Live at Sound//Space: Lee Patterson, Stephen Cornford, Patrick Farmer, Dominic Lash
Posted In: Dominic Lash, Lee Patterson, Live at Sound//Space, Nathan Thomas, Patrick Farmer, Stephen Cornford
Comments: No Responses
Sound//Space is a temporary pop-up record store and venue run by Soundfjord gallery at the V22 Summer Club in Bermondsey, south London. As well as stocking a diverse range of experimental music and sound art recordings, and running workshops in everything from Arduino techniques to starting a record label, the store has also hosted performances and screenings in V22′s cavernous warehouse space. Sunday’s performance by Lee Patterson, Stephen Cornford, Patrick Farmer and Dominic Lash was the culmination of a week-long residency, giving the artists time to figure out numerous ways of putting the hall’s vast dimensions and reverberative acoustics to good use.
Seats for the audience were placed in the centre of the room facing in one direction, with sound coming from all around us as the performers moved around its edges, sometimes hidden in shadow, sometimes illuminated by pools of light. As the performance began, it was impossible to distinguish the sounds of a breeze through the windows or a car passing outside from the artists’ subtle sonic interventions: a stone tossed here, a marble rolled there. Heavier sounds were gradually added, from broken bricks dragged along on a string to concrete disks struck with hammers and mallets, but things were kept sparse, with the silences in between sounds being treated carefully and attentively as sonic events in their own right.
Tones generated by interactions between analogue electronics and resonant devices such as plastic bottles and drums were eventually introduced into the mix; the acoustic double bass of Lash also began to make its presence felt. For me, the most striking moments were the three sudden outbreaks of what might be called ‘normal’ Western tonal music: one coming from a crackly antique recording, another from Lash’s bass, and the third an improvisation played out between the bass and Farmer’s piano. These were like moments of extreme lucidity in a vaguely-remembered dream, the rapid shift in attentive register almost vertiginous. Like solid shapes crystallising out of an oceanic liquid, or a camera lens sliding into focus, these moments broke the spell of patternless, faux-incidental sounds, recasting them as something else entirely and restructuring everything that had happened beforehand.
After over two and a half hours of attentive listening, the concentration skills of this durational-performance novice were somewhat tested, but given the range of sounds and textures used it would have been hard to shorten it and still give each one sufficient time to develop. V22′s unique space gave the artists a wealth of acoustic resources to play with, and they showed no shortage of imagination when it came to exploiting them, creating a fascinating and at times openly moving performance. The last chance to hear experimental music at this venue for the foreseeable future will be Sunday 29th July at Sound//Space’s closing celebration (which also happens to be Soundfjord’s second birthday), with performances by Aural Terrains and Material Studies — if you’ve not checked it out so far, you’d be well advised to do so.
- Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio
Stephen Cornford: www.scrawn.co.uk
Patrick Farmer: www.ideasattachedtoobjects.blogspot.co.uk
Dominic Lash: www.dominiclash.co.uk
Lee Patterson: www.myspace.com/therealleepatterson