Mordant Mass featuring Shackleton

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  • Definitely on a Dark Flex, this one. Like Jonny Mugwump's other effort as a radio DJ, his Exotic Pylon night at the Vortex, this time curated alongside Baron Mordant and his Masses, had a notably suspicious vibe about it. From the fascinatingly-appropriate visuals of Mordant's MisinforMation project including excerpts from Solvent abuse documentaries, to the coincidentally-cryptic nature of the performers' names, all the elements were in place for a suitably "interesting" night. And that it certainly was. Ekoplekz's live set began the night by churning out string after string of coagulated noodle compositions surging from an astonishingly complex-looking collection of analogue hardware. Matching dub experimentation with electronic precision, Ekoplekz set broad fence-posts for the night, though ones the stubborn colts to follow didn't adhere within. After several minutes of de-archived English Heritage footage, Vindicatrix plugged in and began with his interpretation of Michael Jackson's Human Nature, during which calls questioning "Why does he do me that way!?" were coupled with sparse post-Moog rhythms. Photo credit: Jonny Mugwump Arguably better-received were the Wagner/Strauss/Schoenberg-backed pieces, as he was joined onstage by a figure manning the tape loops, which gave the beat-/bass-heads (of which there were several) first respite. Equipment hitches were met with Vx shouting "Catastrophe!", topping off the tension which ran throughout the set, giving it (and the night itself) a consistency not overtly demonstrated by the numerous style-switches. While these first two performances were certainly enjoyed (in one respect or another) by the audience, it seemed that it was Shackleton's rare appearance in such an intimate venue that brought much of the Vorticist crowd. I don't believe fans or the uninitiated were disappointed; Dr. S supplied the fix to those craving, and scalped the rest, deservedly. Throughout 90 minutes of uninterrupted darkness, a long-sold out venue moved to the crisply produced signature sounds of this Mister Sinister. Though less Muslim undertone, and more Christian psalm reading, the performance was still fully engaging, and gave an insight into Shackleton's own enthusiasm about his music as he bounced above his equipment. Several tunes had their live debut, and even so, the BFI archive on the projection system still stirred to the sound of crushing bones and clanging chai wallahs. Those in motion were grateful for the sufficient woofer-provision as The Crypt Keeper let his three-headed bass-lions loose.