Tag Archives: Plus Minus Ensemble

December 2018 – upcoming London classical gigs – Shiva Feshareki’s turntablist ‘Firebird’ (6th December); a celebration of female choral composers for Christmas in Muswell Hill (8th December); Keith Burstein’s chamber music (14th December); Plus Minus play Armstrong, Franzson, Miller and Rodgers (18th December)

1 Dec

Some December classical manifestations of various kinds…

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'Shiva Feshareki: Late-Night Firebird', 6th December 2018

As part of the ongoing Spitalfields Music Festival, composer and turntablist Shiva Feshareki will be performing her own vinyl-manipulation rebuild of Stravinsky’s ‘Firebird’ in Bethnal Green on the 6th December- as “a live turntable composition that she forms in the moment. Using her trademark turntabling techniques, she deconstructs Stravinsky into new forms and perspectives, using nothing other than the original composition on vinyl. Expect sonic manipulations that bend time and play with space and perspective, transforming The Firebird into new shapes that reveal its sculptural depths.”

Here’s the woman at work on various projects over the last two years: there’s a clip from her saxophones, ensemble and turntables concerto about four minutes in…


 
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Fortismere Community Choir: 'Composed By Women & Christmas Carols', 8th December 2018

Fortismere Community Choir: ‘Composed By Women & Christmas Carols’, 8th December 2018

On the same night, in north London, Fortismere Community Choir will be performing a concert mingling standard Christmas carols with music composed by assorted female composers. Alongside the tunes about mangers and heralding angels, you can expect to hear a programme of music stretching (in varied leaps) across a thousand years, from the mediaeval carnal/spiritual chant of Hildegard von Bingen‘s ‘O quam mirabilis est’, the Romantic grace of Clara Schumann‘s ‘Abendfeier in Venedig’ and Ethel Smyth’s 1920s suffrage anthem ‘March of the Women’.

There are also latterday works – the reinvented English chorale influences of Cecilia McDowall‘s ‘Ave Maris Stella’; the fusion of African-American spirituals, American art songs and German/Italian choral music tradition in Rosephanye Powell‘s ‘Glory Hallelujah’; and the world premiere of ‘Women’s Rights’, a new composition by an emergent young British contemporary composer, Phoebe McFarlane.

Examples of most of the programme below:






 
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'Keith Burstein. Chamber Music. The Beauty Power.' Friday 14th December 2018On the 14th, composer Keith Burstein returns to Waterloo’s 1901 Club for another lunchtime concert featuring an hour’s worth of Burstein piano and chamber music.

Some new pieces will be making their debut, with the trio lineup of cellist Corinne Morris, clarinettist Peter Cigleris and Keith himself on piano joined by mezzo-soprano Sarah Denbee on the sarcastically-titled Northern Irish Backstop March, and Keith also presenting the live premieres of his piano preludes ‘The Beauty Power’, ‘Sonata’ and ‘Moto Perpetuo’. In addition, there’ll be the piano/clarinet/cello trio ‘Memories of Lithuania’, the ‘Wiosna’ cello sonata and a fourth piano prelude (‘The Ferryman’) while the concert will open with Keith and Sarah performing four songs for mezzo soprano and piano (‘Longing’ and ‘Heaven Riven’, both originally from the ‘Songs of Love and Solitude’ cycle, plus ‘Futility’ and ‘Atonement’).

This summer’s performances of Keith’s latest opera ‘The Prometheus Revolution’ seems to be contributing to pulling him out of the relative critical cold he’s often labored under. He’s now being hailed for the “sheer fertility” of his melodic instinct by ‘Planet Hugill’, and received approving notes from venerable critic Meiron Bowen regarding his revitalization of “the virtues of pre-twelve-tone music and all the techniques that have been explored since.” You can choose whether or not you buy into his vigorous philosophy of “super-tonalism” (within which Keith reasserts the tonal idiom which he considers to have been steamrollered out of credibility by the more cultish aspects of serialism and atonalism, while also aiming to blend in other musical lessons learned throughout the twentieth century). What isn’t in question is his connection to direct expression, and to creating music with an accessible human connection, as is evident from the pieces below. (You can read a longer summary of Burstein music in my preview of last year’s 1901 December chamber concert here.)




 
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Plus Minus: 'Armstrong, Franzson, Miller, Rodgers', 18th December 2018

On the 18th, the Plus Minus ensemble returns to its regular concert berth at City University for an evening of instrumental music with electronics by “four of the most refined and distinctive voices in contemporary music”, in a more straightforward form than their recent, more performative tour. Ensemble member Newton Armstrong provides two pieces (‘thread—surface’ and ‘the way to go out’), while his former student Georgia Rodgers provides one (‘St. Andrew’s Lyddington’). The remaining two pieces are ‘Traveller Song‘ by Cassandra Miller (whose compositional sense was described by ‘Musicworks’ as “the wryness of Samuel Beckett in combination with the whimsy of Italo Calvino”) and a new, as-yet-unrevealed work by New York-based Icelandic composer Davíð Brynjar Franzson (whose compositions are characterised by “an installation character, transporting the listener into some sort of temporal limbo, where a sense of the static is layered with delicate inner quickening…. exquisite tangible tension.”).

According to the programme notes, “each of these composers is concerned, albeit in different ways, with the fundaments of the compositional act and the manner in which sonic materials can be contextualised, processed, layered and transcribed. Plus Minus aims to present an evening of music that is strikingly contemporary without recourse to outside references, current technologies or multimedia. it is a focussed program that seeks to sonically take stock of where we are in new music today by stripping back the layers so that only the sound remains.” This is a free event with limited capacity, so book for it soon.

 
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Dates, times, places and links:

  • Shiva Feshareki: ‘Late-Night Firebird’ – St John on Bethnal Green, 200 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9PA, England, Thursday 6th December 2018, 9.30pm – information here
  • Fortismere Community Choir: ‘Composed By Women & Christmas Carols’ – St Andrews Church, Church Crescent, Muswell Hill, London, N10 2DD, England, Saturday 8th December 2018, 7.30pm – information here and here
  • Keith Burstein/Corinne Morris/Peter Cigleris: ‘Keith Burstein. Chamber Music. The Beauty Power.’ – 1901 Club, 7 Exton Street, Waterloo, London, SE1 8UE, England, Friday 14th December 2018, 12.00pm – information here and here
  • Plus Minus: ‘Armstrong, Franzson, Miller, Rodgers’ – Performance Space, College Building @ City, University of London, St John Street, London, EC1V 4PB, England, Tuesday 18th December 2018, 7.00pm – information here and here

December 2015 – last gigs before Christmas, London & elsewhere – Phantom Chips and Matt Loveridge’s MXLX play More News From Nowhere; mix’n’match improvising at The Hat Speaks; and the rest of the London Contemporary Music Festival 2015.

13 Dec

Well, actually this is the first of the next-to-last gigs post of the year (I’ve still got to do the second round of Christmas parties). Apologies for terseness and excessive recycling of press-release blurb, but there’s a lot to pack in both here and elsewhere this month.

About half of these gigs are seriously avant-garde concerts for the London Contemporary Music Festival, with even more of a blizzard of links and odd video clips than usual. I’m also starting with a couple of full-on jazz or electronic improvising gigs.

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More News From Nowhere #2

MXLX/Phantom Chips (More News From Nowhere @ The Victoria, 188 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London, E17 4QH, UK, Wednesday 16th December 2015, 8.00pm) – £5.50-£7.00 – informationtickets

Walthamstow’s newest (and only?) regular night of experimental/noisy/generally interesting music, returns with sets of bracing electronic experimentation from Phantom Chips and MXLX(the amazingly prolific Matt Loveridge, aka Fairhorns, Team Brick, and one third of BEAK>, among others), as well as the MNFN DJs playing ’til late.



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The Hat Speaks, 17th December 2015

The Hat Speaks (LUME @ Hundred Years Gallery, 13 Pearson Street, Hoxton, London, E2 8JD, England, Thursday 17th December 2015, 7.30pm) – pay-what-you-want (£5.00 minimum) – information – tickets on the door

For our last gig of 2015 we return to Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton, for the second edition of our dice-and-hat improvised music night. We held the first one in July to celebrate our second birthday, and it was so much fun we decided to do it again. As before, a nebulous ensemble of UK improvisers will gather to make spontaneous music together. This time the list looks like this:

Alison Blunt (violin, voice, assorted instruments) – Alex Bonney (trumpet) – Dee Byrne (saxophone) – Tim Fairhall (double bass) – Tom Greenhalgh (guitar, voice) – Anton Hunter (guitar) – Andrew Lisle (drums) – Percy Pursglove (trumpet, double bass) – Martin Pyne (percussion) – Tullis Rennie (trombone and possibly field recordings) – Ed Riches (guitar) – Cath Roberts (saxophone) – Tom Ward (saxophone, bass clarinet) – Colin Webster (saxophone) plus a couple more to be confirmed.

Taking inspiration from long-running Manchester night The Noise Upstairs (founded by Anton Hunter and Tullis Rennie, no less), we will put all the players’ names into a hat, throw the dice to determine how many musicians will play, and then draw out the names. The result is lots of mini- sets from often completely new combinations of people! (Some groups from last time have decided to carry on playing together too: Tom Ward and Adam Fairhall are now collaborating on a new quartet for 2016 after their hat encounter in the summer).

Do join us for this last gig of the year – it’s been a blast, so let’s see it off in style! Entry, as usual, is one Bank of England note of your choice.

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And to close, here’s that run-down through the remaining London Contemporary Music Festival concerts.

LCMF 2015 - Chris Watson's ‘Okeanos’

LCMF 2015: Chris Watson premiere (London Contemporary Music Festival 2015 @ Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, England, Monday 14th December 2015, 7.30pm) – (probably) £11.75 – information – advance tickets sold out: limited tickets available on the door.

We present the world premiere of a monumental new work by sound artist and recordist Chris Watson. Drawing on extensive underwater recordings gathered by the artist from oceans around the world, ‘Okeanos’ – a multi-channel sound installation that will play in complete darkness – celebrates the songs, rhythms and music of the oceanic depths.

LCMF 2015 - To A New Definition Of Opera II

LCMF 2015: ‘To A New Definition Of Opera II ‘ (London Contemporary Music Festival 2015 @ Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, England, Tuesday 15th December 2015, 6.30pm) – £11.75 – informationtickets

In an attempt to shift our perception of what opera can do and be, we present a second instalment of ‘To A New Definition of Opera’, in which performance, video art and neglected modernist opera rub shoulders. Alongside a new commission from British performance artist Sue Tompkins, the night will include composer Tim Parkinson’s apocalyptic anti-opera ‘Time With People’ (performed by the University of Huddersfield’s edges ensemble) and Los Angeles-based artist Ryan Trecartin‘s dystopian film ‘CENTER JENNY’.

The centrepiece of the evening will be the UK premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s celebrated ‘Pieta’ from ‘Dienstag aus Licht’, with the voice of Lore Lixenberg and flugelhorn of Marco Blaauw. Interlaced throughout the evening will be an extremely rare performance of excerpts from Ezra Pound’s troubadour opera about medieval ne’er-do-wells, ‘Le Testament de Villon‘, which critic Richard Taruskin called “a modernist triumph.”

Programme:

Ezra Pound – excerpts from ‘Le Testament de Villon’ 1926 version (UK premiere) – performed by Lore Lixenberg (voice), Aisha Orazbayeva (violin), Lucy Railton (cello), Ian Sankey (trombone), Serge Vuille (percussion) Christopher Stark (conductor)
Karlheinz Stockhausen – Pieta from ‘Dienstag aus Licht'(UK premiere) – performed by Marco Blaauw (flugelhorn) and Lore Lixenberg (voice)
Ryan Trecartin – CENTER JENNY
Tim Parkinson – Opus 1, 2, 3 and 4 from ‘Time With People’ – performed by edges ensemble: John Aulich, Mira Benjamin, Jorge Boehringer, Eleanor Cully, Beavan Flanagan, Stephen Harvey, Dorothy Lee, Asher Leverton, David Pocknee and James Woods
Sue Tompkins – Like Sake (world premiere, LCMF commission) – performed by Sue Tompkins

LCMF 2015 - A Martian Sends A Postcard Home

LCMF 2015: ‘A Martian Sends A Postcard Home’ (London Contemporary Music Festival 2015 @ Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, England, Wednesday 16th December 2015, 6.30pm) – £11.75 – informationtickets

‘A Martian Sends A Postcard Home’ takes its name from a poem by Craig Raine that sought to re-see the world through bold acts of defamiliarisation. This night celebrates the Martianist turn in music, with an exploration of composers who have made the familiar fresh.

The night will include the European premiere of Norwegian composer Øyvind Torvund‘s lawless chamber work ‘Untitled School/Mud Jam/Campfire Tunes’, performed by the Plus Minus Ensemble, and Andrew Hamilton‘s electrifying ‘music for people who like art’. In ‘Mezcal No. 8’ Swedish composer/performer Hanna Hartman transforms a copse of steel rods and washers into a sounding presence.

We honour two standard bearers of “making strange” in composition: Helmut Lachenmann and Dieter Schnebel. Aisha Orazbayeva performs Lachenmann’s ‘Toccatina’ alongside a recital of Russian poems by Mayakovsky and Yesenin that live and breathe the idea of estrangement or ostranenie. Meanwhile, composer and musician Christian Kesten‎ presents Schnebel’s celebrated ‘Maulwerke’ where vocal technique is pulled apart into its constituent parts, alongside his own ‘Zunge Lösen’ that seeks to stage the tongues of three performers.

Artist Tino Sehgal takes on the body, intellectual property and materiality itself. ‘Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things’ is his earliest “livework”. It sees performer Louise Höjer transformed into, in the words of ‘Frieze Magazine’, a “hydraulic android”.

The night ends with a visit from Cairo’s E.E.K. Under the fingers of Islam Chipsy (accompanied by drummers Khaled Mando and Islam Tata), a digital keyboard is wrenched into explosive new sonic territory, articulating the sound of post-Tahrir electro-chaabi.

Programme:

Tino Sehgal – Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things – performed by Louise Höjer
Selected poems by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Sergei Yesenin – performed by Aisha Orazbayeva (voice)
Helmut Lachenmann – Toccatina – performed by Aisha Orazbayeva (violin)
Christian Kesten – Zunge Lösen (Releasing the Tongue) – performed by Christian Kesten (voice)
Andrew Hamilton – music for people who like art – performed by Becca Carson (piccolo), Ausiàs Garrigos Mórant (bass clarinet), Ian Sankey (trombone), Sam Wilson (percussion), Jack Ross (electric guitar), Siwan Rhys (piano), Joanne Evans (voice), Eloisa Fleur-Thom (violin), Valerie Albrecht (viola), Oliver Coates (cello), Martin Ludenbach (bass guitar), James Weeks (conductor)
Dieter Schnebel – Maulwerke (2015 solo version) – performed by Christian Kesten
Hanna Hartman – Mezcal No. 8 (UK premiere) – performed by Hanna Hartman
Øyvind Torvund – Untitled School/Mud Jam/Campfire Tunes (European premiere) – performed by Plus Minus Ensemble: Mark Knoop (piano), Roderick Chadwick (piano), Serge Vuille (percussion), Elsa Bradley (percussion
Islam Chipsy & EEK – live set

LCMF 2015 - Requiem for Reality

LCMF 2015: ‘Requiem for Reality’ (London Contemporary Music Festival 2015 @ Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, England, Thursday 17th December 2015, 6.30pm) – £11.75 – informationtickets

Some call it post-internet art: others “the New Aesthetic”. Whatever the name, there’s no doubt that the internet has scrambled the way we think, see and listen. Yet if art has placed this new paradigm at its heart, we are only now beginning to distil what it means for musical composition.

One pioneer of musical attempts to understand how things are changing in the digital shadow is Jennifer Walshe. The final night of LCMF 2015 will see the UK premiere of her latest, major one-woman work ‘Total Mountain’. Two further UK premieres arrive from Germany. Berlin-based Neele Hülcker investigates (as does Claire Tolan) the online phenomenon of autonomous sensory meridian response – or ASMR – in her work ‘Copy!’, while Brigitta Muntendorf explores the YouTubed bedroom in ‘Public Privacy No 2’.

The flight from reality captured by this post-internet music is not new. Serialist trailblazers like Milton Babbitt got there first with works such as ‘Reflections for piano & synthesized tape’. The hyperactive, networked aesthetic of Walshe and others, meanwhile, was foreshadowed by Jacob TV in ‘Grab It! Both are performed tonight.

As an occasional collaborator with London-based collective PC Music, Felicita‘s music is one in which the tropes of pop’s most commercial statements are accelerated, amplified and brought riotously together into a language that, if satirical, is also wildly inventive in its own right.

We conclude and project into the future with the long-awaited UK return of James Ferraro, whose 2011 album ‘Far Side Virtual’ is an essential post-internet text. For his forthcoming release ‘Skid Row’, Ferraro turns his attention to contemporary Los Angeles, a kind of “hyper-America” where violent realities are obsessively mediated and reproduced.

Programme:
Milton Babbitt – Reflections – performed by Mark Knoop (piano) with original tape recording
Jacob TV – Grab It! – performed by Nick Goodwin (electric guitar)
Brigitta Muntendorf – Public Privacy #2 (UK premiere) – performed by Brigitta Muntendorf with Mark Knoop (piano)
Neele Hülcker – Copy! (UK premiere) – performed by Neele Hülcker
Jennifer Walshe – Total Mountain (UK premiere) – performed by Jennifer Walshe
Felicita – live set
James Ferraro – new work

December 2015 – upcoming London gigs – the 2015 London Contemporary Music Festival part 1 (sounds for and from London, West Coast America and the time continuum)

6 Dec

Friday this week sees the start of the London Contemporary Music Festival, which (as if it were part of a conspiracy theory) is lurking in a giant underground bunker near Baker Street…

LCMF 2015: ‘Collective Capital’

LCMF 2015: ‘Collective Capital’ (London Contemporary Music Festival 2015 @ Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, England, Friday 11th December 2015, 6.30pm) – £11.25 – information – tickets

London takes centre stage in our opening night, as we celebrate the exploratory fringes of the city’s music scene and the collective imperative that has been a spur to some of the capital’s greatest experiments. The proliferation of collectives among young musician-composers is reflected in new commissions from some of the most adventurous of these musical laboratories. The night will include premieres from Charlie Hope and Jamie Hamilton (a.k.a. Topophobia), Neil Luck (performing with his Squib Box ensemble) and John Wall & Tom Mudd (Utterpsalm and Contingent Events). We hear recent work by composers Edward Henderson (Bastard Assignments), Shelley Parker and the artist duo Claudia Hunte. We welcome an iconic figure and chronicler of London’s musical edgelands, David Toop, and offer a live improvisation from Poulomi Desai (Usurp), who started the Hounslow Arts Co-op at the age of 14.

We also offer a world premiere from artists Richard Wilson and Anne Bean. In the 1980s, Anne, Richard and Paul Burwell formed the legendary Bow Gamelan Ensemble, enthralled by the aural poetry and parallel visions of the Thames. Now, Wilson and Bean enter the territory as W0B. Theirs is a world that cracks and splinters and grinds into being as it races backwards and forwards through friendships of forty years. ‘NALEMAG’ becomes the totemic incarnation of their endless scrabbling around boat-yards, scrap-yards, gas depots, pyrotechnic munitions, voyages on many rivers in countless vessels and a frenzy of carrying, welding, investigating and making across the planet. The trajectory culminates with a landmark new AV performance from south London’s Visionist, whose singular language emerges from the fragmentation of dubstep and grime.

Programme:

David Toop – Many Private Concerts
Anne Bean/Richard Wilson – NALEMAG (world premiere)
Poulomi Desai – Vermillion Sands (world premiere)
Neil Luck – Via Gut (world premiere – LCMF commission)
Jamie Hamilton/Charlie Hope – New work (world premiere)
Edward Henderson – Tape Piece
Claudia Hunte – The Elephant In The Room Is Afraid Of Dying
Shelley Parker – Live set
John Wall – Live set
Tom Mudd – Live set
Visionist – Live set (AV)

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The second LCMF night, on Saturday, sees the series take a broad stylistic and historical sweep across twentieth and twenty-first century California (with one digression to Alaska, so it’s not all sun.)

LCMF 2015: ‘West Coast Night’

LCMF 2015: ‘West Coast Night’ (London Contemporary Music Festival 2015 @ Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, England, Saturday 12th December 2015, 6.30pm) – £11.75 – information – tickets 

The second night of LCMF 2015 is dedicated to the music of the American West Coast, an exploration of 100 years of musical non-conformism, from the piano insurrections of Henry Cowell to the deep listening of Pauline Oliveros (performing her own music on v-accordion). Oliveros is joined by another founding legend of the pioneering San Francisco Tape Music Center, Morton Subotnick, who presents a solo Buchla set and the UK premiere of a 1960s Tape Center composition with a film by Tony Martin. Another composer associated with the Tape Center was Terry Riley, whose ‘Keyboard Study No. 2’ gets a rare outing.

Alongside this we zig-zag through the experimental landscape, calling on John Cage‘s concussive ‘First Construction (In Metal)’, which premiered in Seattle in 1939, John Luther Adams‘s monumental ‘Among Red Mountains’ and Catherine Lamb‘s subterranean ‘Frames’. We excavate two gems from California’s 1980s computer music scene, Maggi Payne‘s ‘Flights Of Fancy’ and Carl Stone‘s ‘Wall Me Do’. On the fiftieth anniversary of the Watts Uprising we present an extremely rare performance from Otis O’Solomon, whose collective The Watts Prophets emerged from the rubble of that uprising and helped lay the foundations for hip-hop.

Programme:

Henry Cowell – The Banshee (for piano) – performed by Gwenaëlle Rouger
John Cage – First Construction (in Metal) (for percussion ensemble) – performed by PERC’M and Serge Vuille
Morton Subotnick/Tony Martin – PLAY! No. 3 (1965) (UK premiere)
Terry Riley – Keyboard Study No. 2
Maggi Payne – Flights of Fancy
Carl Stone – Wall Me Do
John Luther Adams – Among Red Mountains (for piano) – performed by Gwenaëlle Rouger
Catherine Lamb – Frames for cello & bass recorder (UK premiere) – performed by Anton Lukoszevieze/Lucia Mense
Otis O’Solomon – Selected poems
Pauline Oliveros – Pauline’s Solo (1992)
Morton Subotnick – solo Buchla set


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On Sunday, the third LCMF event has a polycultural and temporal feel:

LCMF 2015: ‘Five Ways to Kill Time’

LCMF 2015: ‘Five Ways To Kill Time’ (London Contemporary Music Festival 2015 @ Ambika P3, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, England, Sunday 13th December 2015, 6.30pm) – £11.75 – information – tickets 

Time is stretched, bent and finally dissolved in ‘Five Ways To Kill Time’. Sound artist Ellen Fullman opens the night with a UK premiere of The Watch Reprise, which will be performed on her 50-foot Long String instrument that one writer compared to “standing inside a giant grand piano.” Ethiopian composer, pianist and nun Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou makes her first visit to the UK to perform a selection of her intimate piano miniatures that seem to drift through space. Plus Minus Ensemble, meanwhile, offers up the intricate and disorientating world of Bryn Harrison‘s ‘Repetitions In Extended Time’ (conducted by Mark Knoop and featuring strings, organs, piano, guitar and clarinet). Mixing spoken text and music, theatre maker Tim Etchells (Forced Entertainment) and violinist Aisha Orazbayeva offer a set of fragmentary improvisations in ‘Seeping Through’, a work fresh from a critically acclaimed run at the Edinburgh Fringe. We end with a time-obliterating live set from doom pioneer Stephen O’Malley, whose work within and beyond his seminal group Sunn O))) exists in a kind of transcendent stasis.

Programme:

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – selected piano works
Bryn Harrison – Repetitions in Extended Time
Tim Etchells/Aisha Orazbayeva – Seeping Through
Ellen Fullman – The Watch Reprise (world premiere)
Stephen O’Malley – live set

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