Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Review; Colour out of Space Festival, Brighton, Sunday 7th September, 2008...





































Sunday. Unfortunately I missed the films at midday due to a prior gig and wasn't grabbed by the afternoon talk/panel (my loss I'm sure) so just came down for the last evening. Again, I was a little selective – stayed in the main hall throughout so didn't get to everything – but that's the nature of festivals... By the way - the first image is from a boozer over the road from the festival - the jakes in Hector's House... very anarcho-punk, dudes... but the booze was cheap and it was good to hear Kraftwerk again...

Black to Comm: Quite delicate traceries building into a solid drone that developed intriguingly. Flecked with 'small instruments' and violin.

Muscletusk: Again, great programming as they were a complete contrast to the previous act. Noise rock meets freejazz drumming shot through with electronics and good use of dynamics. I thought they were great!

Graham Phillips/G Park: Another programmatic contrast. These two take a much more theatrical performative stance. The lights were taken right down, the curtains pulled over the doors. Out of the ensuing pitch blackness two lights appeared on stage – like miners' helmets – necessary for the duo to see the sound sources on their respective tables. But also: acting as minute focal points if somewhat eery. A clangour – bell sounds moving into darker noise. Creaking doors – we are in the haunted house, made more atmospheric by the darkness. Then what seemed to be a scrawling veering dizzying ride on an aeroplane, spinning out of control, accompanied by shouts, cries, screams of scared passengers. This became quite unsettling – close to the bone for many? Some people did leave, too disturbing? In my mind I would like to think the plane righted its course - but more was to come. Slaughterhouse dance macabre – sharp shocks of sound interweaving with the plaintive baas of sheep. Human and animal mortality at stake here? My private movies, anyway – a genuinely harrowing experience... even in the realisation that this was clever manipulation. Edgy brilliance...

Pigs in the Ground: 'Inspired by the work of Necrosearch Society of Colorado – forensic pathologists who bury swine corpses and study the results to discern the whereabouts of clandestine graves...' When you have read this description of their music in the program notes, it colours your perception – certainly the deep bass and scuttling rattles give an air of the subterranean, dark condensed spaces and movements of earth. Shifting into a more defined beat with a jerky one two march figure – the troll two step? Bass melody moves in and out... spartan vocal gestures. As colour.. wafts of more defined rhythms. Another great set – this weekend has given out some good music...

Lionel Marchetti/Yoko Higashi: Marchetti has been a wheel in musique concrete for some time, moving into more improvised strategies in the nineties. Hagashi came from the dance world in Tokyo before developing her vocal projects. Collectively they provided another highlight of the weekend – moving across from the more academic to the poppier ends of the spectrum with ease, in the main. A striking couple, one can see/hear the disparate worlds they inhabit mesh into the performance – not always an easy fit, perhaps, but that gives the occasional misstep that is picked up quickly an added piquancy, a lift of spontaneity, the fun of a chance taken...













To the end of the night: Corsano/Moore/Nace. The drummer – a revelation. I know his recorded work pretty well, but have missed him all over the UK these last couple of years. My loss. Live, he is just plain awesome. It's not just the flawless technique, but the FEEL... He is a striking figure, looking very young, the shaven head gives him a monk-like appearance and that re-inforces, perhaps, the purity of vision that seems to be at work here. The two guitarists, Thurston Moore, a co-founder of Sonic Youth, of course, who has developed his career into the free improv arena (and beyond) in recent years with many collaborations and solo projects, Bill Nace a new name to me, from Northampton, Mass, smash and burn across the truly mind-rattling percussive storm behind them. Hi-octave stuff... This was about smears of sound, guitars battered and pummeled to yield loud emotional ecstasies. Corsano carries the whole shebang, pausing occasionally, to give space to his cohorts – and no doubt to catch his breath. One small example of his technique – during a fast-spattering passage, he kept the rhythms going with one hand while he changed sticks with the other – and it sounded just as complex... A demonstration of how free jazz and avant-rock/noise can coexist and feed each other – which was one of the underlying theme of the festival, come to think of it...

So, a wild end to a great weekend. Salutations to the Brighton crew who put all this together with skill and good humour. Given the logistics of swapping so many diverse acts about and sound-checking etc, the musicians wheeled themselves on and off in good order, a truly collaborative effort on their part as well – no prima donnas spotted (doesn't mean there weren't any but it wasn't obvious). The relatively short sets helped, I think, concentrated bursts in the main of great, thoughtful, innovative, epiphanic wahoo... etc... Plus imaginative programming, contrasting the varieties of conception on display to good advantage. Everything I heard I liked, so I left happy. And it is rare to be able to say that... The packed crowd enjoyed it in good order throughout– even the drunks were in the main amusing – apart from the young gobshite behind me on Saturday off whose head I was tempted to whang a half-full can of Red Stripe at one point. But: that would have soured the evening, probably got me thrown out – and would have been a waste of expensive booze. I'm too old for that malarkey, anyway...

Hope to be back next year... My first time in Brighton, as well. Great town...

Posted from The Ranelagh, up on St James Street - on tap country/blues - an interesting contrast...







2 comments:

SoG said...

Cheers, thanks for taking the time.

Geoff

Rod... said...

My pleasure...