The Sigur Ros email this month is all about Amina and their new album! Ian and I saw them a couple of times in London last year. I was really excited at the time about their music and now here comes and album!
Equally, if not more importantly, amiina’s debut album, ‘Kurr’, will be available through their website from March 21st. It can be preordered now here along with a new range of related merchandise and will also be available on the tour. Amiina are currently negotiating record deals to release the new album through traditional routes, but meantime, this is best and only the way to acquire this quiet gem of a debut. In addition, the existing EPs are now available as a download here.
In no particular order here are a few of my favourite things that
1. Barcelona for Sonar Music Festival – 3 days and 2 nights of music and arts/visuals associated with electronic music
2. Moving to Turkey for 6 months (kind of) work
3. Back to Aus and NZ with Ian
4. e.s.t. jazz trio as part of the London Jazz Festival
5. Sigur Ros live with Amina
6. Radiohead live
7. International Gourmet Veg Dining – Level 42 Sydney, Sketch London, Christophs Amsterdam – and so many others!
8. Shakespeare at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon and in particular, the Knee High Theatre Company
As the RSC this year is doing all the works of Shakespeare, it’s time to dust off one of the lesser known plays. This one is part tragedy, part comedy – your left not too sure what it wants to be. It’s a great story – the King, Cymbelline has been lost in his depression since his 2 sons were kidnapped 20 years before and his only daughter has gone against and married his adopted son. He’s remarried and the former nurse is just power hungry and her son is worse. Complicated … just like Shakespeare really!
This new production by Kneehigh Thearte Company – who did Tristan and Yseult last year that I loved so much … is full of energy, flashing lights, explosions, songs and dance. Done in a small thearte ‘in the round’ style and very experimental, you’d be forgiven to think it even was Shakespearian drama.
After an astonishing few years of creative frenzy, Kneehigh has emerged as a major force in contemporary theatre. With its vivid, physical storytelling style, Cornwall’s award-winning, and ground breaking theatre company interpret Shakespeare for the first time.
Artistic Director Emma Rice and writer Carl Grose will create a new adaptation of the rarely performed Cymbeline. This wild, giddy and elemental production will see Kneehigh dance through invasions, misunderstandings, intimacies and betrayals, with heart-stopping poetry, live music and touching madness. Never has confusion been so pleasurable and surprising.
Yes, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m now starting to sound like a pom and look like one too. It’s hard to think that I’ve been here two years!
It’s been so bloody hot too – you would think I lived in Sydney – official temperatures got up to 36C last week, but the tubes and buses make it feel more like 45C or 50C. Nothing here is air conditioned either, which makes the whole matter even more miserable.
So to ‘celebrate’ this milestone, we were off to the National Theatre to see Market Boy a feel good play set in the mid 80’s, during the peak of Thatcherism – with all that bad music, bad hair and bad clothes! What a good laugh and nice story, based on the people working in a street market – something you don’t see much of in Sydney or Auckland.
If you’re into rape, ‘licentous’ behaviour, unrequited love and murder then this weeks post is for you. We had a busy week with moving and setting up the new flat and so had to take a break from this and get cultured with a play and an opera.
My first Mozart opera experience was Don Giovanni. I have to say it was a bit of a struggle after 2 very late nights moving and unpacking. Our ‘modern day’ Don Juan is caught attempting to get in bed with Donna Maria and then kills her father before making off. He then tries to get it on with Zinefrea who only that day married … adding more twist. Though not fully staged the cast all have been ‘working’ on this production for some time, all were from an Italian theatre so they knew what they were doing and a few costumes or props might have helped. Of course it comes to a dramatic end for the Don and a very short moral number to remind us about the price we pay for this kind of behaviour.
Later in the week we went down to the Globe Theatre on the banks of the Thames. A brilliant venue constructed in wood with a thatched roof. We also had good weather and good seats so didnt have stand or rained on from the open roof. Antony and Cleopatra is maybe not as well known as Romeo + Juliet but at least it has battles, sex, suicide and more melodrama than a night in front of Neighbours. Good ol’ Shakespeare!
So that was 2 very different bits of cultural activity by 2 brilliant creators – and anyway, if all the classics have this much bloody action and drama then I’ll go see more
By the time you make it to The 30’s it’s not often that you get to ‘pop a cherry’ so when I was offered a ticket to see Depeche Mode live, I jumped. Well thanks to Levon, he had a spare ticket to the o2 wireless festival,
This ‘festival’ in Hyde Park has to be the most corporate over-branded, over-hypeed and awful MOR music event I’ve been too. Ad’s for SMS competitions every 20mins and if you weren’t with o2 it seemed like you could barely use a loo, let alone enjoy yourself.
Anyway back to Depeche Mode – well they have been around since the 1980’s but it wasn’t really until Violator (c.1989) that they managed to top the single charts with pretty much every track off that Album. Their earlier album Songs of Faith and Devotion (thanks Jamie) had also given them a credible swag of emo-loaded numbers to pull out and play. So the set list had to be a mix of the new album Playing the Angel and much older stuff The setlists are on the bands’ website but included A Pain That I’m Used To(new), Suffer Well (new), from sofad Walking In My Shoes with superb Red visuals, In Your Room, Judas and from Barrel of a Gun we have Martin singing Home while Dave freshens up. From Violator you could pick any track but I think we only got Policy of Truth and Personal Jesus. Finishing with a flashback to the encore started with another track sung by Martin – leading some people to wonder if Dave is losing his voice??
some video clips from Sonar of people we watched…
Jeff Mills on the Rowland Drum Kit (3min 45)
The MFA from the UK (1min 21)
Scissor Sisters we missed them cause we were queuing (1min 06)
Well we bagan this holiday in style – in an open air club at the old castle here. After that we managed to sleep til about 4pm. Missed the 'surprise act' of Scissor Sisters as they were playing, we queuing … hmmm no worries. Day 2 had less hip hop music and more live acts, we saw some fantastic new groups, others we had to sit and watch from a big screen as the room they were in was too full. Not sure yet, but expecting the ticket sales to top 90,000 people. Most interesting act was a Japanese guy who was using a fluro tube for a guitar and making some weird noises.
So we left and headed back to the lovely apartment to get ready for Sonar Noches 1. If you can picture 4 warehouses each larger than the Hordern Pavillion you might get close to the size of this place, I was told one room could hold 45,000 people. This is such an amazing festival of music and a/v stuff, I'll definitely be coming back each year.
I have to check out flickr – there was so many people with cameras and videos, I'm sure there are some amazing shots. Watching CHIC (le freak cest chic) the lead singer was asking everyone to email all the pictures to them. Anyway YES we watched CHIC – with their boogey/disco from the 70's, of course it was a bit OTT, but you have to remember that house music, techno and many other genres basically are progressions from Disco. Thats the history of modern music.
So who else was there – Jeff Mills with his amazing hard techno (and a sigue in to disco) follwed by Satoshi Tomei (who a few of us saw at SOS in Sydney, remember), Tiga was cool with vocals by Jake from Scissor Sisters, Laurent Garnier started a lovely set in his French house style (lots of Sax, some guitar and drum kit).
The place closed about 530, so we headed home for much needed sleep.
so we have just got back to the apartment Ian booked, there's a thunderstorm going on right now but we have had an amazing day. We are staying in the heart of the old town – I'd recommend the extra euros for this place – not just location, but having our own place and not staying in some hotel in just grand (the place is grand too).
Sonar … how to describe … well it's been a mixed day. I'm amazed at the people who have come to this electronic audio/visual 3 day fest from across the globe – spotted some aussies, french, dutch, english and tomorrow we will see a famous kiwi act 'fat freddys drop' so its a global party.
The sonarday is situated right in the city and if you believe that last year some 90,000 people attended, then you get an idea of the size of the centre where this event is held. There is also a new tech symposium which surprised me – people doing cool stuff with mobiles, GPS and music. First demo I saw was of a system that plays random music based on Satelites currently flying overhead!
Once the rain has stopped I think we'll head out and explore the off-Sonar clubs. Perhaps a dance on a terrace in a club overlooking BCN! or maybe we'll go find some German techno in the form of the Tresor record label (we've seen some of their stuff in LON).
Well what a weekend of interesting music and an opportunity to get out and start on the summer festival circuit here. Homefires is more like an indoor picnic – with lots of sitting around and 'navel gazing' as they call it here … pretty much any serious contemplative music can be called 'navel gazing' – the alternative is to call it 'chin stroking'.
I took a few great photos – so go check them out. Some of the photos are just really lame. Please note I want a NEW BIGGER CAMERA for my birthday and for Christmas I haven't decided yet. Adem of course was brilliant and getting to see him rework some of the new album supported by a string quartet was brilliant.
Originally uploaded by mr snail.
That was a very very big TICK in the list of things to do in London! and this was an awesome gig running for almost 2 hours.
Sure enough they have an incredible back catalog now and they shuffled between old and new stuff seemlessly. The production was superb but at the same time simple things like Thom using an old piano just kept it real.
So now I'm already thinking of Radiohead in Edinburgh at the end of the year. Absolutely!
Tonight we are off to see Adem at the Scala in Kings X. Once part of Fridge with Kieren Hebden from Four Tet, he released a solo album a few months back of folk / alt.rock – not at all like the work he'd done with Kieren).
Adem also runs Homefires a 2 day folk festival in London, which we're going to this year.
Listen to some of Adem's folk alt.rock
So tonight we are going to see Graham Coxon a post rock (pop?) guy. Ex-Blur guitarist. I was not really in the mood at first, but after walking someway from home along the Thames before jumping on the Tube things were changed. I like the Hammersmith Palais – leaves you wondering what the history of the place is – it looks a bit like an old ballroom, still with wooden floors and long flowing clothes suspended from the ceiling.
I was hunting around the net and the excellant Hype Machine has some of his stuff to listen too. So I'd completly forgotten the Blur connection who I used to really love (I think til I moved to Australia). Most of the tracks were from his new album (I hadn't even heard the first solo one) and they're good … some moshpit mayhem and some attempts at crowd surfing showed me how popular he obviously is!
Listen to Graham Coxon (you need Winamp) now
Originally uploaded by alan.brett.
Well the quick trip to Bulgaria for work fortunately didn't clash with us going to see Sigur Ros in London.
The band opened with the first single from their current album 'Takk' – performing behind a white sheet with their shadows projected on to it. This being their most accessible album and tour for it, most of the aural/visual show was creating music from takk. And they did it very well, supported by a 4 piece 'string' ensemble Amina and a brass section to add some omph to the sounds.
It’s not often you get to see something cool done with fluro lighting .. and not pink neon lips either.
Dan Flavin mucked about with fluro lights in various sizes and colours and created some interesting works with just a glowing tube. The expo here in London wraps up in a week so finally we got our act together and walked down to the Hayward which is near us.
what was probably most challenging is actually stoping thinking this is just some crummy fluro tubes hung up in a corner – how is that art? but more like some post modern bug caught by the eery blue glow of a bug zapper, it was somehow really appealing
What a dark comedy with all the twists of a modern day thriller. Poor Angelo is trusted by the Duke to rule Venice as test and of course immediately creates his own problem by promising a pardon in return for sexual favours. Nice!
Wasn't too sure if this was a Valentines treat – but either way it was a good laugh and until the end, I just wasn't sure if there was going to be one more twist!
National Theatre : Productions : Measure for Measure