Tuesday 30 June 2015, 7.30pm
*Please note that doors open at 7:30pm for this event – first act 8pm*
Trembling Bells return to OTO for the first time since 2009 for a packed residency ahead of new album, The Sovereign Self, on Tin Angel Records.
The Sovereign Self - named after a line from Dennis Potter, the late television auteur - is the fifth album by Trembling Bells, their first 2012’s The Marble Downs, a collaboration with Will Oldham. It is a driving, dramatic and at times hallucinatory work, filled with a great sense of tension and release; a witches’ brew, a psychedelic stew mixing up the range of the band’s musical interests - everything from countryish ballads to ancient May Day chants, swaggering acid rock to swirling prog epics.
For this two day residency, Trembling Bells are joined by collaborators old and new. On Tuesday acclaimed Scottish folk artist Alasdair Roberts, eclectic folk trio the Family Elan, and Alex Neilson, Sybren Renema and Lucy Stein's free jazz project, Death Shanties. Then on Wednesday, they perform alongside Incredible String Band founder Mike Heron, with support from legendary folk artist Martin Carthy, songwriter Dan Haywood, and Trembling Bells acapella offshoot, Crying Lion.
The evening kicks off with a screening of ‘Polventon’ – a collaborative video that was made by British painter Lucy Stein and American video and performance artist Shana Moulton on location in North Cornwall in 2013. The video sees the artist's coming to terms with the suicide of Stein's grandfather at the former family home through the prism of British Modernist painting and sculpture of the post war period, and in particular through the work of Peter Lanyon, another tragic patriarchal figure. The soundtrack was made by Death Shanties and Joanne Robertson.
Glasgow-based TREMBLING BELLS are a psych folk phenomenon seeking to reanimate the psychic landscapes of Great Britain and relocate them to some vague, mythic land where basic human crises are encountered and conquered
Their debut album Carbeth was album of the month in Uncut, Observer and Rolling Stone magazines and their music and live performance has earned praise from artists as diverse as Paul Weller, Stewart Lee and Joe Boyd. They have played with some of the most influential and innovative musicians of the last 50 years, including the Incredible String Band, Kaleidoscope and Bonnie “Prince” Billy, with whom the band recorded the 2012 collaborative album The Marble Downs.
Trembling Bells have toured extensively around UK, Europe, North and South America. The past few years have seen the band go from success to success, becoming a huge festival draw in the process. They released a new album Dungeness in March 2018, their first full-length issue since 2015’s Sovereign Self. Adventurous and dynamic, fusing dark psychedelic expansiveness with joyous folk salutations, it is the sound of a band on top of their game.
Alasdair Roberts is a musician (primarily a guitarist and singer) who is based in Glasgow. He has worked with Drag City Records since 1997, firstly releasing three albums of self-written material under the name Appendix Out and then several albums under his own name, the most recent being Alasdair Roberts (2015). A new album Pangs, recorded with Alex Neilson (drums) and Stevie Jones (bass) among other musicians, will be released in February 2017. Alasdair has also released music on labels such as Secretly Canadian, Galaxia and Stone Tape Recordings.
His work mainly consists of two parallel strands: self-written song material (which can be heard on albums such as Farewell Sorrow, The Amber Gatherers, Spoils, Alasdair Roberts and the forthcoming Pangs) and interpretations of traditional songs and ballads from Scotland and beyond (which can be heard on albums such as The Crook of My Arm, No Earthly Man and Too Long In This Condition).
Alasdair has collaborated widely with many different musicians throughout his musical career, including the Scottish Gaelic singer Mairi Morrison, with whom he made the 2012 album Urstan and Sheffield-based musician James Green, with whom he made the 2016 album Plaint of Lapwing (Clay Pipe Music). He has also worked with artists from other disciplines such as film makers, poets, painters and puppeteers
“The scope of the Family Elan’s output is broad, ranging from self penned reflective meditations which rotate on a devotional harmonic axis, to irreverent interpretations of Bollywood hits, to Turkic folk forms filtered through a psychedelic rock praxis.
Perhaps the unifying strand in all this is a deep interest in traditional music forms and their reinvention through communal group playing, in the current instance very much rooted in the Bradford DIY “no rave” aesthetic.” – Folk Radio
Death Shanties is a new mixed media balls-to-the-wall Free Jazz group featuring Alex Neilson (drums), Sybren Renema (alto/baritone sax) and Lucy Stein (painting/projections). The group combine references to Medieval music, Sea Shanties and Field Hollars with the ecstatic cry of classic 1960’s fire music. Stein uses primitive devotional images, food stuffs and even her own hair in visceral, highly textured painted projections making Death Shanties a unique and immersive live experience. Death Shanties debut album "Crabs" is out on August 11th 2014 on Bomb Shop.