Thursday, 29 March 2012

Liz Harris (Grouper) live in Reading

I nearly didn't make it to this show. I had been working on option mathematics all day, listening to live performances by Liz Harris (Grouper), and was maybe a little Groupered out. Also markets fell and we lost 1.5%, so that took the edge off things a bit. But as often happens, once on my way down to Reading, it was definitely the right idea.

The venue was the South Street Arts Centre - not the biggest venue in the world at about 250 people. Tables were laid out with four or five chairs at each, so I could have a beer and read my book prior to the first support band. They were actually ok - a heavily effects guitar, plus a keyboard / laptop / mixer. Wasn't that struck on the second group, who played a sort of cut up techno - which Liz watched some of from the back of the little room.

Finally, just before 10:00, she appeared. Her set consisted of a live mix of tracks contained on various cassettes she played on a dozen walkmans. The basic track was a series of deep electronic drones, then a small number of slightly more melodic drones were attached on top. Rather slow to get going, but with some really lovely moments within the work. My main criticism was that it wasn't loud enough, so some of the deeper drones were being lost. But I would happily listen to this sort of music for hours. It lasted perhaps 45 minutes, then it was simply cut and she departed quickly. I waited another five minutes or so to see if she came back to sell any mercandise, but she didn't seem to.

Wife was supposed to have attended with me, but has a bit of a cold. She probably wouldn't have liked it as much as I did!

Of all the pieces I have live of Liz Harris, the piece below (titled "Sleep - excerpt") is the one most like last night's show.

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