mardi 19 octobre 2010

John Butcher & Rhodri Davies 19.10.10 London Review of Books' Bookshop

This was the 2nd concert taking place at the bookshop and more are to follow. I must confess, I had never heard of either of the instrumentalists before but I was convinced by the blurb in the LRB: John Butcher, former-physicist-now-saxophonist rigorously investigating ‘unusual acoustics and amplification’ (bad paraphrasing from me) and Rhodri Davies, sound artist improvising on his harp. Two tickets please. I was accompanied by C.R and she didn’t know she was in for a treat. Turned out it wasn’t for her but luckily enough we had free wine to start with. I just love this bookshop. The concert took place downstairs between the philosophy and the literary criticism sections. Too highbrow? Is that a problem?

Anyway, the music: it reminded me of Streifenjunko. If you want an idea, go on Spotify and listen to the album No Longer Burning. But it was more A Calm Radiance Of Light Or Heat than Plutonium Blues (mind you, you could also listen to John Butcher’s album 13 Friendly Numbers or Rhodri Davies 3 Harp Treatments both on Spotify, just mix the two together in your head). But I have to say, the first part was a bit hard to swallow – won’t even mention what C.R thought of it, she wanted to leave. I think what made it the hardest was the fact that everything was dissonant and unfortunately, at least to my taste, this is quite a common pattern in Contemporary/Avant-Garde music. I am not crying for a melody but keep pissing off your audience and you will end up like Hades in Clash of the Titans and that’s no good feat.

Anyway, after a short break and a few refreshments, the 2nd part was fantastic. Perhaps the wine helped a bit but I did get lost in the sound, at some point I could daydream sailing my little ship in a storm. Even C.R warmed up to it. I felt emptied and fresh as you do after a session of meditation (or as I guess I would feel if I’d ever been to one).

So ok, this is not all about new experiences and all the gunk about how it makes you feel and that was not the first time I had listened to this kind of music but I did forget how good it can be and for that, thank you Mr Davies, and thank you Mr Butcher.

Listen to their albums on Spotify and look up their websites: John Butcher, Rhodri Davies and read the LRB (but don’t bother watching Clash of the Titans)

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