In a remarkably short amount of time, Komputer have gone from just another name I 'd heard to being one of my favourite live acts. Although I admire the bold ideas behind their second Mute album, Market Led, I found that the jam session nature of the compositions works far, far better live than it does in the sterile confines of the studio (no matter how homespun it might be). So, even though this was my third opportunity to hear this duo perform tracks from their current release, I still looked forward to it with enthusiasm. The fact that the gig was to take place on a market stall in the middle of a busy Sunday's trading at Spitalfields Market was also very appealing.
The Komputer stall (for that's what it was) was set up between a shop selliing wicker baskets and the Tandoori Hut food stall. Mothers with pushchairs, skate kids hanging out, shoppers, strollers, Eastenders and market traders slowly gathered around as Komputer set out their stall. It seemed that it was the uncommon sight of sampler, sequencer and drum machine that drew many to pause and take notice. There appeared to be more of these than fans who knew about the gig specifically seeking them out, although I did get chatting to an American fan (from Boston) of the band who happened to be holidaying in London and read about the gig.
There were makeshift signs stuck around the perimeter of the stall announcing "Live on stall at 1pm and 5pm" and "New CD £10". As David fiddled with buttons to produce an amblin ambient start to the day, Simon occasionally called out in true barrow boy fashion: "Get your CDs here - £10 each or two for £20!". It was an odd sight as the rest of this historical, bustling East End market went about its business.
Of course, this unusual live location was not selected at random. To help make ends meet, the Komputer lads have part-time jobs breaking down the stalls at the market. It was whilst going about this daily deconstruction that they found discarded LPs - the stuff that even hardened London market traders couldn't shift. In an act of salvage, they saved the vinyl from landfill and instead used the obscure releases as the source for their latest sample-driven release. Hence the title - the release really was market-led.
As with all their gigs and despite their reliance upon technology, this was mainly a non-linear, freeform tour around Market Led. They did include a fantastic and heavily reworked version of Looking Down on London from their Kraftwerkian homage debut, The World of Tomorrow, that again proved to be a highlight of the entire days work. As the sun set through the CO2 and the modest audience slowly drifted back to their everyday lives, it was clear to me once more that in David Baker and Simon Leonard England has two truly remarkable talents of which it can be justifiably very proud indeed.