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Bang the Bore VIII, Southampton, 09.01.2011. Mark Sanders, The A Band, Bolide, Powerdove, A.t.R.
  • Bang the Bore VIII: Improvisers and Improvisation
    Featuring: Mark Sanders, The A Band, Bolide, Annie Lewandowski’s Powerdove and Ignacio Agrimbau’s After the Rain
    6pm – 10pm, Sunday 9th January 2011
    The Hobbit, 134 Bevois Valley Road, Southampton, SO14 0JZ
    Free entry/donations to pay the bands gratefully accepted

    Freewheeling and anarchic; a trial-by-fire proving ground; a laboratory in which ideas can be tested and refined; an exercise in breathing fresh life into stale structures; defiantly anti-commercial in its resistance to definitive versions and saleable material; the natural medium for subverting notions of order and control… improvisation can be all of these things and more. Join Bang the Bore in their celebration of the art of making it up as you go along.

    Mark Sanders
    A rare solo performance from arguably the best drummer currently working in UK improvisation. Sanders’ fluent, fluid playing combines a remarkably nuanced sensitivity to tone and timbre with an unfailing feel for continuity, with a mass of textural detail carefully employed in service of the overall performance. He’s played with internationally renowned improvisers Derek Bailey, Peter Brötzmann, John Butcher, Phil Minton and Evan Parker and provided drums for artists as diverse as Broadcast, Jah Wobble, Spring Heel Jack, Speeq and The Remote Viewers.

    The A Band
    It’s no overstatement to describe The A Band as the most perversely pervasive force in UK underground/DIY music. Their anarchic no name, no fixed membership policy and anything-goes approach to instrumentation and musical ability has allowed their swollen ranks to include Neil Campbell (Astral Social Club, Vibracathedral Orchestra), Stewart Walden/Keith, Richard Youngs, Phil Todd (Ashtray Navigations), Greta Pistaceci, Matt Williams (Team Brick), Tim Drage (Cementimental), Richard Thomas (Magnus Spectrum, Now, The Hola) and Veryan Weston at various points throughout their twenty year history… although who we’ll get on the night is anyone’s guess.

    Variously compared to The Art Ensemble, Le Forte Four, the Magic Band, Sun City Girls, or – most accurately – Smegma featuring Albert Ayler, in their own words Bolide are a “chaotic Brighton-based electro-acoustic improvising sextet” that formed “for a one-off performance at the Colour Out of Space Festival” and have “so far failed to disband.”

    Annie Lewandowski’s Powerdove
    Recently repatriated to Southampton from the USA, Lewandowski is a former member of The Curtains, Doublends Vert and Emma Zunz, collaborator with Deerhoof’s John Dietrich and an improviser at home with musicians the caliber of Fred Frith, Sylvia Hallett and John Butcher. Her Powerdove project bears resemblance to David Sylvian’s Manafon methodology, with songwriting framed and informed by group improvisation.

    Ignacio Agrimbau’s After The Rain
    Argentinean turned Southamptoner Ignacio Agrimbau has led an interesting life, composing love songs to Evangelion’s Rei Ayanami, studying under Michael Finnissy, working in music therapy and recently undertaking a research trip to Ghana. After The Rain formed in 2010 (from the ashes of his previous ensemble, The Hola) and make no distinction between low and high art, blurring influences that take in avant-garde western music, pop, anime themes, noise, free jazz, experimental poetry and cabaret. Agrimbau has collaborated with Ed Hicks (Drums of Death), Richard Thomas (The A Band, Now, Magnus Spectrum), James Weeks and Sophie Appleton (Exaudi, Kurbis), Emma Richardson (Band of Skulls) and Michael Finnissy himself.
  • _ch__ch_
    Posts: 1,899

  • Looking forward to this.
    What time's soundcheck?
    Are there DI's?

    Posts: 1,231
    Is anyone liable to drive from the south west (ideally Bristol) and back for this? Only I'd like to go (and possibly play with the A band) but trains on the night are looking unlikely.
  • _ch__ch_
    Posts: 1,899
  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    Kev: sorry dude, we're coming down from Leeds via Birmingham.
  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    TheZeroMap said: Looking forward to this.
    What time's soundcheck?
    Are there DI's?

    Here's the schpiel I sent out for this in December:

    If you want a soundcheck then please arrive at 4pm. If you've got any specific sound requirements then please let me know.

    Drum kits: we'll have more performers at this event than at any previous show, and space is limited. I'll be playing my djembe rather than a full kit, and I don't want to assume that Mark Sanders will be willing to share his kit. Might be best to avoid having a full drum kit in your line-up if at all possible, but if you need one then let me know and I'll bring mine.

    We record all our shows, both as audio recordings and on video, so at the very least you'll have your own recording of the event. We like to make recordings and video available for free online, but we're happy for anyone to opt out of that if they'd prefer. Putting it up online is so that we can promote what you're doing more than anything, even a two minute video clip can be good to put the word out.

    I'm afraid we probably won't be able to give lifts to anyone besides Mark... Leeds to Southampton via Birmingham and back again in one day is a bit of a driving overload already.

    The A Band is a bit of a free for all and can include anyone. If anyone would like to play with them on the night in question then that will almost certainly be alright. I will be.
  • this was a trip, many props offered to those behind its inception :D
  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    Just woken up after the long drive back. Thank you messages from Mark and Annie waiting in my inbox (and yes, we managed to both pay Mark and get home. Next time we need to budget for Christmas better).

    I think it was the best event we've done. I have a new favourite band (to add to the stack of favourite bands) in Bolide, I was worried that the Hobbit's PA wouldn't do Annie justice but she and Clive were mesmerising, After the Rain were gobsmacking (Hossein was really ill, he had the flu, don't know where he found the energy to sing like that) and as for Mark... I already thought he was the best drummer around (criminally underrated), but last night he totally wiped the floor with my expectations. Doubt I'll see a drummer come close to playing at that level for a long, long time.

    Can never be objective about A Band shows. Hope it came together well.
  • Wish I could have made this. Let us know when the audio/video becomes availible.
  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    Audio will probably be available in a couple of weeks, depending on how the bands feel about the quality etc... video also takes longer, and I was having a horrendous time with the camera during Mark's set (the camera and the field recorder are both new gadgets that I foolishly haven't found the time to learn properly... I hereby pledge to have that shortfall sorted out in time for John Butcher in the medievals vaults in February).
  • alan
    Posts: 29
    killer tombongo solo!
  • Having listened to the tape of the A band set I think it was gorgeous.
    The whole event was a wonderful time.
    Thanks for setting it all up!!!
  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    Looking forward to hearing that A Band set. Lovely to have the choice between listening on tape and digital formats.
  • _ch__ch_
    Posts: 1,899
    hello all

    twas indeed a fun night
    thanks to all who came out, all who donated pennies, izaak for still being the nicest soundman/human-being combination ever, and all the performers who played their wee hearts out

    i confess i missed the bulk of after the rain, I'M SORRY. but i know i could listen to iggy playing that dulcimer thang all day long
    powerdove were totally amazing - arguably the greatest live performance i've ever seen. ever. :-D but being seriously, i was privileged to be up there - annie has a great voice and an incredible ability to strip anyway anything extraneous in her songs. she's a cool cat. (you should also be aware that she is a terrifying pianist, who shares stages with caroline kraabel, john edwards, john butcher, fred frith...)
    bolide fell victim to me being a busybody, and thus i only caught the end of their set; but the bit when the clouds cleared and the brass and woodwind fanfared to the heavens was nice :-)
    the a band was...kind of what i expected. ! ha. it was good when my brain realised that izaak was running the desk thru effects... :-)
    mr mark sanders was just "OH". eek. what can you say? i'll admit i'm a sucker for drummers, but still... like mark durgan last time, he was incredibly inspiring, but at the same time you wonder if you should just give up... terrifying skill and ideas. oh my.

    i walked away with a shiny treader duos cd, featuring messers sanders and butcher (amongst others), and newness from mr dead wood and the dog/geese persons.

    (somewhere...! :-/)
  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    Hah! Funny that the A Band was exactly what you expected... I guess there's a kind of bracket within which a band that free in membership and instrumentation can be expected to sound. Perhaps things need to be shaken up a little to avoid that blueprint becoming too obvious.
  • The whole night was grand indeed. Hope you guys can land a venue that'll enable you to keep this as grand and grow it. Can't say enough nice things.... a couple of years ago soton was a wasteland now it is fertile with goodness.... chew on the cud of love. yums x
  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    Thanks goose, very kind words.

    Finding a new venue is at the forefront of my mind right now. Even if it's a house show or a rehearsal space, I want to have another BtB in May or June at the latest. If anyone comes up with any ideas then please let me know asap. Southampton's not exactly full to bursting with cheap/free venues that will give room to something as (relatively) strange as what we offer.
  • The A Band does sometimes sound like the total free-anarchy things, but it is nice when we sound a little more structured.
    When did the nottingham gig there were so sections of songs and stuff.... and it really does depend on who's there and how well they know each other etc.

    And here's a link for the A band (Abutter) set recorded on tape (now in mp3)

    the geese cds were cool - I got 2 things off them, one was called 'two heads are better than gun' which sounds like channel hopping at 4 in the morning wired on hallucnigens
    and some dvd thing which was quite scary actually cause it involved lots of eye touching
    & if you got another one then you've got some of my noises as well (solo I am disillusion dot dot dot) which is a fun little excursion into traded juices.

  • expexp
    Posts: 2,638
    Ah, sweet. Nice one Karl. I put the Bolide link on the site's front page, I'll do the same with the above A Band link when I get a second.

    I thought our Nottingham A Band show was totally utopian: enough time so that not everyone wanted to play all the time, lots of dynamics and light and shade, lots of combinations of players and instruments, a good mix of silly and not-so-silly, a big social occasion with cake, zero pressure... I wish all music could be like that. One of my favourite shows ever.

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