Thursday 24 October 2019, 7.30pm
Resofest is a three day fundraising festival for Resonance FM, "the best radio station in London" (The Guardian). The mind-boggling, anti-algorithmic, international all-star line-up includes the multiple award-winning Eliza Carthy MBE, Professor Nicolas Collins (Handmade Electronic Music), a spanking new collaboration by Atsuko Kamura (Polka Dot Fire Brigade) and Yumi Hara (Lindsay Cooper Songbook), universally acclaimed string duo Fran & Flora, and the first UK solo performance by the legendary Anthony Moore (Slapp Happy/Henry Cow). Plus a host of other world class performers offering a smorgasbord of radical sound and performance. Full details tbc. All proceeds go to support Resonance (London Musicians' Collective, registered charity 290236).
Note: due to circumstances beyond our control, Serafina Steer is not able to perform tonight as advertised. Apologies.
Described as "fiercely passionate" by BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction DJ Max Reinhardt Fran & Flora captivate their audiences with soulful laments, exquisite songs, irresistible dance tunes, and tales of their musical adventures.
This new collaboration between violinist Flora Curzon and folk/experimental cellist Francesca Ter-Berg combines aspects of traditional string music and song from Eastern Europe with original compositions and improvisation. Having travelled across Europe to study with many great masters of Eastern European Roma and Klezmer music Fran & Flora perform this repertoire incorporating their own unique arrangements creating a sound that is both timeless and contemporary.
Alexander Tucker is capable of creating immense sounds on such a grand scale that it is astounding to realize that it is (mostly) all the work of just one man. He is one of Britain’s most forward-thinking songwriters and sound sculptors. Whether through collaborative work with Imbogodom, Grumblin Fur, Sunn O)))'s Stephen O'Malley (and countless others) or through his solo projects that survey drone to folk ballads, his is an unusual talent.
His early work in hardcore band Suction (which took its musical influences from Swans and Fugazi, Tucker says) provided a template for the kind of sound he would start to explore throughout the 90s: noisy, punky and arresting. However, perhaps it is his own take on music that is most thrilling; his fascination with improvised sound and field recordings are a huge part of his soundscapes, along with tape loops, cello, mandolin, FX pedals and, at one point, the hum of the trains that were part of his domestic soundscape while he lived above Warren Street station.
From his early teens Tucker had concurrently been developing his interest in improvisation and experimental soundscapes, using detuned guitars, tape loops, field recordings and electronics. In early 2000 he recorded his first solo self-titled album of acoustic finger-picking, experimental electronics and spooked vocals, released on Jackie O Motherfuckers U-Sound Archives label.
Tucker went then on to combine compositional song structures, drones, layered vocals and improvisations on his 2005 album “Old Fog”, released on ATP Recordings. This collection of spectral moods, eerie landscapes and fragile emotions was followed by “Furrowed Brow”(2006) and Portal (2008). 2011 saw the release of “Dorwytch” the first for Thrill Jockey Records followed by “Third Mouth” in 2012.
The unknown explored in his visual art is adventurously traveled on “Don’t Look Away” (Thrill Jockey, 2018); the music, lyrics, and artwork all work in tandem to conjure a universe that feels as fantastical, and mysterious as it does familiar and warm.
While a new studio album is scheduled to be released in august 2019 (via Thrill Jockey), Alexander is working on a new modular set up, layering mutant beats and electronic noise sequences, a modular project the artist refers to as Alexander Tucker presents MICROCORPS.
In the late 1970’s, Anne Bean, Paul Burwell (1948-2007) and Richard Wilson, during numerous boat trips on the Thames, were enthralled by the range of aural poetry and corresponding visions they encountered. Bow Gamelan Ensemble, the group they later formed, originated at this juncture. For the next 10 years they worked on ideas to distil and extend these stimuli, ranging from jagged and harsh to haunting and lyrical, into events created all over the world. Bean and Wilson carried on working together, in many contexts and modes, continuing to treat both sound and visuals as inter-relating sculptural forms in works such as Dark Haloes and Spooky Drums for Liverpool Biennale, the Red Jail, Iraq, the Maunsell Forts in Thames Estuary, London Contemporary Music festival and Shuffle festival, Bow. Most recently, 2018, the performance NALEMAG 2 at Cooper Gallery, Dundee, was the opening event for their installation, throughout the gallery, Great Noises that Fill the Air, which included the fragmented but substantial remains, of press, scores, posters, images, films, correspondence and drawings of Bow Gamelan Ensemble from 1980’s. Gigantic thunder sheets, motorised and timed at random moments, rumbled and roared through the space.
Gavin Bryars was born in Yorkshire in 1943. His first musical reputation was as a jazz bassist working in the early sixties with improvisers Derek Bailey and Tony Oxley, forming the famous Joseph Holbrooke Trio. Bryars abandoned improvisation in 1966 and instead worked in the United States with composer John Cage, where his early influences of minimalism and the New York School on his work can be seen.
His first major composition, The Sinking of the Titanic, appeared on Brian Eno's Obscure Records in 1975 and alongside his seminal work Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, established his reputation worldwide as a significant figure in minimalist music. Both pieces have evolved and expanded over time, existing in different versions and collaborations. The Sinking of The Titanic was remixed by Aphex Twin in 1994 and released as Raising The Titanic. It was also performed throughout 2012 as part of the Titanic centenary concerts in an extended version with turbtablist Philip Jeck. Jesus’ Blood was re-released in the 1990s as special recording with Tom Waits, where Waits’s vocal are added to the original recording during the final section and for which Bryars was nominated for The Mercury Music Prize.
The version of Jesus’ Blood being performed as part of the Café Oto programme is a UK Premiere, adapted to suit the environment of the performance space and modified to work with the tone and atmosphere created by Bryars’ smaller ensemble. Alongside the instrumental and vocal works on the programme, such as The North Shore, The South Downs, The Island Chapel and Epilogue From Wonderlawn, this version of Jesus’ Blood forms a night of closer, more intimate playing and takes from a prolific catalogue of works some of the personal favourites of the Gavin Bryars Ensemble.
Bryars has written a considerable number of other works, including four operas, many concertos and a great number of instrumental pieces, many for his own ensemble. He has written several pieces for choreographers, including his hugely successful collaboration with Merce Cunningham,Bipedthat was in the Cunningham Company's repertoire and performed worldwide on the Cunningham "Legacy Tour", which ended the life of the company in December 2011.
Visual artists he has collaborated with include Juan Muñoz (A Man In A Room, Gambling), Robert Wilson (Civil Wars, Medea), Will Alsop and the Quay Brothers to name a few. From 1969 to 1978 Bryars taught in departments of Fine Art in Portsmouth and Leicester and has spoken of the interdisciplinary nature of these art schools being formative in his approach to collaboration and the creative process. During his time at the Portsmouth College of Art he was also instrumental in founding the legendary Portsmouth Sinfonia, an orchestra comprised of players using instruments they were completely unfamiliar with.
His work for voice has involved long-standing relationships with poets such as Etel Adnan, Marilyn Bowering (with whom he wrote his recent chamber opera, Marilyn Forever, based on the life of Marilyn Monroe) and Yorkshire poet Blake Morrison. Morrison and Bryars have just finished their most recent project together, The Stopping Train, a series of short pieces timed to be played along the train journey from Goole to Hull and back, with each piece telling a personal or local story from the area as the landscape passes by.