Inecto School, despite their name, are far from the dour experimentalists that one might have feared. A largely acoustic line-up (stand-up bass, guitar, drums) is augmented by two members who supply brass and woodwind, bells, thumb piano, electronics and radio interference. The set has an improvised feel, but the band have a more unified sound than many improvising groups: the players allow each other room, and everybody’s contribution is given equal weighting. An excellent sound mix ensures that the playing is crystal clear – every note, scratch, hiss and slurp is audible. The melodic guitar forms a loose centre to the music, bringing to mind Six Organs of Admittance, albeit in an expanded form. Experimental music can sometimes be so forbidding, it’s nice to see a group project amiability and enjoyment on stage.
Damo Suzuki, Japanese born vocalist with Krautrock legends Can in the early 1970s, has spent the last couple of years building up his Network; more a loose affiliation than a band, Damo organises players (or ‘sound carriers’ as he calls them) by e-mail and plays with a different group of musicians in every town. It’s an exciting prospect which ensures Damo’s music (‘spontaneous composing’) stays fresh.
Of course, the strategy also poses grave risks. The local players Damo has chosen for tonight’s show are all of a high calibre; amongst the ranks are Joe Mask (guitar) and Neil Turpin (drums) from the awesome Bilge Pump. Yet despite the talent on offer, the performance fails to ignite. The point of Network is surely that it challenges the performers and takes them out of their comfort zone; the band tonight look
comfortable to the point of complacency. A series of sluggish, grey rock jams struggle to connect with Damo’s chants and refrains. The maestro himself seems equally at ease; there is no sense that limits are being pushed. Of course, we can’t all be top of our game all the time, but from a renowned great of progressive music, tonight could only really be summed up as a huge disappointment.