Live Review: Duologue with Wild Swim at London XOYO – 25th September 2013

By on Wednesday, 2nd October 2013 at 5:00 pm
 

With its rugged industrial charm and labyrinthine layout, XOYO has rightly garnered a reputation as something of a factory for fresh musical talent; churning out bands that, although by no means identikit, have all the fundamentals in place to become an integral component in the wider music scene. And, so it was that the night’s bill featured a final prototype in Wild Swim; innovative, raw and full of potential, alongside the second generation invention of Duologue, who tweaked their original design by performing a first set with string quartet in tow.

Wild Swim, a distinctly dapper denomination in today’s free-wheeling synth-pop realm of psychedelia, kicked off proceedings with the nostalgia of ‘I Know Where My Home Is’. Funk-laden bass lines underpinned the enigmatic stagemanship of Richard Sansom in a style reminiscent of New Order, belying their tender age and status as one of tomorrow’s hottest tickets. One form of‘80s stylisation gave way to another as the Oxfordian five piece took on a new romantic edge for their as yet unreleased track ‘Solace’. Here, the BPM received a real boost while the synth and keyboard was bought to the fore to mingle, in a distinctly Spandau Ballet fashion, with world music drums and a soaring vocal line.

A band’s true character emerges when, after months of rehearsals, something completely unexpected doesn’t quite go their way. So, as the feedback reached wince inducing pitch at the start of ‘Echo’, it was reassuring to see all five members stoically proceed through such a delicate, spacey number. The intro – a stripped back, nuanced affair to match the accompanying video – dropped into a perfectly executed timing change that kept the track on in the ascendency. Next, the band’s third single ‘New Dawn’ (set for release on the 21st of October) took a heavier approach, with powerful guitar chords, tribal drums and atonal vocal harmonies.

Although regularly compared to former fellow Oxford residents Foals (seemingly for that reason alone), ‘Deer Song’, with its neat harmonies and wholly danceable rhythm, was the first time that such a claim had been evident. A climactic number with so many aspects that it rarely repeated itself, Sansom declared that although they are still writing their first album, this track will make the final cut. Wild Swim’s final track of the night, ‘Too Late’, has also made the grade. The bass/vocal intro gave way to a deep groove and accomplished vocal melody that left the crowd in no doubt as to why the chatter around these boys is getting louder.

Later on, and to a now bursting room lit only in a UV glow, experimental five piece Duologue were given a rapturous welcome as they prepared to deliver a schooling in originality and vision. Through a fog of ominous bass sounds, accompanied by frontman Tim Digby-Bell taking a violin bow to his SG in honour of the band’s new string compatriots, came the shuddering bionic mass of ‘Machine Stop’, the opening track from their debut album ‘Song & Dance’. A pulsating broken beat over lofty vocal harmonies, everything about Duologue’s first track spoke of alienation in a hollow new world of connectivity.

Stood in almost total darkness, illuminated only by a flickering band of amorphous barcode, the band’s next number ‘Get Out While You Can’ was similarly atmospheric. Electronic gadgets, in life as in music, made the basics easier, enabling Duologue to focus their spare attention on finding another level. The synthesised beat kept things suspiciously tight, while the vocal looping and cheeky dubstep wobble bought them from an aurally analogue, to a digital world. The string quartet was subtly introduced on the suitably gothic ‘Underworld’, a mournfully dystopian track with a typically IDM beat and clever call-and-response vocal melody.

By now it was clear that although all the aspects of their sound fed into the same overall picture, there were subtleties to each track that made Duologue satisfyingly difficult to pigeonhole. ‘Constant’ was an indicator that the troupe could probably best be pinned to the hazy locality of post-‘Kid A’ Radiohead or, perhaps even more so, Thom Yorke’s solo Atoms for Peace material. ‘Talk Shop’ greatly lifted the pace of the set, and was somehow more accessible, if not lacking slightly in the technicality that had been exhibited so far. The room darkened again; the barcode reappeared and began to fold into a ball made of scratched lines as the band played on into ‘Gift Horse’, accompanied by a scuttling synth rattle and a burgeoning string section.

Both ‘Zeros’ and ‘Cut & Run’ were raw with an abrasive layer of feedback. After the latter, the lights went up (by little more than a watt), causing the illusion to go on temporary hiatus as the puppet masters were revealed. The pounding beat of Duologue’s final track, ‘Push It’, was mirrored by clapping and chanting from the clamouring crowd, who moved in a style more reminiscent of a rave than a gig. By now the barcode has morphed again into a billowing tapestry that folded and weaved into itself, as the industrial beat grew to a mighty closing crescendo.

Although the distance between the two bands was vast in terms of their influences, fan base and current career progression, what they both showed was that invention is having somewhat of a resurgence in music today. In booking bands with the understated pedigree of Duologue and Wild Swim, XOYO proved that their industrial model is not stuck in the age of mass production, but has rather diversified into the 3D printed tomorrow of customisable commodities.

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10 Responses

5:00 pm
2nd October 2013

Live Review: Duologue @Duologue_Music with Wild Swim @wildswimmusic at London XOYO @XOYO_London– 25th September 2013 http://t.co/C7dMgVe1Ft

5:39 pm
2nd October 2013

RT @tgtf: Live Review: Duologue @Duologue_Music with Wild Swim @wildswimmusic at London XOYO @XOYO_London– 25th September 2013 http://t.co/…

5:41 pm
2nd October 2013

RT @tgtf: Live Review: Duologue @Duologue_Music with Wild Swim @wildswimmusic at London XOYO @XOYO_London– 25th September 2013 http://t.co/…

5:45 pm
2nd October 2013

RT @tgtf: Live Review: Duologue @Duologue_Music with Wild Swim @wildswimmusic at London XOYO @XOYO_London– 25th September 2013 http://t.co/…

5:46 pm
2nd October 2013

RT @tgtf: Live Review: Duologue @Duologue_Music with Wild Swim @wildswimmusic at London XOYO @XOYO_London– 25th September 2013 http://t.co/…

5:49 pm
2nd October 2013

Big thanks to @tgtf for a great review of our gig with the awesome @Duologue @XOYO_London. http://t.co/7umJY43abq

5:52 pm
2nd October 2013

Live Review: Duologue with Wild Swim at London XOYO – 25th September 2013 http://t.co/FdVYDLrL44 via @tgtf

6:57 pm
2nd October 2013

For those who did not know our boy Cubiq are also in a band called Wild Swim who are absolutely killing it right… http://t.co/BPPS7WShCh

7:12 pm
2nd October 2013

RT @wildswimmusic: Big thanks to @tgtf for a great review of our gig with the awesome @Duologue @XOYO_London. http://t.co/7umJY43abq

7:44 pm
2nd October 2013

RT @tgtf: Live Review: Duologue @Duologue_Music with Wild Swim @wildswimmusic at London XOYO @XOYO_London– 25th September 2013 http://t.co/…

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