There’s something delightfully DIY about R.Seiliog’s approach to playing live. It makes perfect sense, for instance, that the North Wales-based producer performs tonight with his gear perched on a makeshift table constructed of a redundant washing machine and other assorted garage salvage junk, with an orange lampshade seemingly borrowed from an old folks’ home behind him providing a homely glow.
Clearly, there’s no need for expensive lazars, dry ice and snazzy light shows here: because although R Seiliog – real name Robin Edwards – uses an array of equipment every bit as ramshackle and un-showy as his surroundings, all the fireworks and dazzling you require is contained within the music he produces. Running a series of loops on his laptop through a collection of battered effects boxes and a mini-mixing desk, he constantly tweaks and sculpts his way through a set, concentrated on his excellent recent ‘Shedhead’ EP with his hooded top worn up over his head, strands of his shoulder length hair sticking out at either side.
What does come across strongly is something which so many electronic artists often miss – a real sense of live exploration and improvisation. There are moments when the dubby effects overwhelm the mix, or an unintended crackle cuts through, but the imperfections only serve to remind us that we’re listening to a one-off performance. Most of the time, though, he skilfully aids the deftly balanced concoction of sweet melodies, shutter-snapping rhythms and background ambience to climax after climax, the live manipulation adding a drama and momentum to each composition.
It’s no surprise, then, that although tonight’s audience at club night Dictionary Pudding arrives knowing little about him, many of them leave confirmed fans. Tracks like ‘Cloddio Unterdach’ combine simplicity and unabashed beauty with intricately detailed, complex sonic detail, rather like watching a single ray of light being refracted by a mirrorball. There’s also a refreshing lack of dogma here too, as he switches from four-to-the-floor techno thump to spaced out ambience and Autechre-esque electro polyrhythmic, apparently caring little for fitting into the constricting genre pigeonholes of dance music.
It’s hard to pick one highlight, as this short and sharp set has plenty, but if pushed the swooping, majestic grandeur of ‘Hyni In The Hivemind’ is as good as any. But, as Edwards shuts his laptops and gives two thumbs up in a manner that’s every bit as positive and friendly as the west he’s just delivered, you’d have no hesitation in recommending him as one of the most natural and enjoyable live electronica experiences about.