Not the usual sort of interior for a music venue. It’s a long hall with a gallery around 3 sides. There is a table in the centre of the room and a u-shaped arrangement of sofas at one end. There are paintings on the walls and some propped against the gallery balustrade. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling (there is also one lying on the floor) and palms in ornate pots on plinths are dotted around the room. There are various sculptures on tables, a large timber framed vitrine and numerous stuffed animals. This is clearly a ‘set’ but most strikingly it is a set in which someone lives. The racks of clothes and stacks of books are used and not just there to create an effect.
Tonight the big centre table is set up with a sitar and effect boxes but the last time I was here the audience could sit at the table as if attending a meeting. The musicians on this occasion play in the half of the room nearest the entrance. This means that the audience has to walk through the performance area to reach their seats. But in reality there is little distinction between the two spaces and the musicians and audience overlap to reflect this. There is no ideal place to perform and no ideal spot from which to listen and see the performances. It is a relatively small space with a lot of soft surfaces so there is very little decay in the sound and this suits the shifting dynamic nature of the programme. There are 6 musicians tonight who play in various combinations and alone. The evening ends with a piece performed by all the musicians. This is, in many ways, an ideal way to experience live music. It is immersive, immediate and unpredictable. Sound/music here takes on some of the characteristics of the space. Just as the performers and audience mingle so too there is a merging of the visual and aural elements of the environment.
John Butcher – saxophone
Tania Chen – piano
BJ Cole – pedal steel guitar
Poulomi Desai – prepared sitar and electronics
John Edwards – double bass
Lore Lixenberg – voice
This was the last in a series of events organised by Steve Beresford and Tania Chen for this space. More are planned for early 2013.