BBC Radio 3’s Verity Sharp brought her experimental music show Late Junction to Cardiff last week with three special performances from artists based in Wales. The event was held at the excellent Chapter Arts Centre in Canton, Cardiff and was free event. The size of the audience was encouraging and a definite sign that there is a strong interest in experimental electronic music in the Welsh capital. The first act to perform were the Swansea duo Deaf Pictures. A collaboration between guitarist Daniel Linn-Pearl and violinist Rose Linn-Pearl. Presenting a sonic landscape that filled the theatre with sublime drone from Daniels electric guitar using extended techniques including the use of a light controller and violin bow. A mixture of improvisational and minimalist compositions married with the use of looper pedals and various fx with the beautiful performance of Rose’ violin over the top.
Farmhand is the pseudo name to Shapes label boss and Islet band member Marc Thomas who has taken a step back from running the label to focus on farming in the welsh hills. His solo performance was a delight to behold with plenty of banter thrown in for good measure. Consisting of a selection of field recordings, drum machine rhythms and a trusty synth his tracks were short and sweet. Sometimes messy, at one point Marc politely asked the BBC producer not to put a particular track on the show (this track happened to be my favourite from his set). An electronica induced psyche out and an enigmatic stage presence made this a joy to behold. Laughter is a wonderful cure.
Finally to the stage the Swansea Laptop Orchestra introduced a completely different aspect to the possibilities of electronic music through a sometimes academic but always entertaining approach to live electronic music performance. Three musicians, three laptops and an array of interesting and innovative controllers. Their set went from Indian classical through to much more experimental compositions that celebrated the computer as an instrument. There was a brief discussion on performing electronic music live and the importance of gesture in performance. The SLO manage to get rid of the stereotypical ‘checking your emails on stage’ look and are bringing a new approach to experimental music performance. Consider the school of IRCAM in France, the spectral compositions of 20th century Modernists combined with amazingly playful future music instruments.
You have another chance to listen to the event on Verity Sharps 'Late Junction' show on 26th January.