Monday 10 October 2022, 8pm
‘Watching Sloth Racket perform is a thrilling experience, conveying a palpable sense that the musicians are navigating the scores by the seat of their pants, making real-time group decisions that sculpt the compositions into unique shapes each time they’re played.’ – Daniel Spicer, The Wire, December 2021
Pleased to host an album release show from Sloth Racket; a band of improvisers from London, Manchester and Dundee. Baritone saxophone player Cath Roberts creates scores that form the skeleton of the music, and the band constructs a collective sound out of those pages in the moment. Since forming in 2015 they have toured regularly, appeared at numerous UK festivals, and are releasing their fifth album on the Luminous label this October.
Sam Andreae / alto saxophone
Cath Roberts / baritone saxophone and compositions
Anton Hunter / guitar
Seth Bennett / double bass
Johnny Hunter / drums
Sam Andreae has been active across Europe over the last decade as a saxophonist, composer and organiser. Through improvisation and composition he explores a music of colliding sound gestures and aural detritus, built up from an intentionally fractured instrumental language and playful spontaneity. His compositions place a focus on gestural processes which in their unraveling reveal a trail of sound artefacts to be picked through.
“what Sam Andreae does is liminal music, he shows you the clicks, the noises, the breaths, the rattle and hum” – John Doran, Quietus, 2017 on BBC 3 Late Junction
Cath Roberts is a musician, artist and organiser whose work explores free improvisation, composition and the music at their meeting point. The primary outlet for this is the band Sloth Racket, formed in 2015 by Cath on baritone saxophone and compositions, which has toured widely and released several albums. More recently, improvisation using live electronics and objects has led to a solo release plus the beginning of several new collaborations.
Cath has a long-standing duo with guitarist Anton Hunter (Ripsaw Catfish), as well as regular collaborations with Tullis Rennie, Benedict Taylor, Graham Dunning, Bill Thompson and others, and bandmate duties in several groups including Alex Ward’s Items 10 and 7, Madwort Sax Quartet and Article XI.
As an organiser, Cath has co-run LUME with Dee Byrne since 2013, producing concerts, tours and festivals and releasing music on their offshoot label Luminous. Tom Ward, Colin Webster and Cath organise BRÅK, an improvised music series taking place in Brockley, South East London. Cath’s visual work can be seen on many Luminous releases, Sloth Racket tour flyers and LUME publicity materials, and appeared in 2021 in the form of a giant, fragmented graphic score created for a hcmf// commission, And then the next thing you know.
A double bassist based in Dundee, Seth Bennett came up through punk music, spending his twenties playing in a roster of different bands. On the side, he was improvising, exploring speculative sound through the lens of jazz music, as well as in more formless, functionless set-ups. As a self-taught musician with no formal training, Seth’s development as a performer and composer came largely through seeking out any collaborative opportunity he could find, be it working with English folk singers, contemporary dancers or jazz bands. Over the years, he’s also amassed experience as a bandleader, writing primarily for a free improvising trio while attempting to fully unlock the hidden potentials of his instrument.
Johnny Hunter is a northern UK-based drummer and composer who comes from a background of both the Avant-Garde and the more mainstream Jazz. His own “chordless” quartet, set up to explore the freedom and limitations of having no chordal instrument, has been recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3, and has performed across the country in notable venues such as London’s Ronnie Scott’s, the Manchester Jazz Festival, Birmingham Jazzlines at Symphony Hall, Liverpool International Jazz Festival, among many others. He also leads the piano trio Fragments, originally a workshop band formed to research and develop new approaches to improvising and composing for improvisers.
In 2018, he took part in Sound and Music’s New Voices programme which allowed him to compose an extended piece for a large ensemble of improvising musicians. He has also written works for various other ensembles, including Pale Blue Dot, a piece for string quartet with tenor sax and drums; Now It Can Be Told, which brings his Post-rock influences to the forefront and investigates the use of electronics in Jazz; Backlash, a piece for improvising “marching band” with the line-up of piccolo, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, accordion and percussion. Outside of his own music, Johnny performs in many other groups including Cath Roberts’s Sloth Racket, John Pope Quintet, Nat Birchall, Engine Room Favourites, and Swiss-UK collaboration MoonMot.