The Krankbrothers, aka Danny and Kieran Clancy, are staple names of the London electronic music scene, Bordering on 10 years throwing inspiring and eclectic dance parties it’s a rarity to find someone who hasn’t at least heard of them, let alone frequent their dances. Being a DJ duo foremost, the two have successfully made the fabled leap and transcended form into an iconic brand stretching from party protagonists to record label bosses.
With their roots firmly in the dance music scene it is suitably refreshing to see the next series of events they have curated, playing host to a selection of modern-classic ambient musicians in their respective niches, all set in Islington under the roof of the iconic Union Chapel. Voted best live music venue of 2012 with its distinct 19th century gothic style and ceremonial sound-scaping, it strikes as a very exciting space for this new series of events.
The first of these sees the Japanese composer Midori Takada bring her exquisite tale of east asian ambience and exhilarating jazz fusion north of the river. An artist who sees the cosmic brilliance of the universe and musical nature of the natural world, proclaiming “Everything that exists on this earth has a sound, Even if humans don’t call it an instrument, on this earth, there exists a significant vibrancy.” This comes through fully in her music which often follows a natural progression taping into human tendencies transporting you to her lucid dreamscape. Using heavy amounts of percussion yet portraying a multitude of feelings is a hall mark of her sound, gentle triangles and cymbals up to pounding drums and gongs, she commands them all. At a show in Cafe OTO last year she kicked off proceedings meandering through the crowd chiming a single triangle, somehow managing to fill the room with a glowing chime moving all around until suddenly she was there right besides you! True mastery of the percussion, with the space of the Union Chapel to play with there is so much potential I cant wait to see what she has in store.
On the night there is support from quite a contrasting, yet complimentary German artist named Jan Jelinek, he is a well revered figure in the ambient electronic community thanks to his seminal works Loop-finding-jazz-records (2001). Known for his minimal tech-glitch sound looping and layering jazz-cut samples, underpinned with deep atmospheric bass lines, he should provide a suitably hypnotic start to the evening. Similarly to Midori Takadas approach of full appreciate for natural acoustics, Jan emphasises the beauty of past sound, amalgamating and moulding minute lost sounds bites into fresh and new compositions. Jan will be playing a rare live performance on the evening so nothing can be expected, all I know is that he’s going to push the reverberations of the Union Chapel to its very limits in true ceremonial fashion.
The second set of shows plays host to one of electronic music’s all time legendary acts, Tangerine Dream. Founded in 1967 by Edgar Froese, their prolific history spans all the way up to present day and boasts over 100 studio albums. They’re more than just a band however, Edgar envisioned them as more of an ethos, a sound and motive expressed through a span of over twenty likeminded artists. Atmospheric and emotive, synth heavy journeys are a stable of this sound, often with excursions lasting well over 10 minutes. One of the key features of their progressive, instrumental sound is the intimate interactiveness of it all. The instrumental progression eeks in deep and forces the listener to be directly involved, projecting their own subconscious and feelings into the sound; rather than be a passive listener to a story being told. It is this characteristic for me that is accurately described as psychedelic, truly mind-manifesting music and I cant imagine a better place to let yourself unfold then the magnificent Union Chapel.
The last in the series of shows at the Union Chapel rounds of a broad cross section of ambient acts with a candlelit evening in the company of avant-garde composer, William Basinski. Most famous for his four-part collection The Disintegration Loops, the majority of his compositions are highly experimental, melancholic affairs; Often using old tape reels playing against each other to create organic feedback. The repetitiveness, decaying nature of the loops coupled with nostalgic tones create a highly contemplative sound and I can imagine that set in candlelight against the beautiful chapel will create an immensely powerful joint meditative experience. Similar to the billing of the aforementioned Midori Takada show, William is to be supported by, and somewhat contrasted to the more techno influenced works of Austrian composer Christian Fennesz. Together they’re sure to mould an immersive, introspective sound scape for the audience to lose themselves within; I personally cannot wait to explore.
Grab tickets below:
Midori Takada + Jan Jelinek
William Basinski + Christian Fennesz