Monday, November 14, 2005

Philip Clemo Band at the Phoenix

I saw the Philip Clemo Band at the Phoenix Arts Centre last night. Keith and Henry Drone were also in the audience - Keith and I rather enjoyed it, whereas Henry wasn't that impressed.

Philip Clemo Band - imagery   Philip Clemo Band

Nice visuals - a specially-made film featuring geysers in Iceland, rainforest waterfalls, lots of clouds, steam and similar organic forms which I'm rather fond of.

The band featured the excellent percussionist Pete Lockett, Clive Bell playing a variety of intriguing Asian flutes and reed instruments, a soprano sax player who also played some very nice bass clarinet, a drummer (who was arguably mixed too loud) and a double bass player (certainly mixed not loud enough). Clemo spent the gig behind his electronic console, adding some suprisingly thrashy guitar sections. The heaviest sections reminded me a bit of 70's spacerock, Can, that sort of thing - trancey and primal, but at the same time gentler and more organic. "Hawkwind with a smaller ecological footprint" came to mind. Some of it could arguably be classified as post-rock (almost defining a sub-genre of "ethno-post-rock", if one really feels the need to classify).

There were some distinctly wobbly moments, but I suspect they originated with mix problems. Clemo seemed to be struggling to hear the others at times, and the electronic loops he was controlling seemed somewhat lost in the overall sound, so some of the endings were quite tenuous as a result.

Henry's criticism was that it was too formulaic, with not enough communication between the players. And as Keith pointed out, it wasn't musically as "free" as one was initially led to believe. Still, well worth checking out in my opinion.


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