Piano in the Woods 12
Sunday 6th April 2014
It took me a while for me to realise that although Piano in the Woods was on a monthly cycle for a whole year, the twelfth one wouldn't be the last. Number 13 would complete the cycle in early May. Tom Holden (who's been playing bass in Famous James and the Monsters) was around that afternoon, working on some musical ideas with me. I'd originally been wondering if he'd be into playing bass with some of my saz compositions, but it's turning into more of a collaborative saz/guitar-and-ukelele thing. So we suspended our session to go and check out Sam Bailey's latest multimedia performance assemblage centering on the poor, broken piano.
This time it was with poet Luke Blake, Medway's premier "neolithic soul drone' collective" Hand of Stabs improvising on homemade instruments and electric guitar, and ballet dancer Angela Pickard (head of dance at Christchurch University!) moving gracefully between, among and upon the twisted root-plates of long fallen trees in her point slippers. Hand of Stabs were incredibly subtle (they're capable of making very loud, disturbing sounds, but reined themselves right in for this one), watching Angela's every move and responding sonically, with the occasional poetic interjection from Luke. Sam began the proceedings as usual with a piano piece, playing directly on the strings of the piano which had been laid on his back with various devices, and for the finale, everyone collaborated around the piano, poetry, dance and sound art intermingling as HoS's guitarist probed the workings of the piano with the neck of his guitar Angela striking poses nearby atop an old cable spool and Luke dropping in lines of poetry here and there.
One of the Stabs plays a bicycle wheel clamped to a barstool, bowing the spokes (the wheel is contact-mic'd and the output run through various effects). It was only later that Dave pointed out the obvious Marcel Duchamp reference (how had I missed that?).
More photos can be seen here.