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IFA ElectronicsNői Kabát
Soft Riot
IFA Electronics

The Waiting Room, London
Thursday July 11 2013



Something electronic is stirring under a pub in Stoke Newington.

IFA Electronics
have set out their stall - almost literally. The band (if they are a band) comprises two blokes standing behind a table full of gear, which they prod and tweak and adjust at intervals while a fizz and shudder of electric noise fills the air.

I don't know if it's all being improvised on the spot, or whether there are structured songs, of a sort, in there somewhere. One of the blokes is Ryan Ambridge, previously of Linea Aspera, who were synthpop songsmiths of some standing. He's certainly taken a step into left field with this project. Sonic art, it seems, straight from the worktop of the electronic kitchen.

If IFA Electronics stand behind their gear, Jack Duckworth - the sole proprietor of Soft Riot - puts himself at the centre of his technology. He cuts a slightly beleagured figure, sitting amid piles of machinery, wires festooned all over the place. It's as if the hardware is ganging up on him. But, somehow, he wrestles his appliances into submission, and a fuzzy, throbbing, early-Cabs, neo-Eno sound emerges from the kit pile.

Soft RiotThe Soft Riot ouevre zig-zags from ambience to danceable beat-based excursions, and although there's nothing so conventional as an instant floor filler in there, it would probably only take a remix or two to haul Soft Riot onto the dancefloor. That song with the synth line that sounds oddly akin to Europe's 'The Final Countdown' could be a good candidate for the makeover.

But I suspect Soft Riot would resist any such move towards the mainstream. The machines would probably mutiny.

Női Kabát, a name which looks enticingly techie and intellectual at first glance, actually means 'woman's coat' in Hungarian. A deadpan joke on non-Hungarian speakers (which, let's face it, is going to be most of the world), and possibly a hint that the band won't be entirely po-faced about their art.

All of a sudden, we make that move towards the dancefloor that the previous two bands steadfastly resisted. For Női Kabát are a synths 'n' drums outfit who are entirely at home with The Beat. The organic pummelling of the drum kit drives the songs forward with an implacable energy, while phat swathes of electro-noise circle like radar sweeps. Over all this a vocalist emotes tremendously, like all the best bits of Marc Almond and Dave Gahn combined into Női Kabátone human being.

Now and then it all goes a bit Giorgio Moroder: sequences stutter and the drums box their ears. , but there's always that clear, swooping vocal out front, nailing Női Kabát's essential identity as the rhythms hammer away.

Weirdly, the big finish, in which the synth-controller chap suddenly produces an angle grinder and a sheet of metal and does that stream of sparks thing, looks oddly awkward. It's a bit of a dated gimmick - very mid-90s, very Mutoid Waste Company - and coming as it does at the climax of a set of robust, barrelling synthpop it looks bizarrely out of place.

Női Kabát don't need to employ this kind of trick, not when they're so good at making a noise like a mash-up of Fad Gadget and LCD Soundsystem falling downstairs in a barrel. Never mind the stunts, gentlemen. The music's good. Let it do the work.





Női Kabát: Website | Facebook

Soft Riot: Website | Facebook

IFA Electronics: Facebook

For more photos from this gig, find Női Kabát by name here.

Page credits: Words, photos and construction by Michael Johnson. Nemesis logo by Antony Johnston. Red N version by Mark Rimmell.

Words and photos in Nemesis To Go by Michael Johnson are licenced under Creative Commons. You may copy and distribute this material, or derivations of it, provided that you give a credit to Michael Johnson and a link to Nemesis To Go. Where material from other sources is used, copyright remains with the original owners. All rights in the name 'Nemesis To Go' and the 'N' logo are retained.