A feast for the senses this one.
Buried in an unlikely residential area of Brighton, Coachwerks is a visually exciting venue. A converted bus depot / workshop, now a warren of small studios housing artists, printmakers, photographers, musicians and other varied creatives. The main performance space is vast and apart from having a proper dance floor fitted and a coat of gallery white on the walls, it looks pretty much the same as when it was used for mending coaches I imagine. I particularly like the way the light changes over the course of this evening due to the transparent roof of the main performance space. Cosy too, when the large clay oven is lit, heats up and the smell of freshly made pizza fills the space.
Let’s not dally; here’s what was served this evening:
Anthony Murphy Trio
A trio of a poet (Anthony Murphy), a noise guitarist (Adam Lygo) and improvisor (Euphonious Murmur Blend). Noises plus poetry/spoken word is not something Lygo/EMB have tried before, although they have tried many permutations of Noise guitar combined with noise(s) guitar over the last few years (releases on SOK and Hive Music and The Sound Projector)... This performance is their first as a trio, ahead of an album slated for release toward the end of 2010 I gather. From the evidence presented here; a restrained yet clouded backing of electronic murmurings, scrapes, hums, crackles and a smattering of zither, under the unprocessed clarity of Murphy’s stark, alliterative prose, the album should intrigue. Murphy’s stories involve pub settings, psychological flailing, parental responsibilities confronted, nature, fist fights, love, loss.....the usual literary collection of human curiosities, and even a bit of English civil war history. Will be interesting to see how this unit develops.
Benefitting from the extra space afforded them by this good size venue, vocalists hhh stretch themselves somewhat tonight. The boy hare descends into primalism while girl hare soars, croaks and squeals to the point where, eyes shut, she backs away from her mic sending her amplified shadow slowly away. Boy hare seems unaware of this aspect of their performance, although he becomes bassier and more distraught in sympathy. A characteristically short set ends with girl hare away from us and herself in reveries completely unamped with boy hare clutching every oxygen particulate he can get his head to swallow. Completely engrossing.
Shadows on the wall side lit mask tics and fidgets birdlike
Guitar sounded with small fan alone was regularly repositioned about the prone guitar body
Tendons bubble around tan brow vein beaded brittle chord
Bedlam hum stopped short of fabric collapse caught weightless
Gilded sun bloom hydrogen flame
Only the second performance (version) of Euphonious Murmur Blend’s new composition For Uma Devi, a pseudo-psychotropic glittering tour de force manipulating sounds from a 1989 solo guitar piece into unrecognisable fragments of crystal lysergy. One moment shining; bell-like the next - worming away in a dark jetstream of lower mids. A trifle short at 13 or 14 minutes perhaps, but enjoyable nonetheless.
Best use of a looping device in live performance i’ve yet seen i think. That’s a bold claim but seriously, this boy is good. Voice, drumstick, tubular metal cutlery holder from Ikea, perhaps the ubiquitous lime green Line 6 looping pedal plus some kind of distortion device. God alone knows what other electronic shicanery he had perched on that table; not a lot perhaps only one or 2 more unrecognisable devices but then its not the fx we’re interested in, by god, its what the hell’s he doing with it??? The big question for tonight. Whatever it is, its dark, physical, weird and scary. Scary in so many different ways; in a schlock horror way, a how come he’s so good way, a jesus i think he’s actually summoning something up here way, a do you think he’s okay way... And possibly the biggest potential. Watch him like a hawk.
Heavy, striking drone-ambient 3 piece. Two immobile; seated, seemingly placid participants and the bass wielding clown-masked one muttering half-heard utterances, performing against a professional looking kaleidoscopic dvd backdrop wrought, it turns out, from Russia’s first commercial horror movie. Faces obscured; a subtle air of foreboding or menace? Or an attempt to introduce faintly comic reassurance? As the set progresses, the various electronic chitterings and evil samples get pinned down by a monotone bass part, the video backdrop becomes ever more lysergic and from time to time even, perhaps worryingly, vaguely erotic. The climax of HRT’s set involved the mystery men wandering off to James Joyce (i think) grinding out from a portable cassette deck. Highly recommended.
Adam Lygo’s Club Silencio (4) next due November 2010 at Coachwerks, Brighton.