Review: The Sleeper Society @ Chapter

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The Sleeper Society
Chapter Arts Centre
Monday 23rd January 2017

The night before the event, I was extremely pleased to see something like The Sleeper Society on Chapter‘s website. Local electronic music should never be underestimated and it’s exciting to know artists here want to create it.

On the night, each composer created unique work, which would still be a familiar vantage point to those who know and love electronic music. Gates by John Nichols opened the evening, it’s lively execution, partly inspired by the Pleiades (part of the Taurus constellation). The mood by bending string and brass timbres, along with time stretched voice created an alert feeling of atmosphere.

In Alan Courtis’ Mater Matris Mutatio presented a diverse range of sound processing techniques. It followed straight after Nichols’ work and they complemented each other well. Anna Terzaroli conjured up moody mists in her Dark Path #4, capturing the soundscapes of Marche, a region in Italy.

Tic Ashfield, had a variety of elements to her work entitled The Collier’s Son. With film work similar to Tarkvosky and a sculpture of wood, string and fabric slightly blocking the screen, the mood was set for her score. Exploring the Industrial Revolution in the Black Country, West Midlands, the music takes advantage of testimonies and a deeply rooted sense of place, by absorbing the environment in question. It worked extremely well, though could have been a touch shorter in length.

Joe Shrimpling, with Linus (didn’t catch his surname!) on electric guitar, both improvised and captured a mood of John Cage and early electronic music. The timbres are heightened by the serene nature of the guitar’s gentle strums and plucking. In Socialite, Daniel Soley had a pang of humour in his piece, inspired by media bombardment and randomness. At times it felt like Varèse rushed and the speakers surround us boomed in an merry, sonic tennis match. Omar Peracha’s Colour Étude 1, ended the second half of the night, in an evocative and wonderfully harmonised composition. Though not present, the sense of how his music work was clear and precise.

To end the night, they had the marvellous idea of playing In C, by Terry Riley. Regarded as the first minimalist piece of music, it allows the players to take there time and repeat as much as they wish of the piece, without going backwards. The audience was informed on social media they could bring their own instruments and play along.

I wish I’d have known, as I would have brought some little things. Instead I made the most of what I had in the percussion department: a plastic cup, the metal lid from balm, tablets in a pill box etc. My clapping and clicking added to the percussive quality of this serene music and it was a joy to see half of the audience joining in. The night was best summed up by a couple who with their eyes closed, maintained a state of bliss.

We hope The Sleeper Club come round again.

Stimulating and inspired.

Rating: 4 stars

An extended performance of Satie’s Vexations take place around Cardiff in 2017, as a fundraiser for OCD UK, with such venues as the Wales Millennium Centre as locations (more to be confirmed). We also need more musicians, venues, electronics artists, rap artists and artists in all fields to help to complete the piece. Follow #CardiffVexations & @weepingtudor on social media to see more!

Photo credit: Joe Singh


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