Monday, November 11, 2013

Piano in the Woods 7

secret woodland location

This was the evening before I left for New Zealand, the first PITW performance to occur in darkness. This time Sam brough along some members of his CCCU student improvising collective the Scratch Orchestra, plus spoken word artist Ben Hickman. I lit candles along the path to the piano so that the (surprisingly dedicated, considering the weather and fact it was Sunday night) audience could find their way there. The various SO players and singers (including clarinetist Adam and a singer who'd played with my recent maths lecture at Free Range) were dispersed around the nearby clearing, the audience being encouraged to wander around and through, experiencing the sound from a variety of locations. The piano itself wasn't involved in that piece.

There was meant to be a brief SO introduction to the piano piece that followed, but Sam wisely called that off due to the worsening rain, and just got on with playing a short but effective piece of prepared piano. They keys have been unusable for months (in fact some of the black ones have started to fall off), so he was again sat underneath playing on the strings with a variety objects and devices. This was followed by another SO-led piece, this time with Ben Hickman perched on a tree stump reading his uncategorisable word-streams into the darkness. And the whole event was bookended by a gong at the start and a short blast of not-entirely-inappropriate fire breathing by Adam at the end!

Libby made a roving video of this for Sam, and I got almost all the audio on my Zoom H2, so that will be surfacing on the PITW site at some point soon (there's a bit of a backlog now, but Sam Bailey is a busy man, so be patient...). For now here's Neil Sloman's latest portrait of the decaying beast:

As ever, an interesting crowd came along for this, including Kevin Ayers' god-daughter Katrina (a regular at Free Range and woodland events), her friend Mavernie from local heroes the (currently dormant) Happy Accidents, bass player David Leahy with his little son, etc.


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