Boat-Ting – Jan Hendrickse + Vivienne Corringham / Benedict Taylor + Tom Jackson / Steve Beresford + Orphy Robinson / Ronnie McGrath – Bar & Co, Temple, London, 16th September

Another great Boat-Ting with a fine mixture of artists.
Poet, Ronnie McGrath was like a jazz inflected mind-meld of Burroughs and Pynchon, mouthing sax and trumpet vocalisations and referencing Sun Ra.  His rapid, fiery stanzas ran together into surreal streams of consciousness and cyberpunk mantras.  McGrath is an entirely absorbing performer, intelligent, humorous and impassioned.
Steve Beresford (electronics) and Orphy Robinson (steel pan) were an interesting pairing; a wide range of sounds emitted by the duo: crackling gongs, sighing metal feedback, arcing high-register squiggles, throbbing synth pulses.  Beresford’s equipment hissed and interfered with the subtle diffuse patterns of Robinson’s pan manipulation giving the playing a “lost broadcast” atmosphere, like a forgotten martial broadcast from soldiers who hadn’t realised that World War 7 had ended, still pumping out sweaty military music from the insanity of a rusting Thames Navy vessel.
Benedict Taylor (viola) and Tom Jackson (clarinet) began their set with soft static holding patterns, before graceful curves of clarinet and sharp scribbles from the viola frayed the edges of the calm.  An atonal scurrying commenced around Jackson’s burred fuzz and Taylor’s atomised note slices.  The pair inhabited the upper registers like creatures native to the space, the ringing heights their home.
Final act of the evening, Jan Hendrickse (flutes) and Vivienne Corringham (voice) was a challenging proposition.  Corringham babbled, fluttered, and ululated like someone auctioning a portaloo full of assorted minced animals, completely unhinged and soaked in Dada-like madness.  Hendrickse performed in a supporting role, often underlining the vocals with sustained screaming tones and blunt counterpoint.  Often fierce, the duo complemented each others’ gestures closely, neither stepping back from an uncompromising shared stance.

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