Saturday, January 31, 2004

To continue with my account/review of the MoonshakeIV concert the band which followed me were The Magic Lantern. It was very interesting beginning with an old gramophone at the front playing to an empty stage as the light show proceeded above (thanks to the lighting guy for his help during my set also). I scratchy old 78 played for several minutes as colored oil lights and slides from someone’s holidays in the 1970's were projected on to the stage and rounded ceiling. The band members then walked onto the stage: drums guitars keyboards vocals percussion. A swirling ambient sound of great beauty was produced by the band with poetry and samples added at times. I did not record their set as they had already arranged to do so through the desk so my memory of their performance is now somewhat dreamlike, perhaps this is also a result of their music which did not leap out at the listener but rather drew you in to be swept up by the developing and enveloping sounds. I would like to see them play again as it was needful of greater attention.
Following The Magic Lantern was Protestkillerna (The Protest Guys) who were accompanied by the amazing acrobatics of Cirkus Empati (Empathy Circus). The Guys play good electronic dub variations and each one flowed really well with mouth piano, guitar, bass, drums and samples. The song 'Protest Machine' bought out the beauty of circus with one acrobat suspending herself from a three meter long piece of cloth hanging from the ceiling and performing incredible manipulations, twisting, turning, hanging upside down, and finally hanging like a huge spiders egg in the web, suspended in air among the gossamer twine. It fitted in perfect with the slow dub rhythms of the band. This was (I believe) the first performance for Protestkillerna and they were great, I hope we see them again soon.
Next came our guests from Providence Rhode Island USA: Black Forest Black Sea. These two (Jeffrey and Miriam) were really just lovely people. Humble, warm and positive they came to the stage prepared to show us something that was new and at the same time very accessible. Black Forest/Black Sea are the purveyors of engaging music. It is really something different but everywhere within its lush folds and dark caverns there is something familiar for us to be guided by. The drone layers of the cello (Miriam) with effects and the delicate melody of the fingerpicked guitar (Jeffrey- also with effects of course) build and swirl in a way that removes any conception of time in the listener (although its own musical timing seems grounded in classical or traditional musical systems). The affect is you just float away, flying over the Black Forest out over the Black Sea in a musical expanse which is geographical in proportions. Dark dips and loops draw and uncurl themselves from the cello bow while around their hollows are placed the dry sticks, jagged stones, bits of bone and sea shells which flow from the strings of Jeffrey's guitar. The effect is other worldly, especially when singing accompanies the music. Thanks for the inspiration and taking the trouble to travel from the south of Sweden to the north.
Then there was The Spacious Mind.......I have not see the Mind before but I have listened to their music for several years but the power of their performance was a surprise for me. With six people on stage, all dressed in loud printed frocks the Mind began a performance which invoked images of psychedelic cathedrals in my minds eye. It soared high aloft like some magic bird. The two drummers driving a rhythm of steady and measured force occasionally providing a guide for the improvised progression to develop upon (this was contributed by all the members of the band at various stages). The first piece was simple introduced as "In G" and from there on it was 76 minutes of in flight expansion.
In fact I will continue this account next time as I should be listening to them while writing and at the moment I don't have the strength to do so.........Next Time: The Spacious Mind

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