Gun Metal


Gutter Sound are a London-based duo Martin and Millington who realised their cassette tape TAPE (CAUTIOUS HORSES) using a bass guitar and a programmed drum machine, then distilling the results of their lengthy improvisations into two compacted suites called ‘Emden’ and ‘Szant Istvan’. Indeed it seems that most of the effort was spent in the processing and collaging rather than the performance, and as part of this production some very spare voice samples have apparently been added to give detail and colour. Two curios result, which we might characterise as a form of restless, minimal, and quite perplexing art-techno, which frequently derails its own rhythms and disappears off into the bleak terrain of hard industrial gloom, only to return and remorph into a twisted variant of instrumental electro-pop disco. You just never know where the switchboard will propel you next. The work is intended as a tribute to a historical naval event at the end of World War I, when Ludwig von Reuter deliberately scuttled the entire German Navy fleet rather than let it fall into enemy hands. The cover art, which the artistes describe as “austere…gunmetal grey” presumably depicts a snapshot from this military fiasco. Accordingly, I kept waiting for the tape to reflect the chaos and violence of the situation (sinking 74 battleships isn’t exactly the same as finding your soap in the bath, I assume), but it never quite gets there. It might be that Gutter Sound are more interested in the secret flag signals which von Reuter deployed to execute his plan. The tape does occasionally smack of hidden codes, and sign language. Arrived 16 March 2015.

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