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Russell Haswell - Live Review (W/Fend and Isocore)


Russell Haswell
Russell Haswell

Following on from last week’s album review of Russell Haswell, this week we introduce you to a new idea completely: A live review of Russell Haswell! This is a new concept that I’ve mustered up as a treat so bare with me, I’m still ironing out the kinks! For those who’ve not caught on yet, a ‘live review’ will basically be an exploration of a ‘live set’ that a band or artist has done that I have been witness to. It’s a slightly abstract concept but I’m going to do my best to get it right the first time, and who knows, maybe it’ll catch on?


Weird isn’t it? Me, just telling you what I’ve seen. Feels a bit stupid really, but here we go anyway.


The first act of the evening is an artist called Fend. This fella also goes by the stage name ‘Chrissy’ sometimes, so you may know him as that. I feel silly even saying this out loud (I am using Google Speak to write this) but yes, I watched his set. Now, how to go about this. I suppose with the more common ‘album review’ you kind of talk about how it sounded. Much more confusing when you can see the artist as well though. I should’ve practised reviewing album sleeves, as you can see those too.

He had a very big deck in front of him, with lots of buttons. Honestly, I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start. No clue how he managed to do it either. He’d sort of press a few buttons and turn some dials and it’d make these great noisy tracks that you could have a bit of a dance to as well. I genuinely always assumed when people made electronic music it was just all done with an electric guitar rather than an acoustic. I haven’t the foggiest what you’d call this instrument. And I thought I’d seen it all! If you see him playing a gig, go and check it out, even if you think it’ll be distracting seeing someone make music without a guitar. After a while, it just seems normal!


Next band. Two of them now! Changing up the formula a bit, twice as many things to look at. They were called Isocore. I think I’m doing this right. Let me know if you think I should review the bands chronologically. It’s hard to say what’s the right way to do something when you’re a pioneer. Makes sense to do them in order, really.

Loads more mad techy stuff here. I’d gotten a bit confused and was expecting to see two guitars, but these guys also had decks full of buttons. It’s crazy when you pull back the curtain and see how this stuff is done. We all had a bloody good time though. I’m not afraid to admit I was tapping my foot somewhat. I’d had some beers by this point and let my hair down a little. The dance moves I attempted were perhaps a little too imperceptible. These guys were great though, and were I to see them again I’d probably attempt a few more experimental moves. There was a bit of space towards the front where I probably would've gotten away with doing the worm.


Finally was the man himself Russell Haswell. His deck was much smaller than the others (those assuming just a smaller guitar will be left disappointed) but the sound was much harsher and more discordant as well. I have to admit, by this point I was absolutely bladdered. Mad these ‘live reviews’ aren’t they? Not sure how much they’ll catch on, as it’s really hard to think of articulate things to say, and to then remember to write them down later, when you’re really drunk.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed myself. Russell Haswell is a true outsider and what he does with music is ridiculous and offensive and possibly illegal, and not quite like what anyone else is doing, and he was a pleasure to watch go insane on a small machine, and if he was in Liverpool again I’d like to get wankered with him in the Adelphi bar and play a bit of pool.


Russell Haswell’s new album Reality Therapy is available now on Diagonal.


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