NORTH SEA RA­DIO OR­CHES­TRA

VENUE The leX­ing­Ton, lon­don DATE 15/04/2018 SUP­PORT VÄLVE

Prog - - Take A Bow - CHriS MCGarEl

VÄlve is the ex­per­i­men­tal side project of bas­soon­ist and sax­o­phon­ist Ch­löe Her­ing­ton (knife­world, Chrome Hoof). aided by emma sul­li­van on fuzz bass, elen evans on harp, and us­ing an ar­ray of rhythm boxes and loop­ers, Her­ing­ton dec­o­rates The lex­ing­ton with a be­witch­ing ta­pes­try of glitch rock.

real-time elec­tronic ma­nip­u­la­tion of all man­ner of per­cus­sive de­vices is in­ter­spersed with hon­eyed so­prano sax lines and three-part vo­cal har­monies.

The per­for­mance is mes­meric and im­pro­vi­sa­tional, rang­ing from aphex

Twin ab­strac­tions to child­like songs with ar­rest­ing lyrics in the vein of Brian eno’s vo­cal works. it’s a spell­bind­ing way to open pro­ceed­ings.

af­ter a brief de­lay caused by what leader Craig Fort­nam cheek­ily dubs an “or­gan mal­func­tion”, it’s time for north sea ra­dio or­ches­tra. as is tra­di­tional, Fort­nam has writ­ten a new piece to in­tro­duce his cham­ber or­ches­tra to the au­di­ence. The brief in­tro cleanses the palate and is more a cheery ‘hello’ than a rau­cous fan­fare.

The Wound fea­tures the voice of shar­ron Fort­nam evok­ing a young kate Bush in tim­bre and phras­ing. This is all very pleas­ant and civilised, as be­fits a sun­day teatime. Ber­liner luft shakes us from our english pas­toral reverie. Part krautrock, part con­tem­po­rary clas­si­cal, it comes off as a mash-up be­tween neu!, Zappa’s un­cle Meat and the theme from The Magic round­about. no, re­ally. Fort­nam strums his ny­lon-string gui­tar in­sis­tently while the wind sec­tion and vi­o­lin weave de­vi­ous ser­pen­tine phrases.

This segues into Mor­pheus Drone, a be­guil­ing cello solo that draws from Celtic and east­ern modes. The au­di­ence is rapt, wa­ver­ing as the mood takes them be­tween spon­ta­neous dance and pin-drop si­lence. This is var­ied, re­fined yet ex­tremely ac­ces­si­ble mu­sic. There fol­low some clas­sic texts from Wil­liam Blake and Thomas Hardy set to a cham­ber score with a dis­tinctly el­iz­a­bethan feel. gryphon, any­one?

a new piece, ten­ta­tively ti­tled gui­tary, re­quires a drum track on Fort­nam’s phone, which serves as the back­bone to an in­cred­i­ble dis­play of com­po­si­tion and en­sem­ble play­ing. This is the high­light so far, which is clear from the gasps its sin­u­ous jour­ney elic­its from the crowd.

There are well-doc­u­mented con­nec­tions be­tween nsro and

Car­diacs so Mor­pheus Mir­a­cle Maker is in­tro­duced as “for and about that ge­nius Tim smith”. later, Per­so­n­ent

Hodie ends with Terry ri­ley-es­que or­gan and vi­bra­phone wind­ing down like a clock­work mu­si­cal box.

He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven is a fine set­ting for the WB Yeats poem, and it’s a serene set closer, send­ing us hap­pily onto Pen­tonville road at 6.45pm, to ar­range our route home in time for a cuppa and the end of an­tiques roadshow.

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