In Elephant & Castle’s Corsica Studios, little more than a lonely disco-ball hang as decoration. This makes it one of the few clubs left in London to remain devoid of any superficial glitz or shallow glam. Instead, this is a place for hedonistic music loving. A dance-floor for pill-heads and techno-veterans. But thanks to a handful of promoters, this extraordinary venue has begun to open its doors to music beyond the dance-floor. Corsica Studios may not be the first venue to mind when it comes to live shows and guitar bands. But this May will see performances from Jambinai and Jessy Lanza, and last week, Fire records came to town.
The Fire imprint began as a label for pop that was weird and wonky. Pulp, Half-Japanese, Guided by Voices and Neutral Milk Hotel have all spent time there, exploring the geeky side to psychedelia. During their time at Fire, these bands were more concerned with whimsy and imagination than with politics or true love. The new prodigies of the label, Noveller and Virginia Wing, flow from this neo-psychedelic tradition. But their vision is more futuristic than their daydreaming counterparts. Virginia Wing’s performance in particular was decidedly Sci-Fi. Soft sine-waves and benign alarm-sounds popped around the room, as if at the helm of a spaceship control room. Soaring above the electric hum of machines, a reverb-drenched chorus sang of floating aimlessly through air.
‘Guitar-ambient’ may seem like the kind of thing you’d expect to hear from a busker in Camden. But Noveller’s approach to the genre is by no means incidental. Her hazy walls of noise tower above the audience like ancient monuments. Noveller’s influence also never falls too far from rock roots. Power-stances, doom metal and head-banging all make appearances. Her sound is bold and brilliant: slathered in coats of overdrive and echo. A board of stomp-boxes like that can take the guitar to all kinds of vibrant worlds. This show was something of a precursor to a support slot with Iggy Pop at the Royal Albert Hall. But inside the dank interior of Corsica Studios, Noveller took us from watery caves to open skies.