Getting off the London Overground on a cold and foggy November evening and finding myself in the increasingly gentrified surrounds of Hackney, the technicolour grandeur of Deradoorian’s masterful debut solo record, The Expanding Flower Planet feels like a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…
Yet as soon I walk into the Moth Club tonight (3rd November), the first of the evenings many transmutations takes place. It’s the perfect venue for her, a room steeped in tradition (it was an ex-servicemen’s club) that has tables running down both sides, where people can sit whilst having a glass of wine or three. But its arched roof, covered in gold glitter-paint, complimented by the gold streamers at the back of the stage feels suitably psychedelic.
When she and her sister Arlene come on to play their two woman show they set the mood and theatre of the evening immediately. Standing face to face, sideways on to the audience, they start emitting what can only be described as chanting noises, with a sampler recording them and playing back their voices in wonderfully disorientating and discombobulating loops.
At one point Deradoorian constructs a vocal pirouette of such intricacy she creates a sound so enormous that I’ll wager The Moth Club hasn’t heard anything like it.
The vocal gymnastics uncoil for a good three minutes before they come to an abrupt stop and the bassline of The Expanding Flower Planet’s closing song “Grow” opens proceedings proper and in doing so moves the music from chanting to Madrigals effortlessly. A flute sample heralds the second part of the song, where the drums come in. With their side on stance to the audience, there’s no question that this is performance art, but of the immersive, rather than aloof kind.
The Randy Newman like 70s funk clavinet keyboard of “Violet Minded” prefaces another set of impossible vocal leaps from Deradoorian, whilst Arleen smacks seven shades of the proverbial from her stand up drum kit making it sound like Keith Moon collaborating with Kate Bush. With their vocal samples played at higher speeds it’s unnerving at times, like the multi-voiced possession scene from The Exorcist, but exhilarating rather than horrifying.
The high hat and snare mutates into her signature song so far and whilst the vocal loop into “A Beautiful Woman”, doesn’t quite come off at first, they start again and the rhythm is as tricky yet danceable as New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”. The sisters add handclaps and Deradoorian provides the vocal with her sister adding the whoops. For all the experimentalism on display tonight, the pure funk of the bassline shows that as much there’s arthouse chops to the performance, the classic musical motifs fit with the songs marvellously.
When she spoke to Best Fit earlier this year, Deradoorian couldn’t conceal her excitement about playing these songs live and tonight you can see why.
The snatches of onomatopoeic singing and sheer cacophony of sound make you wonder how enormous the songs of The Expanding Flower Planet would be live if Deradoorian had a twenty piece band at her disposal. Such a line-up could make the music transcendental, but as it is, armed with their voice and a slew of instruments and samples, the Deradoorian sisters whip up quite a storm on their own.