Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ether10: Berlin Sounds

Queen Elizabeth Hall, 23 April

Thomas Fehlmann DJ set at Berlin Sounds, part of Ether10 in London; photo by Val PhoenixA funny ol' evening, this. It wasn't clear until a few hours beforehand whether everyone had made it over from various locales, including Finland, for this celebration of Berlin music, owing to our friend, The Ash Cloud. But, happily all were present and accounted for: Vladislav Delay, Thomas Fehlmann, To Rococo Rot, and, of most interest to me, Greie und Gut.

The latest collaborative effort by restless creative spirits Antye Greie and Gudrun Gut, Greie und Gut--or Greie Gut Fraktion, as they also style themselves--gave the UK premiere of their intriguing concept piece, Baustelle. Inspired by the building work they themselves were undertaking last year, the piece comprises some nine parts, each on a theme: concrete, stone, etc.

Amusingly, they arrived on-stage in character, wearing boots and coveralls and with their laptops draped in safety tape. Unlike Gut's early band, Einst├╝rzende Neubauten, they didn't take any heavy machinery to the stage. But, the screen behind them did show some building work in practice, artfully rendered in black and white. And, at one point, they did don hard hats.

It's intriguing to speculate on just who contributed what to the works. Greie handled most of the singing, with Gut contributing some understated (and sometimes inaudible) vocalising into two mics, one presumably with effects. Some of the pieces were more like tone poems than songs, but others were downright funky and poppy. Imagine that! They also covered "Wir bauen eine neue Stadt", by Palais Schaumburg, Fehlmann's old band. He kept the crowds entertained with a laptop DJ set in The Front Room after the main gig (see pic).

Very much looking forward to hearing the Baustelle album, which Gudrun handed me afterward. I had hoped to speak with GGF, but, sadly for me, Greie slipped away, tired out from her long day.

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