Moth Club – February 29th

One of London’s more charming new venues, the Moth Club’s glittering tubular ceiling and tinselly backdrop are camp incursions into the former military social club where army insignia hangs on the walls alongside instructive signage reading ‘All children must be off the dancefloor by 8.30pm’. The DJ is squirrelled away onstage in a hutch windowed by wire mesh, which may have been to some advantage on wilder nights in pre-‘desirable’ Hackney. Tonight, this intimate, atmospheric space hosted three men whose low-key demeanour and dress could have led the casual visitor to believe they were about to witness a set of popular cover versions from a Moth Club act of yore.

That these three men included Stereolab co-founder Tim Gane helps to explain why Cavern of Anti-Matter were playing to a sell-out crowd, despite having only just released their first album proper. Joined by synth maestro Holger Zapf and drummer Joe Dilworth, Gane’s serrated guitar chords combined with droning Korg effects to open ‘Tardis Cymbals’, which soon accelerated into an extended thrust of hypnotic motorik, propagating a set of pulsing, progressive instrumentals. Zapf’s inspired oscillations tended to set the tone, atop Dilworth’s propulsive beats and Gane’s pealing harmonics and overdrive, all giving Cavern Of Anti-Matter a harder edge than his previous project.

When these frequently lengthy workouts drifted into jam-session territory, the band subtly shifted gear, throwing in the distorted rocky uplift of ‘Insect Fear’ or the dreamy euphonic psych of ‘Kool Boy Narcosis’. And during the set’s acid-oriented best, when Zapf’s mesmerising arpeggios were shuddering the soundsystem, Cavern of Anti-Matter evoked a widescreen trancey euphoria quite at odds with the small surrounds and the band’s static presence. Their cinematic soundtrack was designed to engross by sonic heft alone. It didn’t work for everyone: the heckler who, clearly not satisfied by the string of fairy-lights draped over the DJ hutch, shouted, “Get some visuals. Give us something to look at”, certainly had a point. This wasn’t a spectacle. Nonetheless, the muffled shout from the band – they had no microphones – announcing ‘Hi-Hats Bring The Hiss’ as the last song was greeted with customary groans. “It’s a long one” (no shit), was the response from the stage and, an hour into their set, Cavern Of Anti-Matter were soon immersing us once again in an addictively complex blend of syncopated sine-waves and wordless Krautrock rhythm.

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