Monday, March 10, 2014

Free Range archiving

Veg Box Cafe, Canterbury

Keen to get copies of certain recordings from the Free Range archive, I found myself volunteering to take on the role of FR audio archivist. So recent days have involved a lot of wave editing and organising of the FR Soundcloud stream (which hadn't been updated for months, Sam Bailey having far too much on his plate to deal with it). It's looking pretty good now, everything properly named, dated and placed in appropriate playlists. I might put together an hour mix of recent sounds for an episode of my Canterbury Sans Frontières podcast in the next few months.

The last few Free Range events:

SPLEEN (20/02/14). The idea was to get people with strong feelings about local issues to rant about them for a few minutes, with musical response/interventions. It didn't quite work like that, but three people did speak (rather than rant) about various issues, leading to open discussion. It was a pleasant surprise to hear certain FR regulars (who I'm used to seeing sitting and listening) expressing themselves vocally. The highlight was an adaptation of a John Cooper Clarke poem concerning the local Kentish Gazette. Afterwards I headed over to The Ballroom to catch the end of a set by Radigun, a new folkie duo involving Ben from Arlet (guitar) and Fred Holden (violin, and brother of Rosie from Arlet). A small but enthusiastic crowd stomped and twirled to the celtic tunes, and I got a chance to catch up with Jamie Dams (who'd supported them with a solo acoustic set). Radigun take their name from St. Radigund, via the street in Canterbury. I'm not quite sure why they dropped the "d", but there's a nice connection with local 70s prog-folkies Spirogyra who lived on St. Radigunds Street and named their debut LP St. Radigunds.

Oscillate (27/02/14). This is a new FR feature which will presumably happen periodically, showcasing artists from CCCU's new Oscillate Records label. Sets from Name Pending and Meloja, the former sitting motionless behind his laptop creating dense waves of sound, the latter standing and vigorously head-nodding throughout his eclectic set (which also involved a quick bit of wah-wah guitar played over a hiphop-derived segment). Both artists seemed to have brought contingents of followers along, so these sets were extremely well received.

Sarah Riggs and Jonathan Skinner (06/03/14). A particularly good solo improv piano set from Sam involving a tin box full of marbles(?) on top of the piano strings, followed by a couple of poets. Jonathan Skinner edits an eco-poetry journal and read a series of short poems based on the calls of various warblers. Having been out walking footpaths most of the day in the sunshine(inspired by reading Robert Macfarlane's The Old Ways) I was pretty wiped out, but still managed to enjoy it (and win a game of Go by a decent margin).


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