Sound performance

drawingmic-wiz-border.jpgHere am I again, entering the grotto of the Corsica Studios down in Elephant and Castle. Last night I came here for my favourite Digital City electro gig and found out about the Resonance 104.4fm’s show tonight, the last of their Month of Sundays series. In an attempt to recreate a live audience radio broadcast as it once was, Resonance programme-makers attempt to transform their usual art shows into stage performances.

As I arrive, 3 boys are already on stage, one stands up with a mic, the other 2 hide behind their macs. In the corner, 3 giggling girls pedal on some amp-powering bikes. An irritatingly familiar ring bleeps in our ears: the boy with the mic answers his mobile phone and waves it to the crowd. His friend’s voice resonates through the speakers. He is riding his ‘incredible record playing grammatricycle’, and since he is late for the show, he plays a bike-powered tune for us down his mobile phone. Everyone starts clapping to Zorba the Greek, our feet tapping in time with the spiraling tempo. The frenzy is stopped abruptly by the sound of a crash, to which everyone applauds. Having missed the beginning of the performance, I won’t try to make sense of it, but everyone else seems to have had a blast. I am left to ponder on the musicality of the mobile phone, and if Dexter Betley’s incredible grammatricycle could become the new eco-sound system for the green masses.

For the next round, I get a seat at a makeshift table near the stage. The fluttering utterance of 2 young poets sitting under the spotlights caress my earlobs and open my mind. I find it incredible that, although nervously jittering their bums on their uncomfortable chairs, neither of them stumbles on their words. On the contrary, all their beautiful energy seems to flow from their lips, their words floating in the air like smoke rings puffed from imaginary cigarettes… they write as smoothly about truth, love and lies as about London’s lamp posts, Northern raves, or polar bears drowning in the Dockland’s murky waters – Stop Sharpening Your Knives is a collective of nine new poets that aren’t shy to explore our deep contemporary selves whilst escaping to distant worlds, and taking us along. I can’t wait to hear them again on Resonance fm.

The best bit of the show, however, comes from 2 sexy male artists, Ted Barrington and Jim Xantos, aka Harmon e Phraysiur. A Bonarpatian army officer (Xantos?) makes a grand entrance beating his drum. A sober-looking but sharp-eyed man follows and starts kicking plastic bottles at the audience. Luckily he misses me, and shouts a few odd words before concentrating on his mixing desk. The army officer’s own mixing devise resemble a children toy, from which dark and windy soundscapes emerge. He suddenly stands up and walks across the stage with a Rod Steward’s album sleeve stuck on his belly. Both shout ‘Rod through the ages!’ in tandem, ‘land of the long dead’ and other tribute nonsense. Harmon e Phraysiur’s incomprehensible gestures and tong-twisters draw laughter and their music twiddling is strangely captivating. An alliterated ‘swiss saxophonist’ remains in my head long after they leave the stage. The Rod of Run-Awayes is avant-garde performance art as you want it, in your face, alive, and one big step forward.


~ by lavivette on August 1, 2007.

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