Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Benefits of a week off

Getting to play six records ‘out’ is not why I still collect music, but that was the only opportunity during the latest CALL night, where the line-up was staggered and numbers were down due to the relocation and, perhaps, metropolitan aversions about suburban SE London in general and how far out the Dirty South is. (A train to Lewisham and a 15-minute walk down the A20 gets you there; props to Mike’s friend Jason who walked from London Bridge!) Trendy near-suburban New Cross and Peckham with their inner-city frisson, yes; sticksville outposts such as Lee, no. Anyway, credit to all the acts who got on with the job despite the sparse turnout, none more so than the Rules who soundchecked and jammed over my fumbling round the mixing desk.

Le Six: Peverelist’s mix of STP’s The Fall (not deliberate as this noodly 90s-style techy spacestep stayed on for the duration of my working the system out), then 4Hero’s rmx of Laswell and Wobble’s Orion, Appleblim’s Circling, Battles’ Leyendecker, The Bug’s Night Tripper ft Roger Robinson from the first album, and M.I.A’s Paper Planes. The latter is a current hit with my daughter who asks for the ‘bang-bang’ one. (Get the waterboard out now I’m making a lawless terrorist out of someone you can still count in months!) Hoping to get some footage of the Rules’ powerful post-punk cacophony up soon.

That was the start of a few days of regular interactivity at the cultureface. Maggie Hambling’s ‘Scallop’ shell sculpture on Suffolk's Aldeburgh beach is not a disposable work ripe for vandalism but neither is it something to stand and gawp at. Accordingly, my kids and I got involved with it, diving in below to shelter, clambering on and around the ruggedised stainless steel’s different shapes, or just sitting on or by this living (and inevitably dying) object and contemplating the power of the sea.

This was clearly not the view of a few aged arrivals, although their impeccable British reserve was not up to the job of telling us that explicitly. Do they appreciate such subject-object loyalism is negated by its structure and material (metal already rusting), and therefore the impossibility of this being like an unchanging artwork fenced off in a gallery, as well as its setting, given the ever-evolving Suffolk landscape on which it sits (as the site notes say, ‘the natural tendency in all things to entropy’)? Nevertheless, we got off and gave them their minutes, and took the picture of a group of girls who wanted the tourist image from the backside.

To E3 Ldn, not to catch the latest grimestars get funky, but to attend a concert in aid of a Bow church development fund. That’s concert, as in concert, the classical. Two hours of solo, duet or group renditions of Mozart, Puccini and Rossini arias, sacred and secular Tudor pieces, the ‘British Airways’ tune (Delibes’ Sous le Dome Epais), Schubert, Britten, Messaien, etc, accompanied either by piano or iTunes instrumental.

The vocal quality of each act was not in doubt, but I have not had much exposure to this type of full-on, belted out, no-part-of-the-scale-untouched performance, and I confess to occasional wilting (must have been the earlier wrestling with rebar). Accordingly, my ears were most pricked when there was material closest to my classical tastes – solo piano pieces from Debussy’s Children’s Corner Suite – and I was also diverted by material that broke the mould such as an in-the-round approach to a Charles Villiers Stanford number and the modern-life-is-rubbish vocal satire of Berberian’s Stripsody (pure Waveswarms business!). All in all, a worthy exposure.

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