|YND: Tom Jackson & Stephen Crowe|
The first Boat-Ting of the year convened at its usual berth of improvised goodness, a warmth in the post-Christmas January gloom. Moving from its fortnightly slot to the first Monday of each month, the reduction in frequency has done nothing to diminish its place as one of the best regular improv nights in London.
Poet Jazzman John began the evening, accompanied by Ricky Edwards on clarinet and saxophone, with a Beat-infused tour of the less salubrious but infinitely more interesting corners of London. Tales of brewers droop in Soho were met with the atmospheric jazz-noir soaked saxophone additions providing counterpoint, full stops, and sharp scribbles; whipping the Jazzman’s words off into rain-streaked ellipses.
N.E.W. (Steve Noble, John Edwards, Alex Ward) and its variations have been raved about within this blog on a few occasions, in order to avoid repetition I will only say that they were full of their usual fire and passion. Their rattling, collapsing, and exploded instant punk constructions are gripping, an unmissable group in any context they find themselves in.
Kay Grant and Matt Chilton were a fascinating pairing comprising Kay’s manipulated vocals and Matt’s live electronic processing. The set was deeply textural and undulating; full of grain, static, fizz ‘n’ hiss, collapsed throat gargles, and sudden wipes of strafing heat from gushed noise-particles. The sound was ghostly: lost sighs, echoes, the shifting of boxes in faraway tunnels, the clank of chains. Vocal samples garbled “pounds” repeatedly behind radio interference and long whale moans, atoms of sliced babble twirled in the air. A nonsense of perfect clarity.
YND played a duo set (Benedict Taylor was unable to join). Tom Jackson (clarinet) and Stephen Crowe (electric guitar) began quietly with shivering tentative gestures from Stephen, later tangling in Beefheart-like twanging knots; Tom buzzed and moaned, trailing delicate curls and circles. The guitar playing was fascinating: rapid strobes and sudden stretched abstracted chords, melted and bright. This was a playful performance that scuttled about like a reptile, near inactivity would be transformed into off-kilter stalking movement. The sound they created was inventively weird and aquatic with the occasional strange morse-code nursery rhyme tapped out in piercing needles. A madly jumbled colourful set.
As ever, music nights as wonderfully odd as this need an audience to continue, so if you’re curious, don’t miss the next one. Keep the boat afloat!
Boat-Ting listings and info: here.