SCOTT R. LOONEY & KLAUS JANEK and ROBERT CURGENVEN at Friends Meeting House, Brighton, tues 8th nov 2011.
The main auditorium at the Friends Meeting House is one of Brighton's secret jewels. The building was constructed in 1805 and the auditorium is acoustically extremely well designed. Scott R. Looney immediately noted the quality of the venue's grand piano, and positioning it centrally, set up his and double bassist Klaus Janek's electronics around it. Charming Australian Robert Curgenven thus set up his three turntables and additional devices in the centre of the room allowing the audience to surround the performers to create an intimate atmosphere.
Due to unforseen time constraints, Paul Khimasia Morgan opted not to perform, letting Robert Curgenven start the evening. Performing in almost total darkness, Curgenven built up a set of monumental moving tones constructed partially from inducing finely-balanced feedback from the PA system, partly from various mic'ed up fans and other electronic devices. Alternately powerful and direct, thanks in part to his sub-bass speaker augmenting the sound, and quiet and subtle. Anyone who has tried working with feedback will know that it is quite a feat to control it let alone manipulate it into melodic information. This Curgenven did with aplomb, periodically employing additional sounds from a variety of his own dubplates containing field recordings, tonal information and room sounds. One of the best and most "musical" performances of avant-electronics I have witnessed in a long while.
By contrast, the duo of Scott R. Looney and Klaus Janek produced a very interesting collection of extended jazz thinking; Scott prepared the grand with a selection of objects to produce a range of metallic rings, subdued thumps and reverberant artifacts. He also played some dischordant and melodic sections, demonstrating advanced technique. Electronics also featured in Scott's sonic armoury and to me, mostly heavily influenced the direction of the improvisation. Klaus Janek began the interplay by sawing hard with his bow on his double bass; i noted very complex fingering work with his left hand, before bringing his own electronic devices and effects into play. As is much the case these days, both musicians employed laptops and/or ipads as control/source devices. The single circa 45 minute piece was completely involving; the music having only the slightest references to "jazz", yet blossoming with melodic and harmonic content from time to time over the mainly abstract backdrop of extended technique, electronic noise and sound-making.
This was the last date on the current Looney/Janek european tour, but they are set to return in 2013, and we look forward to hosting them again.
Photograph of Robert Curgenven's set-up taken by Paul Khimasia Morgan.