Sunday, June 29, 2008

Max Richter at the Union Chapel

Max Richter is a hard musician to categorise, if he didn't use loops and samples he would one of the world's most enjoyable composers of modern classical music. But he does and therefore he kind of straddles that space between electronica, classical music and music as multimedia art performance.

He has a new album coming out and on Sunday there was a gig at Union Chapel to coincide with the release. Although a huge fan of Blue Notebooks and Songs From Before I have never had the chance to catch a live performance.

The support act was Johann Johannsson whom Amazon has been recommending to me for the last year. In this case Amazon is right, it is the kind of art noise meets string quartet experience I enjoy.

And then the sun began to set and a truely magical experience began. It was partly the light and atmosphere of the old church but it was mostly about beautiful music. A swooping, haunting melody that captures so many complex feelings. All of Max's releases have a concept and narrative that binds together the fragments of themes and individual pieces and the performance, though mixing music from four different releases, had the same sense of a journey through melancoly, stasis, loss and hope.

The performance was fantastic, with the playing matching the quality of the recording but adding an emotional feeling on top of the technical reproduction of the recorded sound. Everyone on stage seemed to be caught up in emotion of the music and everyone in the audience seemed rapt (rather than doing the normal London gig audience thing of talking incessantly).

It is truly the most amazing gig I have seen since I moved to London and is really one of the highlights of my life. I'd love to do it all again.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

High Contrast 6Music Mix

6Mixes can be a bit of a mixed bag but at their best they are a mix of influences, admiration and a personal musical history. Listening to the High Contrast Mix (not someone I had heard of before) I was struck by the familiarity of his choices and his reasoning for choosing his music.

Although it lost me towards the end I was really curious who this person was, finding out that it wasn't just a 6Music punter I had a Google and came up with a bio which says that actually we not that different. Except that he's more my brother's age and he's a drum and bass producer and I'm an IT consultant, natch.

Still I found it weird that we had these parallel journeys through a Welsh childhood with our musical discoveries.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

NIN: Ghosts I-IV

Late, tired. New NIN musical experience is amazing value for $5. Buy it now.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Throbbing Gristle - Discipline

Since I seem to posting now I might as well get the last link off my list and point y'all in the direction of Throbbing Gristle's Discipline. I don't generally really "get" much TG but this live performance is punishing brilliant.

When the beat kicks off it's amazingly heavy but also surprisingly 4 to the floor modern. There is also an amazing moment near the start when the vocal delay and loop is taken off the mike and suddenly this kind of song appears from the midst of a cloud of discord.

Generally I prefer SPK for the misery music but this performance is fascinating because it is not simply proto-industrial. You have punk nihilism, post-punk performance, electronic beats and Kraftwerk electronic manipulation all going off in one place.

If you think it's rubbish then you can watch this and skip to 5:20 where someone agrees with you in a satisfyingly direct action sort of way.

Insanity in the sideband

If you have a digital radio I don't know if you've ever made use of the little text ticker that accompanies the broadcast. Usually I just use it to check what record is being played at the moment. However Marc Riley's 6Music show makes an insane amount of use of the ticker. In addition to telling you useful stuff like the release date of the new Tindersticks album they also just make up completely random stuff on there. Kewl!

Indelicates - Sixteen

I quite like the Indelicates but their current single is the kind of funny, catchy, clever and bitter pop song I love. The video captures the yearning, snideness of the lyrics and I think its hard not to be delighted by the swooping rhythms and rhymes of the song's chorus.

You can get more Indelicates at their Myspace page, I'm looking forward to their album but Sixteen is really their high point to date.

If you do take a look at the video (you are aren't you?) then also take the time to watch the Iggy and the Stooges Sixteen video that you'll probably get in the recommendations. It's amazing to watch some simply give themselves over to their performance with no irony and no reservations. It's mesmerising to watch Iggy at his best.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Listening to Tom Robinson can be expensive

Sometimes I listen to the Tom Robinson show on 6 Music when I am washing the dishes. Sometimes these shows can be expensive. I have ended up buying three EPs within weeks of each other due to airtime on Tom's show and at the end of tonight's show I have another five names in my notebook to follow up on.

First there is my new favourite shoegazer band, Ringo Deathstarr, you can buy their EP from Spoilt Victorian Child and you really should you know. Then there are the goth rock stomp charms of the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and the northern vaguely category defying Beneath Fire and Smoke. Listening to a radio show has never been so expensive.