As I enter the unassuming New Cross church which is hosting the second monthly Resolution event, I’m immediately unsure if I’ve got the right room. Through the pitch black, I can just about distinguish a handful of silhouettes lying motionless, as if hypnotised by what is at this point a faint, droning ambience. It slowly blossoms into a delicate, welcoming soundscape and I’m made aware by a stark projection on the back wall that it is, in fact, an ambient piece by one of Resolution’s three founders, Charles Vaughn.
This self-sufficient thread runs through all facets of Resolution, making it all the more surprising when the first live act of the evening Henrik Blomfelt - himself an architect of Resolution - has his set amplified by an intricate surround-sound setup designed by the boys themselves and complimented by a live video performance from the night’s third mastermind Ed Cain. Blomfelt’s delicate and considered ambient exploration is mirrored in atmosphere by Cain’s visual, and the impression is of a singular artwork that has taken meticulous preparation. I later learn that Blomfelt totally rethought his set just half an hour before playing, which soundly demonstrates why his is a name worth remembering.
Charles Vaughn’s live performance follows, and marks a dramatic departure from his ambient work showcased earlier. He seems to pluck at random from a huge tree of influences; dubstep (in its earliest forms) and distinctly British bass work here, abstract electronica there. It culminates in an overblown live synth solo which rides a flurry of breakbeats, just long enough to be exhilarating without risking being overly intense.
Next are Sea Songs, who begin to truly put Resolution’s stunning 12.2 surround-sound rig through its paces. Their brand of electroacoustic improvisation is dark, tortured and powerful, as John Harries’ rumbling, dissonant electronics clash with violinist Chloe Owen’s brilliantly abrasive textures. Half of the room is sat, half are standing, neither half can decide what would work better here, that seems to be the point. Either way, Sea Songs receive a great reception from what is proving to be a respectful, receptive and above all large crowd.
Graham Dunning plays next and provides the audience with their first opportunity of the evening to properly dance, which is gratefully taken. The interface of the coding software Dunning works with as part of his setup is projected on the back wall and distorted by psychedelic visual effects, which seems to simultaneously provide an insight into his creative process and remind of the alien nature of its complexities, though ultimately it’s the music that shines here. His primal and percussive techno fills the room with dancers and all of a sudden we’re in a state-of-the-art club.
The night’s headliners ORKA capitalise on the energy Dunning found in the room and fill the space to the brim. As a live techno duo whose sound frequently borders on industrial, there is a certain performative element to their show that ORKA can’t shake, though luckily their effortless, heads-down charisma seems simply to amplify their deformed electronic mutations and the unique atmosphere in the room borders on that of a punk show as I’m reminded of the provocative and intense performances of their Bristol-based live techno peers (and presumably fellow animal lovers) Giant Swan.
Just as ORKA’s set is ending, Ed Cain tells me someone from ‘the church next door’ has bust their way in and demanded the volume be brought down. What they were doing congregating near midnight on a Friday in November is anyone’s guess, though Resolution’s goal was simple: provide a great night for a clubgoer down for a unique experience, and this they achieved with ease.