Tag Archives: Dean McPhee

December 2017 – strange and wonderful sounds in and out of London – Alien, Adrian Lane and Stuart Bowditch in Leigh-on-Sea (14th December); Dean McPhee, Sam McLoughlin, David Chatton Barker, Amy Cutler and Sylvia Hallett up in Homerton (16th December)

6 Dec

As Christmas approaches I find myself in a tearing hurry; so don’t be too surprised if the remaining gig posts for the year rely even more on text ripped straight off Facebook or other gig notifications. I’m just here to boost the signals and blend the options for the month, though I’ll also patch in any missing information as I go.

Now – December news on various Essex sonic artists coming together out on the Thames estuary, and on a Homerton gathering of atmosphere-guitar, homemade instruments and film…

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Alien + Adrian Lane + Stuart Bowditch, 14th December 2017

Courier Sound presents:
Alien + Adrian Lane + Stuart Bowditch
Phuse Media, Polar House, 103 Rectory Grove, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 2HW, England
Thursday 14th December 2017, 8.00pm
information

“Courier Sound invite you to a launch party celebrating the release of Alien‘s ‘Perimeter’. Al Johnson’s long form piece, made with a bass guitar and a variety of electronics, is presented on a super-limited edition (30) mini CD in a bespoke arigato pack (designed by Machindo, cut by Damien Robinson), with two inserts, a sticker and a decal on the CD. In the small and intimate setting of his own office, Al will be playing a live improvised set, alongside live sets from Adrian Lane and Stuart Bowditch. Entry is free and early arrival is advised. Bring some booze.”

An intermittent surfacer, Alien has previously released work on labels including Southend’s Hottwerk; but here’s some very recent material (uploaded to Soundcloud yesterday!) plus a video swiped from Facebook…

 
And here’s some more I dug up on the guest acts…

Adrian Lane – who’s also recorded as Calicoade and (in collaboration with Guido Lusetti), as That Faint Light – is a man of mutually superimposed talents. He’s a visual artist as well as a musician, or perhaps he’s better described as a simultaneously visual and musical artist: his music integrating acoustic and electronic elements, struggling in a dreamy web of neoclassical/mediaeval folk inspirations and textural ambient foggings. Adrian’s newest album, ‘Playing With Ghosts’, uses cut-up and re-ordered samples of hundred-year-old wax cylinder recordings as its main sound source (something Adrian goes into in greater depth in this interview with his record company Preserved Sounds.

 
The work of Stuart Bowditch (who also records under the names of Hybernation, USRNM and Furrows) is primarily based in sound design and field recordings. As his biog puts it, he’s mostly “inspired by location and the people and experiences he encounters there. He is interested primarily in the sounds of everyday life and those who create them, making work that is inclusive and accessible.His music, sound tracks and art installations are often site-responsive and developed with community groups, the public or people who would not consider themselves interested in ‘art’. In this way of working he tries to make sense of the world he lives in and his place within it. Simultaneously, the creations and experiences of others end up intrinsically embedded in his work, creating a rich texture of layers, representing his life and those he has encountered along the way.”

 
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Dean McPhee + Sam McLoughlin & David Chatton Barker + Amy Cutler & Sylvia Hallett, 16th December 2016

The Old Dentist presents:
Dean McPhee + Sam McLoughlin & David Chatton Barker + Amy Cutler & Sylvia Hallett
The Old Dentist, 33 Chatsworth Road, Homerton, London, E5 0LH, England
Saturday 16th December 2017, 7.30pm
– information here and here

“A night of deep audio-visual sorcery in three acts to mark the release of solo electric guitarist Dean McPhee’s much anticipated third album ‘Four Stones’ – featuring Dean’s hypnotic drone-folk guitar work and the visual feedback footage of Barry Hale, the homemade instrument/OHP séance shadow-puppetry of Folklore Tapes duo Sam McLoughlin & David Chatton Baker and the films and musical improvisations of Amy Cutler and Sylvia Hallett.

Dean McPhee is a solo electric guitarist who combines fluid, chiming melodic lines with shimmering drones and deep layers of decaying delay and echo. He has a unique style of playing which draws together influences from British folk, dub, kosmische, post-rock and Mali blues, and his music has a hypnotic and dreamlike quality. His latest album ‘Four Stones’ is due to be released on Hood Faire (a label run collectively by Dean, Sam McLoughlin and David Chatton-Barker) in January 2018… For this gig Dean will be playing to footage of video artist Barry Hale‘s Intraference visual feedback films.



 
Sam McLoughlin plays homemade instruments and contraptions along with guitar, analog synths, harmonium and pump organ. Sometimes he sings songs; at other times he combines handmade Moondog-like percussion with microphone feedback, synth drones and unpredictable bowed textures to produce improvised music with magical and shamanic overtones. Sam recently released the album ‘Flaming Liar’ on Them There Records and has previously released music on Andy Votel’s Twisted Nerve as well as Folklore Tapes, Pre Cert Entertainment and Hood Faire.

“David Chatton-Barker is the co-founder and captain of the highly regarded Folklore Tapes label which was recently described by Brainwashed.com as “possibly the most unique and fascinating label around”. As well as being a visual artist and film-maker, David also specialises in playful and atmospheric collages of sound, dictaphone recordings and live improvisation. Like Sam, he also builds his own very inventive and visually striking homemade instruments and sound-making devices, which he uses to perform live (along with projections and ritualistic interventions).

 
“As a new duo, geographer-poet Amy Cutler and multi-instrumentalist Sylvia Hallett draw on the dark sides of nature: from sea parasites to forensic botany to elegies based on Arctic bird migrations. They perform live improvisatory settings of pieces drawing on natural history, such as ‘you, the stingbearers’, based on Jean-Henri Fabre’s nineteenth-century chronicle of human desolation, ‘The Life of the Fly’. Instruments include the viola, the musical saw, and Sylvia’s Russian garden vines. Amy’s projections include kaleidoscopes of tree rot and insect forms in nature documentaries, and she will also screen some of her short music videos inspired by drone music and experimental landscape cinema.”
(See below for Sylvia at work on a bicycle wheel, plus Amy’s short film ‘Incantations From Yin Valley’ – made this year with experimental drone musician Bridget Hayden, previously of Vibracathedral Orchestra).



 

March 2016 – upcoming gigs – Kiran Leonard tours Britain again (March into April) and reveals new single; London gigs from Whispers & Hurricanes (with Madam, Kat May and RobinPlaysChords) and a guitar double from Dean McPhee and Seabuckthorn

23 Mar

Details on two London shows from a packed upcoming weekend: but first, an extended British tour from a major talent…

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Tomorrow, explosively gifted singer-songwriter Kiran Leonard charges off on another British tour with his all-star quartet of Manchester art rock luminaries (completed by Dan Bridgwood Hill, Dave Rowe, and Andrew Cheetham – see the note on his previous tour for their credentials). Support on most of the tour comes from dark-glam Manchester pop act Irma Vep, although some dates feature folk musicians Richard Dawson and Salvation Bill (in Newcastle and Oxford respectively) and Bristolian “jazz/rock/post-op pop” quartet The Evil Usses (who fill the bill in Bath), with other acts to be confirmed (though they might have been added to the individual gig pages by now…)





Meanwhile, here’s Kiran’s brand-new nine-and-a-half-minute single – a terrific and spontaneous-sounding interweaving of otherworldly folk baroque, chamber prog, post-hardcore racket and kitchen-warrior percussion. The parent album, ‘Grapefruit’, is out on Moshi Moshi on Friday.


 

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In London, at the weekend, there’s a third-outing triple bill for Whispers & Hurricanes (the quieter wing of Chaos Theory Promotions, for when they fancy putting on an act that doesn’t sound like a giant metallic jazz centipede in manga boots)…

Whispers & Hurricanes, 26th March 2016

Chaos Theory presents:
Whispers & Hurricanes: Madam + Kat May + RobinPlaysChords
The Sebright Arms, 33-35 Coate Street, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9AG, England
Saturday 26th March 2016, 7.30pm
more information

“A five-piece London based band, fronted by charismatic singer-songwriter and composer Sukie Smith, Madam create nocturnal, intricate-yet-cinematic soundscapes showcasing songs that are at once confessional and a call to arms, and have been compared to both Mazzy Star and Cat Power. The band has amassed a loyal legion of fans at home and abroad, showcasing their smoky sound at intimate gigs and packed venues across Europe. Tonight they will launch their haunting single When I Met You, taken from their upcoming album ‘Back To The Sea’.” (Meanwhile, here’s an earlier track from their previous album, ‘Gone Before Morning’; plus their darned slinky cover of Oscar Brown’s tale of treachery, ‘The Snake’ – a welcome antidote to the song’s recent co-opting by Donald Trump.)



 

Whispers & Hurricanes, 26th March 2016“After many years we are reunited with the extraordinary singer-songwriter Kat May, who is inspired by the melancholy of Scandinavia, the urban textures of her base in London and the literary song-writing of her native France. Her atmospheric indie folk-pop has been hailed by France’s biggest music magazine, ‘Les InRocks’, as “cathartic and elegant”, and by ‘Lomography’ as “visually dreamy, melancholic and emotionally arresting all at the same time.” We caught the launch of her debut album ‘Beyond The North Wind’ at St Pancras Old Church back in 2014, and it’s still a regular feature on our playlists. Tonight she will perform her music on piano and voice, with violin and cello accompaniments.


 

Robin Jax’s exploits as RobinPlaysChords have been built on a slow but steady sonic development. Hailing from his remote country abode near Leamington Spa, the solitary songwriter uses his guitar and loopstation to create percussion, shimmering ambience and distorted hooks for him to place his honest lyrics over. Garnering comparisons to David Bowie and Patrick Wolf, RobinPlaysChords has previously won over audiences when opening for The Irrepressibles, Larsen, Thomas Truax and others, as well as undertaking his first shows in continental Europe in 2015.”


 

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Finally for now, a doubled gig of textured, looped and echoed guitar, but with a pastoral edge…

Dean McPhee + Seabuckthorn
The Slaughtered Lamb, 34-35 Great Sutton Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 0DX, England
Saturday 26th March 2016, 8.30pm
more information

“West Yorkshire based solo electric guitarist Dean McPhee plays a Fender Telecaster through a valve amp and effects pedals, combining clean, chiming melodic lines with deep layers of decaying delay and cavernous echo. Over years of improvisation and experimentation he has developed a unique style of playing which draws together influences from British folk, dub, kosmische, post-rock, Mali blues and modal jazz. His releases on the Blast First Petite, Hood Faire and World in Winter labels have been critically acclaimed by ‘The Wire’, ‘Uncut’, ‘Record Collector’, ‘Music OMH’, ‘Dusted’, ‘Brainwashed’, ‘The Out Door’, ‘Drowned in Sound’ and ‘The Quietus’ amongst others. He has supported artists/bands including Thurston Moore (as UK tour support), Acid Mothers Temple, Wolf People, James Blackshaw, Emeralds, Josh T Pearson, The Magic Band, Sharon Van Etten, Michael Hurley, Josephine Foster, Meg Baird, Bohren and der Club of Gore and Charalambides. Dean is currently working on a new album which uses a kick drum pedal to introduce a pulsing, percussive undercurrent to his most recent compositions,


 

Seabuckthorn is the solo project of UK acoustic guitarist Andy Cartwright. Releasing 6 albums since 2008 he explores alternative terrains on six to twelve strings, often with minimal layered accompaniments to form musical landscapes. Cartwright uses the techniques of finger picking & bowing combined with various open tunings to create a well curated mixture of approaches. Falling into the cinematic and soundtrack genres, his music is evident of influences ranging from the traditional styles of Robbie Basho and Jack Rose, to more modern players like Ben Chasny, Zak Riles, and Gustavo Santaolalla with whom Cartwright shares an emphasis on atmospheric and multi-instrumental compositions. Sometimes quietly ambient, often powerfully expressive. As well as live performances around the UK, Cartwright has performed in numerous shows & festivals all over France & the southern deserts of Tunisia.


 

Dean McPhee and Seabuckthorn are recording a split 7″ single to be released later this year.”

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News on more London weekend shows are coming up next time…
 

February 2016 – upcoming gigs – interlocking British tours by Yorkston Thorne Khan, Toby Hay/Jim Ghedi and Laura Moody offer Anglo-Indian crossover folk, fingerstyle guitar, folk baroque and cello bewitchment.

10 Feb

I didn’t catch up with this next tour until a couple of its January dates had gone by, but it’s still worth catching up with the rest of it:

Yorkston Thorne Khan, 2015

Yorkston/Thorne/Khan are an experimental group that includes James Yorkston (hailed as one of the most “influential singer/songwriters on the Scottish folk scene”), Suhail Yusuf Khan (award winning sarangi player and classical singer from New Delhi) and Jon Thorne (best known as jazz double bass player with electro outfit Lamb). The trio are currently touring to support their collaborative debut album ‘Everything Sacred’, which was released in mid-January 2016.

This is Scottish-Irish-Indian-English music in the raw – Yorkston’s familiar steel guitar strings pulled, pushed and bent into more unfamiliar acoustic drones, the bass dropping anchors through the floor. Rather than world music per se, this sounds more idiosyncratic, a temporary structure bivouacking by the side of the indie-folk, art music tradition, while its widening horizons extend back to the Sixties heyday of the Incredible String Band, and forward to this singular album’s satellite orbit over the folk music, Indian classical and indie music of today – all these musical ley lines threaded into a new kind of eclectic, domestic setting.

James: “Playing together as Yorkston/Thorne/Khan, we tackle a wide array of different sounds and songs. Alongside pieces of our own, there’s a fair chunk of improvisation, plus covers of Ivor Cutler’s Little Black Buzzer and Lal Waterson’s Song For Thirza. Jon’s jazz background definitely comes to the fore, as does Suhail’s devotional singing and outstanding sarangi playing. I just do my best to keep up…”


 

Dates:

  • The Bicycle Shop, 17 St Benedicts Street, Norwich, NR2 4PE, England, Tuesday 16th February 2016more information
  • The Junction 2, Clifton Way, Cambridge CB1 7GX, England, Wednesday 17th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • Eat your Own Ears @ Warwick Arts Centre (Studio), University of Warwick, Gibbet Hill Road, Coventry, CV4 7AL, England, Thursday 18th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • Irregular Folk @ St Barnabas Church, 15 St Barnabas Street, Oxford, OX2 6BG, England, Friday 19th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • Fruit, 62-63 Humber Street, Hull, HU1 1TU, England, Saturday 20th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • Opus presents Gadabout @ Yellow Arch Studios, 30-26 Burton Road, Sheffield, S3 8BX, England, Sunday 21st February 2016 (with Laura Moody + Toby Hay/Jim Ghedi)more information
  • Belgrave Music Hall, 1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP, England, Tuesday 23rd February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, M1 7HE, England, Wednesday 24th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • The Old Queen’s Head, 44 Essex Road, Islington, London, N1 8LN, England, Thursday 25th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • Canton St John Music @ St John the Evangelist Church, St John’s Crescent, Canton, Cardiff, CF5 1NX, Wales, Saturday 27th February 2016 (with Laura Moody + Toby Hay/Jim Ghedi)more information
  • Komedia, 22-23 Westgate Street, Bath, BA1 1EP, England, Saturday 28th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  • Exeter Phoenix, Bradninch Place, Gandy Street, Exeter, EX4 3LS, England, Sunday 29th February 2016 (with Laura Moody)more information
  •  

    Playing support on all of the dates apart from Norwich (and joining in for a few songs in the headlining set) is singer-songwriter and cellist extraordinaire Laura Moody, whose songs sometimes touch on the same areas of kinetic fantasy as Kate Bush, Tori Amos or Joanna Newsom, sometimes dip into the cool small details of a Julia Holter or Anja Garbarek, and sometimes summon up the haunting folk-contralto reveries of Kathleen Ferrier. Just before the tour starts, Laura will be playing her own London solo show, as follows:

    Tina Edwards presents:
    Laura Moody
    Pizza Express Jazz Club, 10 Dean Street, Soho, London, W1D 3RW, England
    Tuesday 16th February 2016
    more information

    Laura: “I’ve seen so many amazing performers at Pizza Express Jazz over the years – Kurt Elling, Ian Shaw, Gwyneth Herbert (and just one jazz/rock gig that I went to in terrible error and possibly may have feigned illness at so I could leave) – so I’m both excited and honoured to have been invited by music journalist and broadcaster Tina Edwards to play my music on that stage. It’s my first truly central London gig for a little while and as well as playing a load of tunes I will also be having an onstage chat with Tina, so you can get to hear some hilarious anecdotes about how some of these songs came about. But most importantly you can listen to a woman hitting herself with her own cello bow while you eat an American Romana with extra mozzarella.”


     

    * * * * * * * *

    In addition, the Sheffield and Cardiff gigs on the Yorkston Thorne Khan tour (21st and 27th February respectively) features extra support by Toby Hay and Jim Ghedi, following their appearance at Daylight Music earlier in the month. These shows, and more, dovetail into a Hay and Ghedi tour over the whole of February and the beginning of March.

    From Sheffield and Rhayader respectively, Jim and Toby are young (yet assured and accomplished) masters of both fingerstyle acoustic guitar and the resurgent, omnivorous stylings of folk baroque. Both are seasoned performers and collaborators. During years of travelling, Jim has appeared on bills or in ensembles with James Blackshaw, Richard Dawson, Dead Rat Orchestra, Cam Deas, C Joynes, Stephanie Hladowski, Alasdair Roberts, Alex Nelson’s Death Shanties, The Big Eyes Family Players and Trembling Bells. While less widely travelled than Jim, Toby is rapidly becoming a British folk festival veteran and has taken support slots to Ryley Walker, Songhoy Blues and Marika Hackman.

    Playing as a duo, they collectively draw sonic and compositional inspiration from African music (particularly kora music), Bert Jansch, jazz, Indian ragas, ancient Welsh harp music, Eastern European folklore, the Beat writers and John Fahey’s American Primitivism. For more details on how some of this turns out, there’s a ‘Misfit City’ review of Toby’s first EP here, plus a couple of videos below.


    One of the main follows up to that Daylight Music appearance is a west Yorkshire show alongside two other formidable local talents:

    Toby Hay/Jim Ghedi Duo + Dean McPhee + Saif Mode @ Fuse Arts Space, Bradford, 17th February 2016

    Toby Hay/Jim Ghedi Duo + Dean McPhee + Saif Mode
    Fuse Art Space, 5-7 Rawson Place, Bradford, BD1 3QQ, England
    Wednesday 17th February 2016
    more information

    You’ve already read about Jim and Toby, so here’s the information on the other two performers:

    Dean McPhee is a West Yorkshire-based solo electric guitarist who plays a Fender Telecaster through a valve amp and effects pedals. Dean is a self-taught guitarist and has developed a unique style of playing over years of improvisation and experimentation. His influences include British folk, dub, Krautrock, post-rock, Moroccan trance and modal jazz. “The hallmark of McPhee’s style is a picked bassline and free-ranging variations on melodic ideas via a mesmerising progression of harmonics, cleanly picked notes, full chords and string-bending arabesques.” (‘The Wire’)

    Saif Mode is the moniker of Ben Hunter. He improvises with modular synths to create dense sonic landscapes that are unique to each performance “marry(ing) meditative drones and techno improvisations, recalling the utopian dreams of the Atomic Age and the simple piety of the early church… equally at home on bills with improvised analogue electronica and raw black metal…” (Sheffield Anti Fascist Network).


     

    The remaining dates of the Hay & Ghedi tour (including the Daylight Music appearance and their Yorkston Thorn Khan support slots) are below:

     
    Toby and Jim will also be joining forces in Sheffield during late February for this theatre show:

    The Death Curiosities

    The Travelling Shadow Theatre presents:
    “The Death Curiosities”
    Moor Theatre Delicatessen, 17 The Moor, Sheffield, S1 4PF, England
    Thursday 25th & Friday 26th February 2016
    more information

    “Come on a journey inside an old cabinet to discover what forgotten objects remain….Stories unravel to reveal a beautifully vulgar and woeful celebration of the macabre…. Told through live shadow puppetry and music, ‘The Death Curiosities’ is a beautiful and mesmerising story exploring the unquestionable trimmings of death. Live musical accompaniment by Jim Ghedi, Toby Hay and Josh Kelson.”

     

    Still from 'The Death Curiosities'
     

    More gig news shortly, including William D. Drake in Italy and a look at various upcoming classical music events…
     

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