Sunday, 21 August 2016


The Green Door Store, Brighton, Fri 19th August

Featuring both the guitarist and drummer from Bo Ningen, pyschedelic noise purveyors and Lucid Frenzy fave, Xaviers might seem their side project. But they're dominated by the keyboards of Kenichi Iwasa, the guitar lines often as metronoic as the drums. In fact for the one section the guitar takes to the fore he immediately switches to secondary drums.

To this day, there are those who associate space rock with prog. Yet his child's-play stabs couldn't have been further from their sophisticated swooshes, a buzzing biplane against a Red Arrows display. His cheap, insistent and off-kilter lines lead the band through one long improvised number.

They're strongly Krautrock influenced, never a bad thing in my book. And Krautrock of course can mean either the propulsive rhythms of Neu!, so much a forerunner of the repetitive beats of dance music, or the deranged freak-outery of Faust. Except Xaviers somehow manage to cover both of those styles at the same time. It's a set which lurches forward like a drunken robot. Imagine the clanking castle on chicken legs of 'Howl's Moving Castle' combined with the humanising imperfection of Wall-E. (This analogy is handily pictured.) You were never quite sure whether it would be able to keep going, while it actually assaulted your senses for a full set length with none of the longeurs impro can lead into.

From listening you'd have no idea how proficient the musicians were or even if they had any idea themselves how it was working. It might have been propelled by sheer forward motion for all we knew. And it's refreshing to see such a safety last approach to taking to the stage. The band name comes, I would assume, from the psi powered head of the X-Men. And they certainly seem possessed of advanced telepathic powers.

An earlier, and less keyboard-led, set from London...

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