Friday, 30 January 2009

Vortex music market, 22 February

On 22 February, the Vortex is running its first music market. Sunday afternoon from 1-6 p.m. Come one, come all. Bring your vinyl, your record collection, of, if you're a label, some of the CDs that you currently have to store in the linen cupboard, in the garage or behind the sofa.
Admission is free, as is the cost of setting up a stall.
Contact if you want to have a stall.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Law/Burgess/Sirkis, The Art of Sound Tour - 14/01/09

Only those with extraordinary innate musical sensibility can aspire to win a scholarship backed by the Austrian Government to study under the pianist Badura-Skoda. John Law, a former recipient of this prestigious award, aims to use this gift to engender a spiritual experience in his audience. Improvisation is deemed critical to conjuring this effect. His methodology places lexical priority on engagement with the sonic and atmospheric dynamics in his immediate environment in order to transcend these via musical expression.

As if to put intention into practise, the evening’s proceedings commenced with developments on the Chet Baker tune played through the P.A. system while the band prepared the stage. It demonstrated an extroverted inclination to engage and interact not only within each musician’s internal space, nor within the group’s exclusive dynamic but with the entire audio and emotional ecosystem in which the group found itself.

Law’s delivery of the Miles classic, "Solar" was infused with medieval choral voicing and harmonies. His improvisations rarely strayed far from the original themes. He mines the interior contours of the phrase for the points of melodic intensity thereby sourcing the thought or feeling which motivated the composition in the first instance. This examination attained hypnotic force during his own compositions, "Watching Waiting" and "The Ghost in the Oak". Double bassist, Sam Burgess matched this effect during, "Still Life" with expansions on the main theme predominantly played in his upper register with a stunningly beautiful tone and expressive inflictions woven with romanticism. Sirkis reached his zenith on, "Giant Steps", with sparse accents and fills which fluctuated in and out of tempo. This effectively deconstructed the composition to reveal its interior.

"Music is for me a window into another realm." Sirkis’ sensitive analysis illustrates the effect created by this trio; elegant, sophisticated and intellectually engaging.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Mwamba/Kane/Blackmore - 12.01.09

Creative Partnerships Derby is an initiative in which musicians aim to substantively alter school environments to create ever more effective places of learning. Vibraphonist, Corey Mwamba operates as a prominent practitioner of this programme. Perhaps this partially explains how this trio project with bassist Dave Kane and drummer, Joshua Blackmore managed to engender such an impact.

This group prioritises the practise of in-performance listening to create a tangible sense of synergy despite the absence of a preordained structure. The music was entirely improvised, born from the thoughts and feelings of the players at that precise moment in time. Mwamba excelled in developing phrases inspired as much by bebop as by West African folk, as enchanting as any nursery rhyme and often imbued with atmospheric tonal layering. From within this complex web of melodic expression he isolated and developed the moments of tension inherent within the original phrase to thrilling effect. This introspective expressionism intensified under the strain of rhythmic reactions to Blackmore’s fills and accents. These were expressed in a variety of idioms; from brisk bop struts through neurotic and hyperactive avant-garde atmospherics, to subtle, erudite hints towards drum and bass. When bowed, Kane’s double bass delivered the emotional penetration of classical romanticism. His a cappella solo was evocative of Arild Andersen, combining powerful melodic expression with a resounding tone and inventive percussive textures.

Trumpeter, Alex Bonney featured briefly. His distinctive regal tone soared above a dense layering of free-form rhythm and melody with sparse incisive phrases before descending into a haunting wail woven with resentment and loss.

There was an undeniable sense of the sublime in this creation and experience. Though the music has not been named and the group has no recording the sensations visited on the audience will be carried for much time to come.

Corey Mwamba -

Dave Kane -

Joshua Blackmore -