Adam Bushell - photo by PKM
So then, sadly the final night of november's aural detritus concert series, and also our final concert of 2012. Not to worry though; we're fixing to organise the third concert series, again at Phoenix Brighton, in the spring of 2013, and there may even be a special one-off event somewhere in Brighton in January, so watch this space, as they say.
More by accident than by design, tonight's performances all have strings in common and the first example of this concerns percussionist Adam Bushell, (tonight playing vibraphone), and cellist Bela Emerson. In fact Bela doubles up her string quotient; beginning by playing a relaxed figure on four-string tenor guitar. Adam Bushell remains fairly restrained for the majority of their set; as Bela switches to cello augmented by electronics, a coherent and beautiful interplay of sounds takes shape. Adam's vibraphone playing reminded me of the sound of some of the Chicago post rock/jazz records from the last decade, although that scene's Chad Taylor played marimba as well, I believe... A very precise, enjoyable start to the proceedings.
Bela Emerson - photo by PKMBy total contrast, violinist Angharad Davies played a beautiful acoustic solo in the ante-room at the back of the Gallery. By playing more than one string simultaneously, Angharad produced an overtone-like effect, gradually bringing in harmonic information and at one point bringing her playing volume down to a very quiet level. Angharad demonstrated a stunning grasp of technique and the intellectual potential of the instrument. Just amazing.
Angharad Davies - photo by PKM
After some more of Daniel Spicer's poetry reading and an intermission, our third purveyor of string-based music, Sarah Hughes, began her solo performance on amplified zither. Sarah approaches her instrument, (some brief background for the uninitiated here), in a similar way to some of our our previous guests, lets say for example, Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga, Patrick Farmer, Daniel Jones, (and incidentally, they happen to be friends and have performed together in various groupings and projects), in that she not only works with the characteristics of the instrument itself, but augments her zither with objects, actions and extended techniques. This approach has found her interpreting modern composition scores recently, but as pure, open improvisation, her set tonight really soars.
Sarah Hughes - photo by PKM
Lastly, a man with one foot in the jazz world and the other in free improvisation; the great Dominic Lash, who, remarkably for a man so young, has attained an unbelievable command of double bass syntax and a reputation and popularity to match. Tonight, Dom treated us to a display of virtuoso extended bass technique, utilising every inch of the instrument. His imagination and technique know no bounds and he sustained his impressive and captivating solo for thirty or so minutes.
It was great to finish with such fantastic and unique players; not quite sure how we'll be able to follow it next year!
Big thanks again to everyone who attended, particularly those who took advantage of the three-night passes; to all the performers who made long, and in some cases, arduous (!) journeys down to the seaside; to all the staff and volunteers at Phoenix Brighton, particularly Belinda Greenhalgh and Clare Hankinson; to our sound engineer Simon Drinkwater, and the production team - Daniel Spicer, Holly Jarvis, Adam Lygo and Daniel Jones - your hard work is much appreciated!
Dominic Lash - photo by PKM