Reading the review of Murcof’s show at the Peter Harrison Planetarium in London on the excellent Mapsadaisical just notched up my expectations for this Glasgow date even further than they were (and they were pretty notched). I left it feeling pretty deflated. I wasn’t expecting a full planetarium-style experience – the Arches aren’t really suitable, but I thought there’d be a little more than just Fernando Corona standing behind a steel table, mouse in hand gazing at his Apple. No visuals, no lights, no nothing. He may as well have streamed the music to the venue via ISDN like FSOL used to do.
I’ve not heard Cosmos yet, so the material was unfamiliar. The older stuff from Remembranza and Martes was stripped of its warm melancholia to leave something harsh and gleaming in its place. It fitted more with the new stuff which seemed to be built around long extended drones. It brought to mind die Kosmische Musik of pre-Virgin era Tangerine Dream mixed with the harsh dissonant harmonics of Phill Niblock. Cosmic sounds indeed. Thinking back on it, there was little to fault the show from a musical standpoint. Maybe I was just sulking ‘cause there were no planets and stars and stuff to look at!
There were two support acts. An experimental trio of laptop, drums and viola (which someone said was played by the artist also known as Frogpocket), and a electro-shoegaze quartet in the Port Royal / Stafraenn Hakon mould who may or may not have been called something like Die Archen or similar. No one expects leftfield musicians to leap on to stage shouting “good evening Glasgow”, but some introduction or acknowledgement, even, that there are people there would help. It was only when they began to dismantle the drum kit at the end of the group’s last song that the audience clicked that they’d finished. If nobody knows who the hell you are, they are hardly likely to look to see you again.
I guess it was a night where my expectations were too high – maybe unrealistically so. If I’d have gone with none, then this review would probably have had a very different flavour. The curse of the optimist, I guess!