Bristol New Music Festival, 21st February 2014 Written for A-N Reviews. Read full text HERE
Empty Set’s performance marks the beginning of the inaugural weekend-long Bristol New Music festival of new and experimental music taking place across five major cultural venues across the city. Upon entering the seemingly unlikely venue of renowned contemporary art space Spike Island, you can’t fail to immediately observe and indeed feel the all-encompassing throb of the former industrial, now white-cube gallery space. The entire space appears to vibrate through the wall of sound emanating from within where Empty Set, poised over a table clustered with electronic equipment and a tumble of cables are tinkering and twiddling away. The sound is a raw and minimal electronic throb that permeates the space – technoesque repetitive beats reminiscent of early electronic music and its steady progression into early dance music.
This at first seems befitting to a more underground and perhaps hedonistic context, but the decided lack of movement in the crowd who stand mesmerised, decry this with barely more than a bit of enthusiastic head nodding at best. Dance music it is not – with earplugs available at the door and only a couple of faint ‘woops’ heard from the crowd during an ever so slightly more melodic track toward the end of the set, Empty Set are certainly at the more experimental edge of electronic music – intelligent dance music for a more discerning crowd.