Sunroof/Finlay Shakespeare/Brood X Cycles

Iklectik - Old Paradise Yard, London - 10 April 2023

"An opportunity to see two greats of the electronic music scene"

So I received a notification to say that Daniel Miller and Gareth Jones were performing as Sunroof at Iklectik near Waterloo station. For anyone reading this who doesn't know, Daniel Miller is best known as the founder of Mute Records, which established artists such as Depeche Mode, Erasure, Yazoo, Fad Gadget, Goldfrapp, DAF and many others. He also helped produce many of the above artists in the early years and released material on his own as The Normal and the Silicon Teens.

Gareth (aka Tone Meister Gareth Jones) is best know as a record producer including producing John Foxx’s seminal album Metamatic as well as albums by Depeche Mode, Erasure and Wire So the opportunity to see these two greats of the electronic music scene (a term I do not use often) actually perform live was one I could not pass up.

The Venue and Setup
The venue in itself is very interesting it consists of a largish hall or shed (I suspect a capacity of about 100+), with an outside bar and seating area, so it lives up to its Iklectik name 😊. For this night, rather than a stage, there were a number of tables laid out, with various modular synths set up on them – this gave the audience a good chance to look at the tech being used by the artists before the performance.

Brood X Cycles    Brood X Cycles    Brood X Cycles

Photos [L-R]:Brood X Cycles x3

Brood X Cycles
The first act was Brood X Cycles (Nik Colk Void & Alexander Tucker) – who performed the two tables to the side. Whilst the subdued lighting did not make for great photography, it did add to the atmosphere of this evolving and increasingly intricate performance. The rhythms, sounds and effects coming together in almost hypnotic patterns.

Sunroof - Daniel Miller & Gareth Jones    Sunroof - Daniel Miller & Gareth Jones    Sunroof - Daniel Miller & Gareth Jones

Photos [L-R]: Sunroof x3

Having been involved in electronic music myself for many years (and also being on the wrong side of 50), I did ask Daniel Miller before the performance about the complexities of working with devices that had such small interface (knobs, switches, sliders, etc.) and he did reply saying it isn't easy. But I guess the real answer was if you know what you are doing, and know the layout of your equipment, then it becomes more intuitive.

Being able to watch Daniel and Gareth work together at close hand was incredible, and you could see them communicate with various nods and whispers to keep things in synchronisation, and work together to evolve the piece. I suspect that whilst there was an outline plan for the composition, much of the performance was improvised and therefore unique - and about as far as possible from the sequenced song compositions of the artists they produced as you can get.

Finlay Shakespeare    Finlay Shakespeare    Finlay Shakespeare

Photos [L-R]: Finlay Shakespeare x3

Finlay Shakespeare
I have seen Finlay perform numerous times over the past few years, but as ever he went against the direction of the evening, evidently abandoning his modular synths this evening for a more compact Elektron Sequencer-based setup. That said, it did not seem to impact on the range of sounds and improvisation he was able to add to his performance.

Unlike the other two acts, Finlay's performance consisted of more structured songs, and he added his usual energetic vocals. I have to say, Finlay is another artist who continues to get better and better, and his lively set was a great way to end the evening. He even managed to get a couple of encores - so much was the set enjoyed by the audience.

This evening was one of those 10/10 events.

Review + Photos: Mark Smith