Cinema Soloriens 20th Anniversary Tour
9th November 2013
Cachophony From A Parallel Universe
Tonight was the second half of a two day residency at Mello Mello for
this renowned psychedelic, free jazz combo touring project, which builds
on and continues to showcase the music of Marshall Allen and the silent
filmic or eclectic sound world of James Harrar's tenor sax.
Allen was the star esoteric alto saxophonist in the Sun Ra Arkestra until
it's eponymous leader's demise in 1993; now approaching 90 he is still
as active as ever and fronting several projects like this bash: be prepared
to be bashed!
Billed for an 8pm start, things were running a bit late as support act
Paddy Steer set up for his own idiosyncratic act, showcasing an array
of chaotic Heath-Robinson like filters and tuners that must have kept
Progressive Radio in Dale Street in profits for years, and which the early
BBC Radiophonic Workshop would have been proud of.
Nor was that all. In his diamante helmet he caressed his drums and keyboards
using a hosepipe with electrical pick-up on the end, while twiddling knobs
in synch with the sounds being produced. His Darth Vader-like helmet with
flashing rainbow teeth was a hoot. Well received, it was then a work of
art to dismantle his gear.
Mugstar, unannounced, then performed their own set of incessantly strident
guitar riffs with occasional keyboard and voice-over, (which tasked the
singer), as all the white space in the music was consumed in a black hole
Through all this Allen sat close to the stage like an NHS out-patient
waiting for his number to be called. He got up once and accidently went
out of the Fire Exit door. As more alterations to the equipment on stage
was in order, I asked him if he would like a beer while I was at the bar.
He graciously accepted the offer and lubricated his throat.
Finally then onto the stage, at 11.33pm, came the stars, accompanied by
Rogier Smal and a fellow percussionist, who must remain nameless. To the
backdrop of Harrar's mind expanding and perceptually awakening silent
films/videos, they proceeded on the cosmic mind blowing genre with which
they have made their names. It was indeed a performance that you won't
see every week, and one which a late surge in the crowd to the front,
left those sitting on seats with a restricted view.
A flashing screen, visceral and disorienting sounds, not just from their
trademark instruments but also from Allen's EVI, (Effects Valve Instrument)
and the exotic ethnographic bulbul or tarang of Harrar, ensured that those
watching had a spaced out night.
But at 12.40 am, as the band raucously played on, I had to go out into
the pouring rain, on a spacewalk of my own, in search of a taxi.