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Thursday, 22 November 2012

illuminations, glossolalia, static & cascades


Paul Khimasia Morgan - photo by Andrea Shamlou

Concert two; this is the halfway point, and already something's different.  The action takes place in the Phoenix' main Gallery this evening, giving everyone, performers and audience, a bit more elbow room and offering a more polished presentation.  After a quick introduction, and his first poem of the evening (a version of Spood I think, from his album engruntled), Daniel Spicer urged the audience up off their seats and into an ante-room at the back of the Gallery to watch me, Paul Khimasia Morgan.  I feel a bit strange attempting to review my own performance, (partly because I don't remember much about it), so all I'll say is this: shortwave radio, mobile phone recordings and amplified bicycle lights in pitch darkness. 



Iris Garrelfs - photo by Andrea Shamlou

Next up was London-based sound artist Iris Garrelfs who produced an impressive set of real-time vocal manipulation/improvisation from behind her laptop.  Dense backgrounds were set up, occasionally producing a very effective sub bass effect, over which Iris spun a wordless filigree. Such was the power of her bass soundforms, a large bough fell from an elm outside, visible through the Gallery's plate glass windows during Iris' set*.  The resulting sonic landscape moved interestingly in and out of vaguely esoteric territory (at least to my mind) which I enjoyed; but the thing that stays with me is the extremely high quality signal Garrelfs produces which allows the nuances of her manipulations of her trained voice to hit their marks, without an audible residue of whatever software she was using to do the processing.


Daniel Spicer - photo by PKM

More poetry from Daniel Spicer, before an intermission, and then the Oxford/Bristol based Stephen Cornford and London based Greek owner of the label Organised Music From Thessaloniki; Kostis Kilymis.


Stephen Cornford and Kostis Kilymis - photo by Katy Connor

Quite a surprisingly full and full-on sound from these two young improvisors tonight; both men armed with a table full of wires, devices, objects, bits of metal, boxes and who knows what.  Pulsing electronics, droning hums, skittering noise-shards all produced with gusto and at volume; a far cry from the sometimes delicate and sedate world of lower-case improv.  Kilymis has worked with a who's who of  international avant names both solo and through his label, while Cornford participated in the Soundfjord residency at  V22 / The Biscuit Factory in South London this summer with Patrick Farmer and Lee Patterson.  Their pedigree shows.  Marvellous stuff.

Noteherder & McCloud - photo by PKM

Rounding up the evening were the rather dapper saxophone and electronics duo Noteherder & McCloud; also known as Chris Parfitt and Geoff Reader.  Having selected from a choice of two horns tonight, Parfitt set about utilizing the acoustic properties of the space in tandem with his usual habit of feeding a signal to Reader's electronics set up.  Reader himself prefaced their set with a brief apology regarding one of his keyboards which had appeared to have reverted to its factory presets, but to me, this was to their advantage, making them (consciously or unconsciously) seem to work harder.  This improvisation was one of the best ones I've seen them do, Parfitt's processed sax reminding me of  Nik Turner at times (in no way a bad thing) and with Geoff Reader providing plenty of momentum with his churning synths and distorted vocalising.  Two new releases from these guys; one on Exotic Pylon and the other from The Slightly Off Kilter Label coming very soon - I'd advise you very strongly to seek them both out, judging by the calibre of work the boys demonstrated tonight.

Big thanks to the staff of Phoenix Brighton, and the adcs team: Simon Drinkwater, Holly Jarvis, Adam Lygo and Daniel Jones.

Final show next Friday 30th November with:
Angharad Davies, Dominic Lash, Sarah Hughes and Adam Bushell/Wil Miles/Bela Emerson trio
interludes from Daniel Spicer

* note:  it was quite windy last night.

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