Photo by Beatriz Gonçalves
Brighton’s Elizabeth Bernholz aka Gazelle Twin brings her enlightening avant-garde, electronic-strange to Manchester’s Soup Kitchen. Joe sunk in for the ride.
When Gazelle Twin takes the stage there’s already a tension in the air; in part the genuinely unsettling drones and part the kind of shaky reverence reserved for artists who have a genuine air of the unexpected about their live shows.
When she creeps onto stage, she’s in the modern jester outfit that has sparked a bizarre bout of music journalist descriptive one-upmanship (have a go yourself, it’s just British folk horror reference + faintly patronising sportswear reference) and twisting her limbs in some genuinely unsettling Sadako contortions. It’s the sort of thing that, even when Kate Bush did similar, could feel a bit am-dram if you’re not in the right head space. But I am, and it’s shitting me right up.
The set is divided between this sort of atmosphere; one that uses recorder and her particular form of ominous electronics to summon an uncanny creeping tension, and something altogether more unexpected. When the pace of the tracks picks up the proximity of the beats to Grime becomes entirely apparent. Tracks which on record let the drones and noise take centre stage reveal themselves as hidden bangers.
Dieu et mon droit becomes a convulsing bus of a thing, a metallic bull ricocheting about the room whilst she dances. Better In My Day hinges on her hissed whispers, every word feeling like an about-turn but never losing its momentum. By the time lead single Hobby Horse comes around it feels there is no more space to go into; that realistically the intensity must have peaked. Then it comes out like early Swans covered on a water damaged fisher price toy and it’s genuinely astonishing. Spinning through terror, convulsing fury, absurdity and doom; the set is perfect for the meta-modern riot of the times. Shatteringly good.
By Joe Creely