02 February 2023

Plus three

It was the last flourish from Carmen Chan Schoenborn on vibes that gave me a chuckle.  This virtuosic little upward flowing line on the vibraphone borrowed from the CSO and then the look up to find ... the end.  This happens, of course.  Then set had vibes/piano with erhu and Gail's synth with floating tones and Jasmine's bowed erhu (what a lovely sound it can make) and like harmonies and synth and bells and cymbals and some other smaller percussion but it was coming to closure then this lively, perhaps hopeful flourish that had the three players looking at each other and chuckling. Thus is improv, of course.

Carmen had played earlier, too, this time with another bassist, Sam and Joe on drums and Gemma on trumpet and some vocals.  We'd heard bowed cymbals as well as bowed bass and harmonics, plastic bag noises , plucked piano strings and bass and various drones and percussive seed pods (Toca) into a finale of octave vibes, blown trumpet mute and a final bass pizz and bowed cymbals.  I found some a little airy but the bass/drums combination had purpose and power at times to satisfy my less developed ear.

Then another bassist, Chloe Sobek, or at least a somewhat busetto-shaped baroque violone.  That was odd to see.  Chloe also played a set on violin, but I didn't see that.  I can't imagine anyone with a six-string violone  and baroque bow and gut strings and gut frets who doesn't play mediaeval/renaissance/baroque music, so I guess that's Chloe's background.  Here, she played slides and pizz and odd intervals to sounds from around the piano, under the lid, piano-related noises but not from the keyboard with an accompaniment of alto sax with water bottle mute moving to hisses and bubbles of water boiling on hotplate with handheld condenser mic, if I got it right.  Not common in Llewellyn hall, but quite fascinating sounds that we all know but don't think about too often.  Here we can.

Variously, the musicians were Carmen Chan Schoenborn (vibes, piano), Gail Priest (electronics), Jasmin Wing-Yin Leung (erhu), Gemma Horbury (trumpet, vocals), Joe Talia (drums), Samuel Pankhurst (bass), Chloe Sobek (violone), Elizabeth Jigalin (piano, percussion) and Peter Farrer (alto, electronics).  They played at SoundOut at the Drill Hall Gallery.

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