One of the things about music is it can create mood. You hear a piece of music and at once it can take you back to a moment in your life, or a mood you felt. I’m sure that when I was younger I had break-up songs and stuff like that, but I can’t remember what they were. I know that Fast Car by Tracy Chapman makes me feel sad, that Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending makes me feel wistful, and on my way to work to a job I hated, the only thing that got me by was Bernard Cribbins ‘Right Said Fred’. I’ve never quite worked out why, but thats the beauty of music, right?
Sheffield’s Blood Sport have a new EP out and its titled ‘ø’. The group, Alex Keegan – Guitar & Effects, Sam Parkin – Drums, and Nick Potter – Bass & Vocals, make unsettling, unnerving even, music. They describe it themselves as ‘We play a mixture of experimental rock, and afrobeat. We’re better at rhythm than we are at melody, but our technical ability has seen a strong upward trend this fiscal year.’
The EP opens with the title track, and straight away there’s that unsettling, experimental, droney noise. Feedback layers on top of the vocal and this repeated keyboard pattern gives it this sort of vaudeville-like horror-film feel. The music continues to shift, moving along while remaining almost static while suddenly the bassline comes to the forefront, driving the melody, as the muttered lyrics continue to give the listener an uneasy feeling. And then it ends, but not before the promised Afrobeat section.
Second up is a demo, Dolla make me Holla, which starts with this Psych-Afro pattern, with a guitar interjecting its experimental ideas, forming and then playing a melody. The track develops into sort of instrumental African sounding Psychobilly, driven throughout almost by these insistent drums, before it crumbles into a unison figure, and disappears. It’s not to be listened to on a dark walk home.
The final two tracks are remixes of an older track Polomar, which experimental artist (also working out of Sheffield) Michael Hobson has transformed into dark, droney soundscapes. His first Hobson sets foot in Polomar (1), sees almost terrifying vocal clips interject with a single ominous tone that grows and takes over until finally erupting into ambient sound, a heartbeat the only thing keeping it human. Hobson sets foot in Polomar (2) by contrast uses fragments of melody to build a more cohesive piece, and much longer, lasting in excess of 12 minutes. It again grows, these fragments steadily seeing the music stagnate in a wash of more ambient sound, it pure echo-laden repetitive nature making it no less eerie that his first effort.
Just like going on that roller-coaster, or watching that Horror film, there’s always that one thing about being scared or being made to feel unnerved or at the very least uneasy that is attractive. The brilliance of this EP from Blood Sport is that you can get the same feeling, free, with the ø EP.