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Dronehaus – 12 hours noise, 2 days recovery…

A full 48 hours after the event and I am still reeling from the impact of Dronehaus… It ended up being one of those mad ideas that, with the correct alignment of stars, ended up being a very good idea indeed. At the very end of April, after finding out about National Drone Day in Canada, I decided to stage our own event in Cheltenham and take things International. One enthusiastic message later, and I had a venue willing to let us take over for a full 12 hours, and after half an hour of social networking I had collected together some of my favourite musicians, many of whom wanted to showcase brand new work and collaborations at Dronehaus. Add to this a handmade electronics workshop and enough blank spaces to allow some spontaneity to evolve, and the stage was set for a whole day of unique music.

However, I was not expecting the calibre of performers to be as high as it was, nor the audience to be so enthusiastic and engaged throughout. In order of appearance, we had a stunning opening performance from Party Levitation, segueing seamlessly into the debut performance by Tragedy Magnet which managed to be both tense and beautiful. Febs took the first Open Desk session and filled the venue with some exquisite Lovecraft-inspired atmospherics – no mean feat for a musician who had only started making music when he found out about Dronehaus a couple of weeks before!

Our electronics workshops produced some frightening and uncomfortable noises, and it was an absolute delight to then take these devices into the basement and amp them up – there then ensued an impromptu jam session which caused much hilarity as people tried to get musical results out of their unruly electronics! Tom Cassidy then took the stage and performed an inspired set using his just-assembled noisebox and a suitcase full of effects to coax some drones that were in turns delicate and brutal. Febs then took to the stage once more to perform material he had written the previous hour (!) before we handed over the decks to Woosey, who performed some wonderful beatless electronics that conjured up memories of the best bits of Aphex Twin being bitcrushed into submission. For an open desk session, I couldn’t have wished for a better bunch of drop-in musicians.

After a brief interlude provided by a Dan Cooper mixtape, we moved onto the programmed segment of the evening which kept the bar sensationally high. Kicking off proceedings was MOD, the new project from Amon and Max of Xykogen infamy which was powerful stuff. This was followed by the sinister chip-drone of #CUDDLESQUAD, resplendent with harrowing handmade masks and vocals that seemed to be broadcasting from a portal to hell. Next up was kissmeyourebeautifulthesearetrulythelastdays – a one-man guitar and handmade electronics assault that was alternately abrasive and beautifully fragile.

Then it was time for temp0rary to enter the fray – firstly by joining No Man on stage, who performed first as an A/V piece, and then repeated the performance with live vocals, electronics and video manipulations. It was a huge honour for me to share the stage with Nick and I was really pleased with the power-noise we summoned from the equipment. Somewhere during the No Man set, Adrian arrived from London and set up his equipment and we transitioned more-or-less seamlessly into the temp0rary set – it was an interesting experiment to go longform with 3 pieces of existing work, and give the music a bit of space to evolve and mutate. We then brought the day to a close with a bit of a free-for-all and a well-earned rum!

I really can’t thank the venue, Grumpy Whiskers and all  of their staff enough for letting us have free rein of the venue for 12 hours, and a huge thank you is also due to all of the bands and spectators – and especially those who transitioned from the latter to the former during the day! We’ve been asked back to run a Bleephaus / Dronehaus event on a regular basis and are currently thinking about what shape that might take in the future, but make no mistake – the future is noisy!