Boat-Ting – Lisa Fannen + Alice Eldridge, Sylvia Hallett + Anna Homler (Bread & Shed), Ricardo Tejero + Daniel Thompson + David Leahy, Sam Andrae + Hanna Olivegren + Gus Luxbo (Silence Blossoms) – Bar & Co, Temple, London, 7th October

Bread and Shed (Anna Homler + Sylvia Hallett)
Boat-Ting continued its current season with yet another great evening.
First on were Lisa Fannen (poetry, guitar) and Alice Eldridge (cello).  A brilliant pairing, Fannen’s fierce lines like “immigration enforcement 12.15am” and “armoured police officer fat power coward” met with pairs of looped guitar notes twisted into a beautiful sweep.  They were a thin and tender embrace of musical elements despite the ominous and heavy verse; Eldridge a very subtle player, at times barely there, a whisper between Fannen’s angry and sad verses.  The words spun a dark cityscape of discarded needles and slammed doors.
Second act Bread and Shed consisted of Anna Homler, with a table full of toys, and Sylvia Hallett playing violin and a looped and phased smear of humming harmonica.  The duo were amazing, surreal and gripping; at one point Homler  deployed a stylophone burble in aid of a soft glitchy lullaby, singing almost-words; later adding a whistling mini-theremin and the crinkling of plastic tubes.  The performance occasionally resembled some kind of odd ceremonial music, a weird funeral rite or a dada christening.  Homler said that her vocals were made up of “a phonetic language you can understand if you don’t try” which was true of every move they made; this was music to simply submit to and be carried away.  The second piece was faintly nightmarish, troubling and disorientating; fascinating and mind-twisting, this bizarre and inventive noise deployed a panoply of texture: unfolding sellotape, clicking beads, vocals distorted through a child’s sound-effects microphone.  The pairing of a classical instrument, the violin, with a lush harmonic drone and the clattering jumble of Homler’s contributions was inspired.  Party whistles, duck calls, plastic castanets, a hilarious operatic solo sourced from a greetings card.  All of this and more run through looped and melted effects pedals.  Wonderful.
Ricardo Tejero (sax), Daniel Thompson (guitar), and David Leahy (double bass), quickly fell into a thick tangled knot.  Leahy was an aggressive, physical player, attacking his instrument.  Thompson and Tejero were a close pairing, a double helix; a slightly cracked pairing, a mirrored surface where your reflected image may occasionally wink at you independently.  There was plenty of contrasting sounds arrived at: a lovely almost folk-like passage presaged a section of violent turmoil.  Leahy throughout was a large presence, knocking the bridge with his bow, smacking the body and making sweaty hand squeaks.  Thompson switched between long gestures and sudden activity, a periodic scrabble of taut string hysterics.  Tejero’s saxophone playing was full of pops and quacks.  My favourite moment saw Leahy utilising a discarded plastic cup as a noise making instrument, scraping it over the floor before smashing it into shards and jamming the pieces between the strings of his bass.  This act summarised their set, instantly reactive and open minded.
Final act of the night were Silence Blossoms, a great discovery for an intrigued Ears for Eyes.  The opening duet vocals were an arresting powerful folk song Sam Andrae (sax) and Hanna Olivegren (voice)singing tenderly and affectingly  while Gus Luxbo blew into water from a straw.  Silence Blossoms are a mysterious ingenious group. They played an all-too-short performance, full of tense precipitate edges; a music there but not there; a drifting sonic vapour, leaving a blur of bass, contorted sax tones and vocal growl, twirling softly in the wake of their passage.

Boat-Ting listings here.

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