This is the European Sensoria Band (sometimes known as e+S=B, formerly known as Electronic Sensoria Band) playing in Whelans a while ago. These days every band has a website, a facebook page, a twitter account, a bandcamp page, an electronic press kit, and Christ knows what else, constantly spewing out information about their every coming and going. Not e+S=B. Google any of the variations of their name and you’ll probably stumble across a sporadically updated blog, references to limited edition CD-R releases (but no apparent means of buying them), and occasional videos of them playing in various art galleries and performance spaces around Dublin. I don’t know if the concept of underground music has much meaning anymore but if it does, then e+S=B surely fit that bill.
These guys have serious form though. Drummer and bass player, Dave and Anto Carroll, had a band back in the 90s called Wormhole. Or at least that’s what they were called in the beginning. They subsequently morphed into The Wormholes and then Wormhole Star. Or maybe it was the other way around. Wormhole were a three-piece who played noisy, chaotic gigs that usually ended in extended improvised guitar smashing noise. They could hardly play their instruments but it didn’t matter as they had amazing songs and made a glorious sounding racket. Their debut album, Chicks Dig Scars, independently released when such a thing was almost unheard of in Dublin, is something of a minor classic. They landed a record deal with Roadrunner records in the UK who, as is often the way, rejected their follow-up, and then dropped them from the label. A bunch of increasingly left-field releases followed, and then they more or less disappeared from view at the end of the decade.
A few years ago though, the two brothers started to pop up now and again as e+S=B, with multi-instrumentalist Fergus Cullen brought into the fold. e+s=B are a very different proposition to Wormhole. In retrospect, Wormhole’s celebrated guitar freakouts now seem like frustrated attempts to push the music somewhere else, a rock band attempting to stretch the limits of the form. e+S=B though come across like a group whose deep immersion in all sorts of strands of experimental music from free jazz to krautrock has allowed them to take that somewhere else as a starting point, and then see where it takes them.
The picture at the top is a 7 minutes and 30 seconds exposure. There appears to be four figures on the stage but there’s only three in the band. That’s because I left the shutter open for two songs. The first had Dave out from behind the drumkit and singing a cover of Hello Skinny by the Residents. For the second piece he was back on the sticks. e+S=B are playing in The Joinery on the 10th of September with the equally excellent Thread Pulls. Not to be missed.