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Ruby Read

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February 2015

Space at the Woodburner.

A new venue for the increasingly popular Woodburner live music events. The black underground space creates a claustrophobic sensation a contrast to their summer gigs at the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, with its open sky and those at Chats Palace with its parquet flooring. Still the Courtyard Theatre makes its unique stamp! on this Woodburner gig.

Entering this new space there is a sense of confusion, some sitting, some standing. Gwennie and the Old Accord began an initially uncomfortable set. The acoustics of the Courtyard Theatre resulted in even the most hushed of conversations becoming a mounting cacophony, voices amplified and carrying further. Layered on this hubbub was the incessant hushing and shushing of disgruntled listeners.

Gwennie and the Old Accord wrestled with the confusion and noise. Battling an almost unruly audience that gradually succumbed to their pounding rhythms and chilling harmonies. They call to ear Mumford & Sons and the Fleet Foxes, the most mainstream of folk, but by no means fall into this ‘mainstream’ caption. A percussion effects pedal manipulated by the multitasking guitarist generates a thirst for movement encouraging you to run and never look back. Alongside this straightforward percussion was the more abstract. A cheese grater, bubble wrap, and ‘traditional’ instruments all worked in playful ways. Adding an element of humour and amazement.

Lending a french feel to the music is the accordion. I am reminded me of Les Négresses Vertes, who I listened to obsessively throughout my adolescence. Gwennie and the Old Accord also feel like a familial unit, a particularly successful one on producing varied and dynamic music with a steady constant core.

Have a listen, you’ll find yourself smiling:

Gwennie and the Old Accord. https://soundcloud.com/gwendolen-chatfield

Mumford & Sons http://www.mumfordandsons.com/

Fleet Foxes http://fleetfoxes.com/

Les Négresses Vertes http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/d9968436-64d6-4a33-85e8-7f4fcfa78d63

Also check out more about the Woodburner here :

http://woodburnermusic.co.uk/

You never know you might just stumble across the best thing since sliced bread!

Process in Progress, PJ Harvey.

A snap shot of  music production, a short forty-five minutes of what can sometimes seem an endless process. This is an alien environment to most visitors, few of which will have first hand experience. The set up serves to make the audience comfortable in the familiar white cube.
“I want it to operate as if we were an exhibition in an art gallery”  PJH
Entering the white cube or installation space. PJ sits in a goldfish bowl filled with an array of musical instruments. Four other musicians are present along with two sound techs. Furtively I sneak glances at people either side of me hoping to take cues form them on how to engage with this ‘art installation’. Because that is what it is. It doesn’t feel like music. It is sound exploration.
Along the rear wall there are ‘art works’ or artefacts/objects framed and illuminated. Scrawlings on paper, dashed out at a feverish pace. Notes on notes. These pages add more to the sense of witnessing a moving painting and the creation of art.
I wonder if they are aware of our presence. Despite having been told that they can neither hear nor see us we continue to move around stealthily in what has become a hallowed space. Creation happens here. We move like silent, unseen and unheard ghosts. There is a sense of experimentation here that has been forced to take the shape of something more familiar so as not to alarm.
I feel connected to the earth and toil listening to the soundscape. There is a heavy tribal reference in the repetitive and circular sound being created by them. Deep and guttural. Using the most basic instrument, the voice, makes the music accessible, not needing to have specific musical training. I join in under my breath, so as not to be hushed by the silent mass around me. The rhythmic circulation is infectious.
PJ’s experiment serves to widen understanding of the collaborative nature of music production, groups of cogs whirring together in a machine, without the smallest, seemingly insignificant cog, it would be unsuccessful.
Art and music are inextricably linked in this “piece”. A very unique experience, if you had the chance I hope you took it.

By Lantern Light

Reminded of my mortality and unnerved, I shift awkwardly on the bench. Forced to think about things I would rather not. Painful and occasionally embarrassing flash backs flitter across my eyes with the candle light. Memories of things lost, not yet begun, of lives cut short. Heated panic rushes up my back, a multisensory response to the music of The Magic Lantern.

Warmed by lyrics that draw attention to core values; friendship, love, giving, family, and by light phrases on the guitar I become distracted from my now comfortable melancholic state. The venue, Tripspace in Hackney, is crowded, adding to the intimacy of the set as Jamie Doe effortlessly builds a merry rapport with his audience.

Becoming absorbed by the music I hardly notice the thundering of trains overhead and the incessant whir of the air conditioning units. These sounds along with the music lull me into a meditative state. In my almost overwhelmingly melancholic response, I feel the closeness of the space and the flickering lantern light. It amazes me how much Jamie can achieve with just a guitar and vocals.

Check out the lantern for yourself here:

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