Today

£18 Tickets at the door

NEW IN THE SHOP

HoP warmly welcomes Belgian chantress Annelies Monseré back to the fold. Annelies’s Mares LP (hop17) sold-out last year and was featured on end-of-year lists from The Wire, Boomkat, The Quietus, and Tone Glow to name a few. Recent live shows at Café OTO, Roadburn Festival and supporting HTRK in Brussels prove there’s no sign of her slowing down. Recorded at home in Gent between 2016 and 2023, I Sigh, I Resign retains the intimacy of Mares with it’s close-mic’d keyboards and vocals that capture every breath. Folk and early music are at the core of her sound but the palette of piano, organ, bass guitar, cello, synth and drum machine make it very much a document of the here and now. The cover features Annelies’s sketches referencing female artists from the Dutch Golden Age who, highly revered at the time, now serve as mere footnotes to Rembrandt, Vermeer et al. The cover sets the tone for the music within which deals with power structures, toxic environments, and questioning (his)tories. Standout tracks include the pounding rhythm and choir-like voices on Salt as well as the tense folk/post-rock of Simple Fractures (co-written with her Luster bandmates). The album’s most tender moment is a cover of Jean Ritchie’s Appalachian ballad One I Love played and sung by Annelies and her ten year old son. I Sigh, I Resign is an intimate piece of work that explores personal and general themes which, having played-out for centuries, are still depressingly relevant. Despite the suggestion of defeat in the title, I Sigh, I Resign is an affirming and defiant manifesto for growth and liberation. 

I Sigh, I Resign – Annelies Monseré

First solo release from vocalist, movement artist and composer Elaine Mitchener, whose work encompasses improvisation, contemporary music theatre and performance art. Solo Throat draws on the work of African-American and African-Caribbean poets Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire, Una Marson and N. H. Pritchard as source material for twelve new vocal compositions Elaine Mitchener is a veteran of vocal expression in the global Black Avant Garde, traversing free improvisation, cross-disciplinary music theatre and contemporary composition with clarity and joy. Most recently, Mitchener has been improvising and composing with the written word as source material - challenging classical ensembles with her piece (“the/e so/ou/nd be/t/ween”), and commissioning composers Matana Roberts, Jason Yarde and George Lewis to respond to the work of Sylvia Wynter (“On Being Human as Praxis”, Donaueschinger Musiktage, 2020). Her performance of Umbra poet N.H Pritchard’s text FR/OG at OTO in 2021 was a revelation - a solo vocal recasting of the powerful visual-material form that Pritchard uses to disrupt semantic ‘sense’. Building on this performance, Solo Throat takes the work of Pritchard alongside poets Edward Kamau Brathwaite, Aimé Césaire and Una Marson as its source material. Its compositions are a loose translation - a carrying from text to voice which holds multiplicity and celebrates the transformative power of literary possibility. Surrendered to the spacing and repetition of consonants and vowels, Michener’s exceptional phonetic freedom gives rise to a sensuous experience which intensifies the roles of rhythm, timbre and breath in expressing meaning. Solo Throat comes together as much through difference as similarity. Mitchener’s own solo improvisations sit alongside the work of Brathwaite, Césaire, Marson and Pritchard, forming a constellation of unlikely alignments which make no aesthetic conclusion. Instead, Solo Throat is a site of encounter, a plural de-composition of words into an assemblage of sounds and impulses, emphasising what Anthony Reed calls, “the play on and the surplus of margins of lyrical translation to resituate other pathways of expression”. Just as the poets cited use white space to complicate our act of reading, so Mitchener utilises silence and multiphonics to complicate the act of voicing and the way we listen. — Elaine Mitchener is a British Afro-Caribbean vocalist, movement artist and composer working between contemporary/experimental new music, free improvisation and visual art. She is currently a Wigmore Hall Associate Artist; was a DAAD Artist-in-Berlin Fellow (2022) and was an exhibiting artist in the British Art Show 9 (2021-22). In February 2022 Mitchener was awarded an MBE for Services to Music. Her regular collaborators include: composers George E Lewis, Jennifer Walshe, and Tansy Davies; visual artists Sonia Boyce, Christian Marclay and The Otolith Group; chamber ensembles Apartment House, London Sinfonietta, Ensemble MAM, Ensemble Klang, and Klangforum Wien; choreographer Dam van Huynh’s company; and experimental musicians such as Moor Mother, Loré Lixenberg, Pat Thomas, Jason Yarde, Neil Charles and David Toop. — Recorded and engineered by Sean Woodlock at Hackney Road StudiosMastered by Sean McCannLayout by Jeroen WilleAll music and artwork by Elaine Mitchener

Solo Throat – Elaine Mitchener

The emergence of the popular music industry in the early twentieth century not only drove a wedge between music production and consumption, it also underscored a wider separation of labor from leisure and of the workplace from the domestic sphere. These were changes characteristic of an industrial society where pleasure was to be sought outside of work, but these categories have grown increasingly porous today. As the working day extends into the home or becomes indistinguishable from leisure time, so the role and meaning of music in everyday life changes too. In arguing that the experience of popular music is partly conditioned by its segregation from work and its restriction to the time and space of leisure—the evening, the weekend, the dancehall—Take This Hammer shows how changes to work as it grows increasingly precarious, part-time, and temporary in recent decades, are related to transformations in popular music. Connecting contemporary changes in work and the economy to tendencies in popular music, Take This Hammer shows how song-form has both reflected developments in contemporary capitalism while also intimating a horizon beyond it. From online streaming and the extension of the working day to gentrification, unemployment and the emergence of trap rap, from ecological crisis and field recording to automation and trends in dance music, by exploring the intersections of work and song in the current era, not only do we gain a new understanding of contemporary musical culture, we also see how music might gesture towards a horizon beyond the alienating experience of work in capitalism itself.

Take this hammer - Work, Song, Crisis – Paul Rekret

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Monday 29 July 2024

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