ERC live review from Llama festival:
The Eccentronic Research Council emerged after dark, skulls perched precariously atop their vintage Korg and Moog analogue synthesisers, looking out at the audience through blank, shadowed sockets. They performed a series of songs and chants linked by a narrative which evoked the spirit of the Pendle witches, ten of whom who were tried and executed in 1612. This is territory which has already been obliquely explored by Lancastrian electronica duo Demdike Stare, who take their name from the alias of one of the witches, Elizabeth Southerns, a crone who lived in Pendle Forest. Autobahn 666, played on Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone show on Radio 6 a few weeks ago, charted a modern route into this charged terrain (it was the A666 as read by Maxine Peake), and suggested that something of the spirit of those dark days was still inherent in the landscape. The music, pulsing synth tones driving repeated vocal incantations, was combined with a visual projection and narration, authoritatively spoken by Maxine Peake, whose pale visage and intense gaze was perfect for the part. I was reminded of the song Scarlet Ceremony from the Ghost Box LP The Owl’s Map by Belbury Poly, which samples Michelle Dotrice’s diabolical invocation from the 1971 ‘rural ritual’ horror film Blood On Satan’s Claw (another filmic touchpoint here, perhaps). The three female singers and keyboard players were definitely going for (and achieving) the witch as seductive temptress archetype, as opposed to the alternate aspect of the hook-nosed and waning moon-chinned crone which flashed on the screen against dark silhouetted woods alongside them (the fearful Demdike herself). Musical mastermind Adrian Flanagan skulked behind his synth, emerging to shuffle out to the front of the stage like a hulking inquisitor, ready to take his own sweet time. He suspended his microphone from one of the overhead stage stanchions, turning into the representation of a gibbet, the amplifying bulb at the end swaying like a pendant body (strange Lancastrian fruit). Jane Weaver appeared at some point in nun’s habit to sing a few condemnatory lines, effectively sealing the witches’ fate. But their spirit and power lives on, suffusing the barren plateau of Pendle Hill and its surrounds, awaiting the right incantations and electronic pitches to resonate through the millstone grit and awaken them once more. Taken from the excellent ‘SParks in Electrical Jelly’ Blog.. original Blog review appeared here.