Labyryth, Fruitmarket 23rd September, Acts 43 & 44

Fruitmarket again. Craig Armstrong again, but before that, as usual, a compulsory visit to Blackfriars. We, Sheilds ‘n’ me, saunter round the corner and enter the door to the Old Fruitmarket. Automatically taking a 45 degree left (to arrive at the bar), we are stopped in our tracks by a Mrs Slocombe type who steers us through a black curtain towards The Labyrinth. Once through the curtain we are in a blacked out area that is criss crossed with beams of light (similar to the scenes you see in movies when a lycra bound jewel thief sprays the room with deodorant/hair laquer to ascertain the location of the laser beams). Breaking these beams triggers hidden synths that make a series of wonderful wee noises, a bit like what I imagine the Radiophonic Workshop attempting to recreate Bleep & Booster with Tourette’s would be like. While I consider this to be the Eighth Wonder of The World and the greatest invention since the horse, Shields has bored quickly with the squeals and farts that this wunder-chamber is emanating, needs a Bombay Saphire and exits barwards.

The labyrinth itself is at both times amazing and disappointing. What appears to be half the floor of the Fruitmarket is taken up with a giant water tank with what I estimate to be no more than 1cm of water. On the floor of this tank is the maze but it really looks more like a ring off of an old Belling caravan cooker and wouldn’t overtax a five year old (I later discovered it was a ‘family’ thang!). It was all very civilised with an area to take your foot coverings off before paddling in circles. All of this aquatic meandering was captured by an overhead camera and used as a back projection on the stage.

Icebreaker were first up playing Terry Riley’s In C and making it last exactly one hour. A stonker!!! absolutely ace stuff with the keyboard players having to take spells away from their instruments to play the strident repetitive chords. Shields loved it! I saw these guys, well eleven blokes and a woman to be more precise,  playing Brian Eno’s ‘Apollo’ last year and it was one of the most gorgeous perormances I’ve encountered. Star of the show that night was BJ Cole and, blimey here in The Labyrinth, he’s standing next to me. I engage him in idle chatter telling him how wonderful his interpretation of Lanois’ part in the Eno piece was. He seemed politely surprised that I had so many of his recordings and was also unaware that Clive John, from Man, had died (this is the very same BJ that plays pedal steel on ‘Mona’ from  10″ vinyl Christmas at The Patti)

Craig Armstrong and Antye Greie were next on to perform Eilean. Where the last Armstrong gig see xxx below was an unexpectedly lush affair with a stageful of punters wielding cellos, double basses and violins this was more austere. Three Apple laptops, two performers and a partridge one grand piano to be precise. To this audient it appeared that Armstrong played the music while greie processed and distorted it while creating an everchanging backdrop on the big screen that seemed to be a loop of waves curling across a sandy beach.

John Shuttleworth tries to pass himself off as composer of lush orchestral film scores.

John Shuttleworth tries to pass himself off as composer of lush orchestral film scores.

 Random paddler.. Clicking this photo should take you to another person’s site that manages to show no photos of yours truly!

Random paddler..

Inspired by discarded cooker element!

Labyrynth inspired by discarded cooker element!

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