Sunday, June 04, 2017

last season Free Range catchup

Water Lane Cafe, Canterbury
February-March 2017

I've been waiting for the audio recordings from some of these Free Range events to surface, but it's been months now, so I'll just post what's left of my memory impressions:

Will Glanfield septet
9th February 2017

I had to leave early missed the LGBTQ Week poetry in the second set. The Septet included a bass clarinet and a couple of cellos, was conducted by Matthew Brown (of the local Leon String Quartet). They performed three pieces which Will has composed with software help (he cheerfully admitted that he doesn't have any grounding in music theory, despite being an excellent sax player — he's primarily a sculptor).

Migro Records presents: Bohman, Ghikas & Thomas + Luis Tabuenca
16th February 2017
Water Lane Cafe, Canterbury

Avant-garde percussionist Panos Ghikas played us a piece called "Right Error" released on his label (there was some Theolonious Monk connection explained, something to do with "making the right error" if you're going to make an error, and this relating to "write errors" in data storage). It was bursts of noise interpersed with silence, to which we listened intently and then applauded politely. He then launched into a baffling duo with a sax player who'd just come in from Limerick, followed by an amazingly creative drum solo from Luis Tabuenca. Adam Bohman and a friend spent a bit of time scraping and clanking things, then delivered a surreally comical multi-voice spoken word piece called "Four Perfect Balls" (which I've since heard broadcast on New York's wonderful freeform station WFMU). All very strange!

Jasdeep Singh Degun
23rd February 2017

This night started off with an experimental solo piano set from Sam (including a bit of everything — playing directly on the strings with various devices, attempting to talk and play simultaneously, encouranging the audience to sing arbitrary tones, etc.)

Jasdeep Singh Degun, a virtuoso player of Indian classical music who grew up in Leeds, then performed a concerto for sitar and string quartet called "The Bridge".

Elliot Galvin Trio
Thursday, 3rd March 2017

There was a support from a vaguely "psych-folk" singer-songwriter called Arthur Bates (part of Ashford's X-O-Dos collective) who reminded me a bit of a bit Liam Magill from Syd Arthur. I couldn't really get into his temporally "smeared" vocals, but found his guitar style quite interesting.

This was the first date of the EGT's tour promoting their Punch album. The rhythm section consisted of Corrie Dick on drums and Tom McCredie on bass. Elliot's ultra-dynamic piano style included rapidly applying and removing strips of gaffer tape to the strings (creating a kind of "pinched harpsichord" sonic madness). The set also included him playing a specially constructed microtonal double melodica and carrying out cassette manipulations of a recording of a Punch and Judy show. Absolutely brilliant.

Kit Downes and Tom Challenger
9th March 2017

This occasion started with a Q&A about their project which involved recording an album of experimental music on a variety of church organs in Suffolk. They then attempted to reproduce some of its content using tenor sax, harmonium, and a bowed-and-plucked acoustic string-stick-thing. Robert Stillman (American tenor sax player who lectures and plays locally) joined on the penultimate piece (with two harmoniums) and there was an elegant piano/sax number to end. I then ended up with Joel from Syd Arthur and Callum and Pete from The Boot Lagoon, catching up at a new place just around the corner on Stour Street called "Chromos" (it's preserved the name of the art supplies shop which formerly occupied the space, and features an expensive bar, a hairdresser, circus performers, a boutique cinema, a pizza over, a cereal bar, although not all at the same was pretty quiet while we were in there...not sure how long Canterbury can sustain such a venture!).

Alexander Hawkins / Elaine Mitchener Quartet
16th March 2017

This was a last-minute "to be announced" surprise and ended the season magnificently. Elaine Mitchener's vocals alone were utterly mindblowing and with Alexander Hawkins on piano (and a fantastic rhythm section) it was hard to know what to focus on. We got one long, unbroken musical journey (and a short encore) A lot of it was freeform, but I did notice that they drew on Archie Shepp's "Blasé"

Amazing stuff throughout another autumn/winter/spring in Canterbury, much respect to Sam Bailey and everyone else involved for putting all these remarkable free/donations events on.


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