The gig itself closed the Saturday night of Flux/S, a woefully under-publicised arts festival, which took up a disused industrial park. Arriving at sunset, walking amongst buildings miles high and several wide, broken windows and spaces, there was a romantic tinge, however gross, to the ingenuity of man. That in obsolescence, the grandeur and personality of these buildings is emerging. Gross subsiding to quiet gravitas. Perhaps a little lonely.
Flux/S did a wonderful job or realising the spirits of these forgotten behemoths. Installations in wide hallways, with breezes through the over-long and broken windows. There was a cacophony of vegetables, a riot of flowers on a photo-shoot, a catapault for pot-plants, a balloon stencilling onto a white board that was being hovered back and forward by fans. LOTS to capture and captivate, situate and repose amidst in this industrial space.
So we were there, myself and this person who writes poetry here . As was Jesca Hoop, written about before, and impishlydelightful. Long pauses between songs littered with stories that amuse her so much you can´t help but be infected. Her songs are like Devendra Banhart married Joanna Newsom, and Regina Spektor as a godmother. She´s an elgant performer on her way to being very big. And we got to watch her in a wide echoey hall with an audience of 30.
Preslav and Great Park were on later. The latter (who has blogged about his own event) recalls a medieval minstrel or celtic poet, hardly singing but voicing concerns: alienation, yearning and the breakdown of friendship.
” I think that I am a stupid man
And I think that I am a slow man
But I know that he is a cretinous man”
He began, beautifully emphasised with the cadence of the wounded. Romanticism weaves its ways through the lyrics – arms are fled from, losses felt, snows considered, darknesses breathed. This stylised acoustics was in itself enough of a treat had it not been delivered with such exhilerating backing.
Both these gentlemen excel in the quiet. Stephen Burch (The Great Park) paints wide landscapes of longing, with small but forceful words. Adam Thomas (Preslav) illustrates these same scapes but with noise: an idyllic drone fuzz composed on cassettes. The effect of Preslav is that of slowly moving sepia behind the clear cut, doleful acrylic supplied by Stephen Burch.
There´s so much to devour in these two. Texture and emotion seethe behind two understated styles. They´re doing a mini-tour of Holland at the moment with a promise to return. If you have the chance, here or in their adopted home of Berlin, I suggest you take it.