set starts as Paul fires up his wheezy old synth that sends out an insistent cosmic pulse. Jesse Webb answers this with a beat that grows and grows with startling intensity as Gareth Joins in on a floor tom. More and more people are moving closer towards the stage now, willed on by this barbaric beat. Gareth Turner joins turns around and creates analogue oscillations before introducing his monstrous distorted bass thrum to underpin it all. How much of this is specially prepared or improvised for the gig is hard to judge without hearing the album beforehand, but there is a lot of eye contact assisted changes that suggest an open ended arrangement. It is all enormously exciting and at times the warp and weft of the music seems like it is about to tear a hole in the space/time continuum. A couple of songs in, Paul Allen unplugs his guitar midway, and plugs a microphone into his messy array of rag-tag vintage pedals and starts testifying like some deranged preacher, warbling out some weird psychedelic glossololia  sermon. Guitar plugged back in, he spins out some equally weird angular guitar lines that would, I imagine, make Michael Karoli smile down on him proudly. After a criminally short half an hour, the crowd is left to unpeel themselves from the ceilings and walls as the chaps start to breakdown their mountains of amps. It really could have gone on all night...

Brett Savage

Dont forget Anthroprophh's debut album is out on Rocket on January 28th.
More details about this very special release will be announced soon