Organ Grinder's Monkey (the hugely talented Ben Garnett and his laptop
Bill) showcased what can be done with modern music technology when
approached with genuine creativity and ingenuity...
songs were both well crafted and melodic whilst simultaneously using
the technology to give a free form feel as sound effects, delays,
echoes and all sorts of electronic wizardry chewed up and spat out the
neat guitar lines and vocals into all sorts of interesting directions
over the top of some solid beats. The set was also an interactive one
for those in the Saturday night Albert crowd as not only were they
compelled to 'Take A Step Forward (Into The Semi-Circle Of Doom)' and
fill the front of the floor but one audience member was even able to
take control of 'Up, Down, Left, Right, A-Start' and remix the end of
the performance live! Ben finished the set with a bit of showmanship
with closing number 'Everything I Do Goes Wrong' as the electronic
effects intentionally threw the song off course and Garnett fled from
the stage and out the side door with his laptop "Bill" screaming out a
torrent of noise - leaving our resident emcee Roy Weard unsure whether
to take to the mic and announce the end of the set!"
Review of Zero Life Experience EP
Garnet aka The Organ Grinder’s Monkey returns with his guitar and
palette of creative ideas, mutated by his laptop in all directions.
the introduction to ‘Take A Step Forward’ jumps between the speakers
the multi-layered guitar and staccato bursts of percussion are embraced
by an electronic mandolin sound and treated vocal. All a bit lo-fi, but
strangely addictive. ‘Up, Down, Left, Right, A-Start’ is an up-tempo
twist on an 80s video game soundtrack with retro vocoder voice. A nice
synth (or is it guitar?) break ending and a catchy chorus. ‘Falling In
Love With A Cartoon Character’ is a strange nightmare indeed, with less
electronics and plenty of vocals.
The title track is more
mellow, quite soothing but those electronic ‘glitches’ keep invading
(of course) to give it an edge. The final song ‘Christopher’ has an
atonal marching piano figure behind a nostalgic lyric with a downbeat
ending. Lots of keyboard textures here, subtly drawing attention to the
Distinctive and bold artwork by Amy Deer complements this
welcome new EP, with a sad-looking character emerging from the water,
possibly followed by icebergs/bottles/people..? This ambiguity
reflecting the music perfectly…"
up is The Organ Grinder’s Monkey, Ben with his shiny guitar and helter
skelter rhythms. I’m still not used to anyone being organised enough to
monitor their set with stereo headphones while they play and he
displays some nifty footwork controlling things with a midi footpad.
starts with an old song and belts through the first half at a pretty
snappy pace ending up with the song where he hands a gameboy controller
out to the audience (this time Kristian) who really gets into it,
chopping and filtering stuttering and laughing like a drain playing
havoc with Ben’s tune while he thrashes away on stage. Its a nice
juxtaposition and you can really see the advantage of headphones for
this one as he’d be lost trying to play along to what’s issuing from
Organ Grinder’s Monkey is talented guitarist Ben Garnett, inextricably
linked to his laptop (‘Bill’), together on a restless quest to alter
the form and structure of song. Describing the sound as ‘lo-fi
glitch-rock’, he plays guitar and sings, interacting with loops and
effects, triggered by guitar, pedals and voice.
participation was taken to a new level when one of the crowd was given
a controller for a personal real-time mix of one of the songs. In ‘See
This Through’ at the end of the set, the staccato bursts of bass and
percussion invaded the existing complex structure of melody and
The ideas are strong, as conventional songs they
stand up anyway but the constant diversions and changes sustain the
listeners’ interest. Have a listen on Soundcloud, including some
intriguing remixes of other people's songs…"
he was supported by The Organ Grinder’s Monkey, a fitting support slot
for another former Cambridge performer Ben Garnett. Ben describes his
current solo project as “lo-fi glitch rock”, which seems pretty
accurate to me. It’s a man and his laptop – plus a guitar and more
pedals than the Tour de France – having fun and experimenting with
sound, mostly to great effect.
I hate to use the word ‘clever’
about music, as I can’t help but think it sounds derogatory in some
way, but this is clever music. I’ve rarely seen someone take such care
in making the drama of their music fit the lyrics of each song, and it
works beautifully (if usually distortedly too).
about losing control (while letting someone with a game controller
distort what he’s playing) to singing about everything always going
wrong (having asked us to boo him off at the end and then having the
laptop glitch up at the end), this is as much about performance as it
is the music itself (which is great in and of itself). Highly