Pantha du Prince + The Bell Laboratory - 15-02-13 - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
She shouts out “I love you guys, you’re fucking amazing!” and perfectly captures the collective mood of the audience. Electronic music is not known for being particularly suited to the concert hall, but the six musicians had just given a mesmerising performance of “Elements of Light”, a de facto symphony for electronics, percussion and bell carillon, a three-tonne instrument comprising 50 bronze bells.
They concluded the work by moving through the auditorium continuing to play hand-held bells, before disappearing. They returned to offer some reworked earlier Pantha du Prince material, ‘Lay In A Shimmer’ and ‘Satellite Snyper’, which we recorded and here present.
Absolute Jest - John Adams conducts the LSO - 27-01-13 - Barbican
John Adams conductor St Lawrence String Quartet London Symphony Orchestra
The European premiere of John Adams’ Absolute Jest for String Quartet and Orchestra conducted by John Adams, and his introduction in which he discusses the piece’s borrowings from Beethoven, with illustrative fragments performed by the St Lawrence String Quartet.
01 Random radio - Bilbao, Spain - 11 July 02 That Fucking Tank - TFT - Windmill - 12 January 03 Future Of The Left - Sheena is a t-shirt salesman - Bull & Gate - 16 October 04 MA - Amersham Arms - 10 April 05 Confucius MC with Shabaka Hutchings - Orwellian Outcast - Queen Elizabeth Hall Front Room - 28 April 06 Thundercat - Daylight - Fabric - 16 May 07 Rodriguez - I Wonder - Royal Festival Hall - 17 November 08 Basque festival - St Sebastián, Spain - 14 July 09 Zeni Geva - Alien Nation - Corsica Studios - 23 October 10 Polar Bear - Rich Mix - 15 December 11 John Surman & Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir - Ye Mariners All - Queen Elizabeth Hall - 18 November 12 Random radio - Bilbao, Spain - 11 July 13 Bilbao Syndrome - Bilbao VI (My Sharona) - Vortex - 19 July 14 To Arms Etc - Workshy - The Wheelbarrow - 28 June 15 Mazaika - Oliver’s Jazz Bar - 10 May 16 Tall Ships - Vessels - Hotel Street - 07 June 17 Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - Scala - 08 March 18 Luke Fowler’s “A self divided” - Tate Britain - 30 November 19 Savages - Festival No 6, Portmeirion - 16 September 20 Three Trapped Tigers - Village Underground - 07 March 21 Pipilotti Rist - Hayward Gallery - 08 January 22 Radiohead - Lotus Flower - Bilbao BBK Festival, Bilbao, Spain - 13 July 23 Tino Sehgal - Tate Modern Turbine Hall - 29 July 24 Cock - Suffolk - 12 April 25 trioVD - Tulisa - Vortex - 09 March 26 Les Rauchen Verboten - Match & Fuse Festival - 16 June 27 Kent DuChaine - Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah - Tenby Blues Festival - 09 November 28 Chloe’s 30th - Oliver’s Jazz Bar - 08 April 29 Josienne Clarke - Silver Dagger - Servant’s Jazz Quarters - 25 January 30 John Martin - Tate Britain - 14 January 31 Random radio - Bilbao, Spain - 11 July
all live bootleg and field recordings made using a zoom H4n
This second group of three pieces forms the backbone of John Surman’s commission for BBC Radio 3 and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, ‘Lifelines’.
These pieces are concerned with the Industrial Revolution and the hope of the composer, working with the Bolsterstone Male Voice Choir, is situated in the heart of the land where the Industrial Revolution started.
The river that ran down the hillside and turned the water wheel that powered the machines, turning, turning, changing people lives, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Once the machine began to roll life would never be the same.
With the advent of steam and steam engines, then we needed coal, and this costly mineral was often paid for by the lives of men women and children who mined it.
It was therefore important to Surman to explore the relationship between folk music in that area right back into that age.
28-01-2012 - London Philharmonic Orchestra - Ivan The Terrible (Prokofiev arr Levon Atovmyan) - Royal Festival Hall
Some of the earliest bootleg recordings were made by one Lionel Mapleson, from above the proscenium arch at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, using a crude phonograph to record snippets of operas. These cylinders have been described as “probably the worst-sounding collection of live performances ever recorded on phonograph cylinders, thus setting the standard for most subsequent bootleg recordings”, though these assorted arias stand as vital historical documents from the dawn of the recording era.
Kicking off 2012, we bring you some bootleg classical music, our tribute to the man once dubbed the Father of Bootlegging: a couple of extracts from the LPO’s world premier performance of Levon Atovmyan’s new arrangement of Prokofiev’s score to Eisenstein’s Ivan The Terrible. Possibly owing to fear of Stalinist censure, Prokofiev never made concert versions from his scores for Ivan The Terrible as he had done with two of his most popular efforts for film, Lieutenant Kije and Alexander Nevsky. Abram Stasevich’s 25-section concert version (with superfluous narration), formed the basis of later suites by Christopher Palmer and Michael Lankester.
Atovmyan’s version dispenses with the narration and comes in at about 50 minutes in 8 sections: 1. Ivan and the Boyars, 2. Song of the Beaver, 3. Oprichnina, 4. Swan, 5. Anastasia, 6. Ocean-Sea, 7. The Capture of Kazan, 8. Magnification.
Stylistically and melodically rich, with colourful vocal writing and orchestration, the drama of Eisenstein’s film is conveyed with tremendous force, never more so than in the strong modern arrangement we were treated to at the Festival Hall as part of an imaginatively programmed season “Prokofiev - Man Of The People?” The bootleg turned out much better than expected, and we therefore present two of our favourite sections, the Oprichnina (a kind of polytonal Tom Waits work song) and the Capture Of Kazan (an incendiary slab of Soviet-style action music to blow your speakers).
The ‘short 2011 of the UK’ would begin with the London protest marches of March 26, and conclude with the riots of 6-9 August. The sound collage ‘26 MARCH’ (track 22) begins with an example of media agenda-setting that downplayed and ridiculed popular feeling, while the noise of helicopters betokened the erosion of our right to peaceful protests in an increasingly uncivil society. The murder of Mark Duggan in August led to another expression of discontent, this time not a peaceful middle class march, but a bellicose working class eruption; and the media set a very different agenda this time. Brecht’s Macheath says, in the ballad of What Keeps Mankind Alive (track 23), “food is the first thing; morals follow on”; what would he think about the displacement of morals in favour of plasma screens and other aspirational totems of conspicuous consumer capitalism?
The Noise It Makes presents a ‘mixtape’ of bootleg recordings entirely made in 2011, all live, with the familiar Zoom H4N machine. It offers a rather different way of remembering the year than the ‘short 2011’; while banks and governments stole bread from the mouths of children and elderly, art continued to be made. Ya don’t stop. The present selection only reflects a small cross-section of the music being performed, limited by time and sensibility.
We recorded some big name concerts (Keith Jarrett, Yo La Tengo, Mogwai) who aren’t represented here, and attended many others we didn’t record, or which might have been legitimately recorded and broadcast (eternally memorable concerts of Penderecki, Bluebeard’s Castle, Missa Solemnis), or which were too long-form to suit a mixtape (Charles Hazlewood’s All Stars performing Riley, Reich and Tubular Bells; Led Bib; Evan Parker). Also, for two periods this year we couldn’t record at all, because the machine blew up (just before the Soundtracks Festival (headlined by Shabaka Hutchings – groan…) and the London Jazz Festival (double groan, though mercifully much of it was recorded by Jazz-on-3)).
The selections sequenced in The Noise It Made 2011 will nonetheless, we hope, give you a taste of the riches of live music in 2011. There are high-octane blasts from Bravo Brave Bats (track 02) trioVD (03), and Nought (19); jaw-on the floor avant-rock-pop from Micachu (06) and Lydia Lunch (18); and heart-stopping moments of beauty from Emily Portman (12), Catherine AD (15) and Mara Carlyle (16), as well as a flavour of impromptu non-formal music-making at the pub joanna (24). The passing of folk guitar supremo Bert Jansch is marked with a recording of his final ever performance with Pentangle. The rest is silence; so we have Michael Sheen playing the Dane (06, 26). Enjoy 2011! Bring on 2012!
01 Charlie Haden & The Liberation Music Orchestra - Amazing Grace - Barbican - 22 May 02 Bravo Brave Bats - Tent City - Spice of Life - 08 January 03 trioVD - Returns - Purple Turtle - 03 August 04 Christian Bök - The Doomsday Song For Friedrich Nietzsche On The Death Of Superman - Vibe - 03 March 05 Micachu & The Shapes with London Sinfonietta - Low Dogg - Purcell Room - 05 April 06 Michael Sheen - “I am but mad north north west” - Young Vic - 07 December 07 Comicoperando - Just As You Are (Robert Wyatt) - Queen Elizabeth Hall - 12 May 08 Archive recording of Daphne Oram, Wire Salon - Cafe Oto - 07 April 09 Azari & III - Reckless With Your Love - XOYO - 11 August 10 Spoek Mathambo - New Tunes - CAMP Basement - 30 November 11 Kayo Horns - Vortex - 15 February 12 Emily Portman - Stick, Stock - Royal Festival Hall - 14 January 13 On Saltburn Beach - 01 January 14 Simon Bookish - Metal Horse - Vortex - 13 March 15 Catherine AD - Union Chapel - 18 June 16 Mara Carlyle - I Blame You Not (Schumann arr Carlyle) - Southbank Centre - 30 January 17 Suede - Daddy’s Speeding - Brixton Academy - 20 May 18 Lydia Lynch - Your Love Don’t Pay My Fucking Rent - Purcell Room - 18 June 19 Nought - Daddy Money Mummy Tart - Windmill Brixton - 07 September 20 Rory Mulchrone & Bryan Solomon - Vi ravviso, o luoghi ameni (Bellini) - Haldane Room - 13 January 21 Pentangle - Rain & Snow - Royal Festival Hall - 01 August - Last performance by the late Bert Jansch (on banjo): In pace requiscat 22 AJ Dehany - 26 MARCH - London - 26 March 23 Matt Winkworth - What Keeps Mankind Alive? (Brecht/Weill) - Farm Festival, Somerset - 30 July 24 barleyherb - Delilah - Coach & Horses Soho - 26 March 25 Two 8 Six Bar Lewisham Karaoke Night - 07 April 26 Michael Sheen - “I have of late..” - Young Vic - 07 December 27 Apartment House - 0’00” (Cage) - Queen Elizabeth Hall - 14 September
bootleg & field recordings made in 2011 with a zoom H4N. thank you to all the brilliant artists we illegally recorded, and their lawyers for dissuading them from action. buy their records!
guide: 02-05 pretty intense 09-10 pretty bosh 12-17 have tissues 17-18 have earplugs 22-23 have an opinion 24-25 have a drink
Note: Track 27 was to be “Apartment House - 0’00” (Cage) - Queen Elizabeth Hall - 14 September” but was cut due to time limitations.
17-12-2011 - trioVD - A Twisted Xmas, King’s Place, London UK
Chris Sharkey - Electric Guitar Christophe de Bezenac - Alto Sax & Electronics Chris Bussey - Drums
TNIM favourites trioVD conceived an entire festive alternative, performed for 90 riotous minutes in the otherwise inert airport lounge that is the King’s Place. Their demented imaginations were let free in jazz metal reimagingings of East 17, All I Want For Christmas Is You, Jingle Bells, The Christmas Song (Chestnuts, fool) and other hallowed classics of the season in new assaults and reinvented versions of their own tunes, interspersed with christmas cracker jokes and silly hats. We knew it would be uhhgly (they basically killed Santa), but ne’er so enjoyable. Daft sods.
We present their ludicrous screamo polyrhythmic Jingle Bells, soaked in a brandy-infused audience loving every twisted second.
James Sedwards - Guitar Jonny Mitchell - Drums Santiago Horro - Bass Luke Barlow - Keyboards
Nought are a catalytic band. A hushed-tones outfit. Their importance lies in their importance to other bands. They inform and qualify all other bands of their kind, with the frightening technique of jazz musicians, the noise of a terrifying rock band, and the attentiveness of accomplished composers. Brilliant, always ahead of their time, they could take on any US avant outfit… they are dedicated but seemingly shy to put themselves about… in this and other ways, they are definingly English. Bandleader James Sedwards is a true muso hero, unassuming but omnicompetent. Talent catalysing talent, he has talented mates like Alex Ward, who is a true contemporary alt-jazz legend and played on their album, and was there bopping nerdishly at this show. It’s been a decade since Nought released that monumental LP, which is still unique in fusing lush arrangements with gnarly complicated math forms. With little threat of a decade-delayed followup album soon, we are going to give you an entire show, recorded in Brixton (London UK), presenting a bootleg of their visceral prog noise with the hope that they’ll be encouraged to give us more. But the main reason for sharing the whole show is that their long-form style unfolds more logically and satisyingly when can you experience the variety of their rollercoaster. They are truly astonishing, a gleaming gem hidden from view. The short extract is, we think, the second part of “Daddymoneymummytart”, but we don’t even know where pieces begin and end, never mind what they’re called. Needless to say this is otherwise unrecorded, to our knowledge. You’ll also find youtube footage from the same show, and the entire bootleg in 2 parts. It starts with us dashing from the Windmill’s smoking yurt into the fray; then at about 12:39 into the first part the sound clears and gets louder (though with more clipping) - presumably someone in the crowd moved out of the way - and the performance unfolds with an increasing sense of total amazement on the part of those gathered. Growing out of the same Oxford scene as Radiohead, Nought retain the vitality and excitement that their more commerical counterparts are always grasping to attain.
19-07-2011 - Evan Parker: 50 years of British improv - Purcell Room, London UK Evan Parker (saxophone), John Russell (guitar), Phil Wachsmann (violin), John Edwards (bass), Neil Metcalfe (flute), Percy Pursglove (trumpet)
Evan Parker has been called the most important saxophonist since Coltrane. He is a legend of multiphonics and circular breathing with the lung stamina of a mule, having developed techniques over the course of 40 years to layer harmonics and false notes in dense contrapuntal weaves, generating electronics-like textures acoustically, building soundscapes out of dizzyingly fast arpeggios, which despite the wall-of-sound delivery are mostly pitched and develop tonalities and an unconventional lyricism. On the same day that pies were flying while Rupert Murdoch was questioned by a home affairs committee, Parker led an ensemble hand-picked from the best of the scene in a series of configurations in improvisations envisioned to celebrate the last half decade of British free improv and point to ways forward.
We present a recording of Parker’s phenomenal solo, which is a masterclass in structural and harmonic development and sheer technique. Other highlights included versatile bassist John Edwards’s own solo, and an extended group improvisation by the whole sextet where, as characterised the whole evening, the vocabulary was drawn as much from twentieth century modern classical as from jazz and noise.
1. Trio: John Russell (guitar), Phil Wachsmann (violin), Neil Metcalfe (flute)