From Shunya’s opening salvo of manipulated public service announcement samples to his closing volley of beats akin to Four Tet’s ‘Pinnacle’ coupled with a plumply squelching synthetic bassline, his performance is part accomplished band leader and part unruly, restless kid at the back of the class.
Beforehand, an AV show saw music by Sophro and images by Atipyka. Against a backdrop of the latter’s colourful palette and punctuating two strobe columns, Sophra’s vocalist, Deimante Pranckeviciute, blows mellifluous lyrical breezes through the packed upstairs room – memorably on the 808 State synth chords of ‘Shadows of the Fire’.
Almost as soon as his recognisable Irish twang introduces the show, Shunya’s quasi-trademark metronome clicks lighten the air around the sweaty, linearly laid out bar. The Manchester-based multi-instrumentalist behind the Shunya pseudonym, Alan Keary, mans the control room: back and centre of the stage, in command of the picturesque niche of sonic space between sub bass sampling, gently plucked violin, slung like a guitar, and whatever else he deems to lay his hands on.
For this gig, he fronts a small and flexible gang, made up of jazzy keys, shuffling, BadBadNotGood-esque sticksmanship and the soaring vocal chords of Hayley Williams, notably illustrated by her dual vox duel on ‘Do Be Do Be Do’ alongside Keary.
Keary’s whimsical charm sets the scene, but aside from treating himself to a high-end bass solo, the limelight is shared and myriad examples of virtuosity shine through.
The gig took place at Dulcimer bar in Chorlton on Wednesday 20 April, 2016.