sound festival 2019 review: Bill Thompson & Silent Chaos

The first performance at this year’s festival of the 'Late night soundsessions’ series saw Silent Chaos give an ever-impressive performance, showing off their prowess with electronic composition. The enigmatic duo, Marta Noone and Ugo Vantini, showed their full engagement with every aspect of their sound, manipulating vocal frequencies fed though a microphone and through their modular synthesiser. The drum samples triggered by Vatini’s hands were crisp, clear and well mixed. The sound was evenly balanced and had strong presence without relying on mere loudness alone. The setting of the Belmont Filmhouse Kino Bar also provided a comfortingly intimate, yet enthralling space for the act. The effect of their pieces was a meditative stupor interrupted only by slow methodical grooves. Despite the sure chaos of their philosophical and political philosophy, the music itself was wonderfully composed and carefully thought through.

Though following a strong act, Bill Thompson’s performance was equally mesmerising, while also providing completely different ingredients for the musical palette. Manipulating the feedback on an electric Moog guitar, triggered by a host of motorised electronics spinning, buzzing, and whirring near the strings, the performance was an exercise in the connection between visual and sonic manipulation. As the sound became increasingly more infused by the various mechanisms, they also became literally brighter, as spinning LEDs and tiny torch lights offered a visual field that interacted physically with the sound it was creating. A unique and engaging show, it presented a new way to interact with drone genres.

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