Ruptured melodies and dissonant noise comes to London care of electronic outfit JUPITER-C…
With the release of their debut 001 EP on Invada Records (see our sister site The Electricity Club’s review), electronic duo Jupiter-C staged a launch event at The Old Blue last in London. This is an intriguing venue nestled in the heart of Shoreditch, which was (and sort of still is) a traditional east end boozer, but one that features an odd little performance room up the stairs. It’s not the biggest venue on the planet, but for an intimate gig it’s got it where it counts.
The support for the evening featured the dubby dark intensity of Kyōgen and the drone and feedback of Monk. Both seemed to have embraced this combination of guitars and electronics, which was a welcome thumbing of the nose to those who insist guitar bands are one thing – and electronic acts another.
By the time Jupiter-C take to the stage, the venue has filled out to capacity. Ashiya Eastwood sets herself up behind a table packed to the gills with synths and electronics, while David Kane loiters to the right of the stage with both his own array of equipment and guitar to hand.
There’s a mesmerising bleakness and a darker approach to electronic music with Jupiter-C’s material, which at times suggests elements of everything from Joy Division to sleazy synth outfit TR/ST. But Jupiter-C utilise space much more generously than our Canadian darkpop outfit. There’s often a buzzy,rolling underbed of electronics over which Aiysha Eastwood’s glacial vocal glides effortlessly.
The set kicks off with the languid beats of ‘Holiday’. “There’s no escape, escape from here” intones Eastwood as relentless rhythmic tones drive the track forward.
Songs such as ‘Another Place’ typify Jupiter-C’s talent for stark electronica while the icy vocals gives the track a particular wistful quality. Meanwhile, David Kane switches between keyboards to add some shimmering guitar for ‘Terminal Beach’, giving the track a more muscular foundation.
Jupiter-C’s setlist is also broken up between songs with brief samples of dialogue, often culled from obscure documentaries or cult films, such as Brazil and Paris, Texas. At the same time, projections of bleak city landscapes and nuclear tests give proceedings the right kind of mood and tone.
‘Locust’ in particular has a curious bleakness to it. Elsewhere, the slower tone of ‘Another Place’ (evidenced by the fact that you can hear the chattering masses at the bar…) has a yearning vocal from Eastwood. But the track changes gear and opens up with some frantic guitar from Kane giving it much more of a kick.
The live take on ‘Critical Mass’ offers a combination of guitar feedback and glacial vocals before the duo introduce a cover version. ‘Waterboard’ (originally by an outfit known as Dark Actors) has some particularly poignant lyrics: “let’s play depleted uranium/the wounds heal in the next millennium” which Eastwood intones with an effectively cold delivery. Kane works his guitar with, oddly, the fervent use of a drumstick. It flies off at one point and bounces around the stage, adding an amusing incident to the final song of the evening.