Joe Brannigan, currently in his last year with Brunel’s Sonic Arts degree program, was there on October 23rd to review the previous event… Here is what he’s got to say (do read through the first shocking paragraph, you’ll be happy you did).
All photos by Francesca Floris.
Arts @ Artaud, this year’s twist – It’s run by students! We all know the stereotypical student: lazy, unorganised and confused. Well, there’s no exceptions here. Despite tremendous efforts on behalf of the organisers there were last minute changes and organisational discrepancies which had some knock on effects to the flow and delivery of performances. Many of the performances started with some sort of hiccup of either sound or visuals, and to suggest a script was used is puckish!
There may have been an ultimate personification of students, however the talent of the persons of the Arts faculty shone through regardless. The night started with the mystifying vocal prowess of Sophie Cunningham and her magic Pandora’s box of sound. Using just a sample player and her voice, she certainly charmed me. Fixating intently on the swooping big-bass tones and vocal overlays, I was contented (to put it mildly).
Second up, a short film entitled Treeo. A charming pair of dancers ebb and flow around their mutual partner — a tree. Set in a forest, they sway and wrap around each other quite hypnotisingly. One striking feature of this enchanting performance is the rather attacking glass-snaps and noisy thuds that occur whenever the dancers interact with their surroundings, or each other. All in all, a good film. It leaves (pardon the pun) lots of room for interpretation and I’m sure would do very well if taken further, to film festivals and more.
Following Treeo, another short film entitled Aura, and yet more technical difficulties blighting the performance; — along comes poetry. After a self deprecating intro by George Coates, lamenting on introducing himself as a poet and the cliche of pop-poetry typically regarding the opposite sex, he digresses into a poem about women. With irony stacked on irony, he goes on to deliver a comic and fun personal view of heartbreak.
It was at this point I wished for a subtly-camp, mormon themed musical theatre piece with two snappily dressed, striking male vocalists and dashes of comedy. Allow me to introduce Broderick. Both the audience and I were captivated by the energy and enthusiasm of the performance as they delivered a spectacular vocal and physical performance which led onto the first planned break of the evening.
The second half opening act was a performance of soft and empathetic vocals, courtesy of Michelle De Jong. Contiguous to her vocal stylings was a pre-produced backing track via a Macbook and an accompaniment on keyboards by Mārtiņš Baumanis. With influences from James Blake to Aluna George, its makes for a unique and interesting array of music.
Next up, Mārtiņš Baumanis, only this time he took a conducting role for ‘Seventh Proof’. This was a collective performance by Mārtiņš, Kristijonas Dirsė, James Ratcliffe and Sophie Cunningham with spoken word provided by Cameron Graham and Robert Jones. This audio visual live performance was bold and loud when ordered, seemingly dictated by the spoken word, and had a forceful potential to calm and subdue the audience too. A chaotic mix of pure sounds and grinding noise made for an intense and world rocking show. A personal recommendation if ever you see their names again.As they say, save the best ‘till last.
‘Bald Dog’ comprises of two of the previous musicians, James Ratcliffe (saxophone) and Cameron Graham (drums) with the addition of Connor Foweraker on guitar. This trio’s pseudo-gypsy style hypnotised and mesmerized with trippy time signatures and wailing sax melodies all held together by a strong guitar back up and at times neat drum beats. The dizzying sax trills and so-cool-it’s-easy guitar picking built the foundations of an intense and bold sound, unfamiliar to the average listener.
After the climax of the shaved canine, it was left for the crew to awkwardly deliver the notice ‘this has ended’. And with that…
For the archivist, here is the pre-program for the last event… ARTS@ARTAUD PROGRAMME 2013