Monday 29 November 2021, 8pm
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 Tom James Scott, doing a solo performance using piano.
The show coincides with the release of Up In Air, 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.
Tom James Scott is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and improviser who currently lives on the North-West coast of England. Since 2007 he has published music through a number of labels including Students of Decay, Where To Now?, Bo'Weavil Recordings, Carnivals, and his own Skire imprint (established in 2013).
Scott's early interest in music was informed as much by a fascination with sound and improvisation as it was by traditional musical training, and his work continues to explore both lyrical and abstract means of sound making and composition. Since 2007's 'Red Deer', Scott's solo releases to date have seen a switch between guitar, piano and keyboard as their focal point (often with the addition of bowed objects and strings, field recording and electronics). United by a preoccupation with modern composition, traditional music, improvisation and song, Scott's recorded work also draws inspiration from visual and literary sources, with certain titles often citing a now largely archaic form of dialect particular to Scott's home county of Cumbria.
Scott is currently working on a collaboration with the filmmaker Laurence Campbell and continues to perform and record with Ashley Paul, Andrew Chalk, Ecka Mordecai, Timo van Luijk and Russell Walker (primarily as Charcoal Owls).