The Organ Grinder's Monkey
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The Real Music Club, 22nd September 2016:

Live Review

"The 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...

...Garnett's 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!"

Cambridge Music Reviews, 19th March 2016:

Review of Zero Life Experience EP

"Ben Garnet aka The Organ Grinder’s Monkey returns with his guitar and palette of creative ideas, mutated by his laptop in all directions.

As 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 words.

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…"

Spirit of Gravity blog, 15th March 2015:

Live Review

"Second 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.

He 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 the speakers."

Cambridge Music Reviews, 18th June 2014:

Live Review

"The 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.

Audience 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 vocoder.

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…"

Go Play Listen blog, 11th March 2012:

Live Review

"Tonight 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).

From talking 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 recommended."

Sound On Sound, April 2010:

Sound On Sound review