Miles Spilsbury @ The Rose Hill, Brighton, UK, January 25, 2024 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, February 27th, 2024  

Miles Spilsbury

Miles Spilsbury, J. Josephine, A Basic Fault

Miles Spilsbury @ The Rose Hill, Brighton, UK, January 25, 2024,

Feb 01, 2024 Photography by Joseph Johnston Web Exclusive
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To say I was excited about Miles Spilsbury at The Rose Hill would be an understatement. But it might not be for all the reasons you’d expect. Spilsbury was, and is, a member of the exquisite The Physics House Band and his debut album was high on many 2023 end of year lists. All reasons to be counting down the minutes until showtime, but the main reason was it was a Ceremonial Laptop show at The Rose Hill. For some reason this pairing always delivers nights of fried gold. Ceremonial Laptop is a record label, radio show, booker and club night hosts. I’ve never had a bad night with them or seen anything I didn’t like, and the Rose Hill feels like their spiritual home. If you want an example of how special things can be, listen to an early recording of Arthur Leadbetter, you know Arthur from Squid, performing live on the “Vol. 1” cassette they put out in 2018. Expectations were high to say the least.

J. Josephine was first up. The last time I saw them they were supporting Xiu Xiu. That set was atmospheric, droney and touching. The intervening six months has seen the project expand its scope and vision. Part of this is the inclusion of a live double bassist. This gives the soundscapes extra texture and resonance. Also, there is something hypnotic about watching someone steadily bowing away while it sounds like the end of the world echoing around you. This is what it must have felt like on the Titanic as it sank. You know danger is around you, but the music is transfixing.

After a short break, where I made use of the excellent self-service tea bar, A Basic Fault were up next. If J. Josephine is Ying, then A Basic Fault are Yang. The band are relatively new, but you couldn’t tell by the strength of the performance. This trio are comprised of drums/percussion, bass, guitar, vocals and loops/effects. Their set started slowly. A guitar played through a pedal board that would make Kevin Shields have a quick butchers. This distressed sound was an exercise of less is more. From my slow strum the guitar became woozy and wonderful. As the momentum builds, the soundscapes become more complicated, but not unenjoyable. There are similarities to Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, sorry for the obvious shorthand, but also to J. Dilla, Cremation Lily, and overlooked Regal Record band Orange Can. Every member was given a time to shine. Especially the bass. It too was run through a pedal board that gave it a different grain. Near the end of their set some celestial strings were played through a laptop. Over this serene bass, percussion and guitar were played blissing out the crowd.

After another short break, and tea pitstop, it was time for the Miles Spilsbury duo. The duo consisted of Spilsbury and Cameron Dawson on bass. Spilsbury is a multi-instrumentalist jazz musician. From the offing it was obvious that he wasn’t messing about. Saxophone meditations were looped live to create the backbone of songs. Over this Spilsbury added flute, keyboard, piano and percussion instruments. It was droney and delightful. Throughout the 45-minute set Spilsbury displayed why he is an up-and-coming name in the UK jazz scene. His work with The Physics House Band was sublime and his debut album, Light Manoeuvres, was one of 2023’s must have albums. The set worked best when Spilsbury was combining different loops, to create living breathing soundscapes, that he could then solo another instrument over. However, the highlight of the set was when he just played solo upright piano. No effects. No loop. Just straight piano. It was melancholy, but it was still lingering in my psyche on the long walk home. “This is the first time I’ve played these songs as a duo,” said Spilsbury mid set. “It’s fun to try it out”. And the set was fun, but I would argue if Dawson was needed on every song. (This might be down to the live mixing but) His input didn’t add as much as the duo hoped. However, in the final song Dawson got locked in a groove and stayed there throughout. Give Spilsbury a solid bedrock to add some funk/fusion vibes.

Ceremonial Laptop have done it again. Another quality night of forward-thinking music. These nights aren’t for everyone, but if you have the right kind of mind, and open ears, you could find something that not only brightens your day but changes your life.




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