Sunday 30 January 2022, 2pm

MATINEE: Ben Pritchard – 'Up In Air' album launch with Ashley Paul, Otto Willberg and Yoni Silver + Hugh Metcalfe (solo and films)

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Ben Pritchard is a musician based in South East London. He will be performing with Ashley Paul (drums), Otto Willberg (double bass), and Yoni Silver (guitar and viola). Support comes from Hugh Metcalfe, doing a solo performance alongside some of his films.

The show follows the release of Up In Air, which came out on Okraina Records on 17 November.

After a near decade of solo and collaborative projects, Up in Air is Ben Pritchard's most confident foray into songwriting yet, nestling lopsided experimentation into a bed of lowslung blues and reflective folk.

Up in Air is sewn from threads of everyday life: trails of thought, small stories and conversations with his daughter. Collecting, layering and condensing the world around him, his musings spill out in a palimpsest that renders both the material and metaphysical world. From describing a time where he inadvertently found himself on a hunting trip, recalling stories from doing role play and drawing together with his daughter, or scribing observations on the strange dedications people make in their lives, he explores the banal and the fantastical; the whimsical and the serious; the light and dark. Each line, aphorism or vignette carries with it weight that is looking to free itself, to embrace the impossibility of life distilled into simpler parameters.

Ben's music acts as a motor for his words, weaving wistful melodic mantras and creaking guitar lines in and out as each song finds its feet. Although the album finds a rich array of influences dancing in an awkward balance, the emotive register of the music drinks from the fountain of the US rock continuum, with Supreme Dicks' uneasy indie, Low's slow unfurling grace and Neil Youngs' heart-worn drawl lifting each song to new heights. Expanding on this soundworld are collaborators Sholto Dobie (self-built organs) and bassist Otto Willberg, who provide drones, dissonant jolts and detuned paths for the music to open itself, but also curl into its own. Sounds are folded into one another, birthing new shapes, layers and sonic possibilities.

Ben describes the album as "permeated by the sense that came from being around this sort of connection to the world where everything is immediate and fundamental." The album is representative of this shift inwards: on his own, socially, as a parent. But with that it also represents a confidence to deal with everything. The album is an excavation, both finding strange joy in simple findings and an unburdening himself of everything else, letting every thought and feeling whisks itself away up in the air.

Hugh Metcalfe

Hugh Metcalfe is a musician and filmmaker from London and Suffolk. He is best known as the promoter of The Klinker Club in London, which he has run in various venues since 1982. He plays guitar, violin, hi-hat and gas mask. He performs in several bands including Bicycle Clip Sex, The Small Faeces, The Cross-Dressed Quartet and Fuck Off Batman. He also performed with noted sound poet Bob Cobbing, saxophonist Lol Coxhill and dancer Jennifer Pike in Birdyak, up until Cobbing’s death in 2002.

Metcalfe’s experimental film work began in 1978, and uses 8mm film methods to produce silent films, often used later as a springboard for free musical improvisation, either by Metcalfe himself or other musicians. During some of the 1980s, Metcalfe ran a record label, ‘Klinkerzoundz’, releasing records by Metcalfe, Cobbing, the Bow Gamelan Ensemble, and more.

The Klinker has, in over 30 years, acquired a reputation as London’s leading forum for free improvisation and marginal music and performance.