Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Cry Parrot presents: Umberto @ SWG3. 25th February

We ascend SWG3’s stairs to the strains of Badalamenti, and find a Black Lodge stage mock-up (red curtains et al) at the summit. It’s a serendipitous start for an evening promising scares and chills, and Organs of Love fit the creepy atmosphere like a razor-fingered glove. As James T. Wilson hammers out off-kilter drones on the duo’s keyed instrument of choice, Sister Blister’s gothic laments battle through some sound issues to hypnotise the front rows of the venue’s makeshift cinema.

Tonight’s film selection has been kept under wraps, and while sleazy slasher Pieces is very much a cult (i.e. obscure) choice, its barmy opening causes more than one clued-up audience member to squeal with recognition. With dialogue removed, the plot is frequently incomprehensible (though we suspect the non sequitur ninja interruption is unfathomable regardless), but in a genre built on set pieces, key scenes count double. Each time the lady-slicing maniac revs his chainsaw, Umberto’s score injects the resultant bloodletting with visceral menace.

Tucked away in the corner, he’s visually inconspicuous, but the siren stingers that pulsate through the room are wholly unignorable. On occasion, a sly humour peeks through, with beats locking into an onscreen dance rehearsal for instance. But more often, Umberto’s sound is expertly sinister, sinking teeth into a superbly daft vintage horror flick, with enjoyably discomfiting results.

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