Denovali Festival - St Johns Sessions at Hackney - 23 May 2015

posted by on in Concert Reviews Print  

Sometimes seeing four acts in one sitting can be a bit of an epic but it wasn`t tonight: the time just flew by, always a sign of having a great time.

The second day of the Denovali festival was held at the lovely old church, St Johns in Hackney, the previous day`s proceedings being held at Café Oto.


Day two kicked off with Moon Zero, solely in the figure of Londoner Tim Garrett. After recording his latest offering `Loss` in solitude and in churches it was totally fitting that we get to hear it in all its beauty in a church. Thunderous electronics get us under way, before Tim repeatedly plays a symbol with a bow, which is looped as the piece builds. Layer upon layer of pulsating rhythms, all without percussion create this ethereal piece. There`s a film projected onto the wall behind, I can`t quite make it out but its looks like a Japanese graduation day from the 60`s. At times the whole church seems too vibrated but I find it all very relaxing. This is my first hearing of Moon Zero and I will definitely find out more about them (him).


Greg Haines is next, he starts by blowing into a plastic keyboard, what follows is the sound of layered tape worn synthesisers. There`s a certain warmth to this. Then the thumbing base lines kick in and the next section is club like, dub like, funky. There`s a five minute section which is pure Kraftwerk. As our eardrums recover the tempo slows and Greg leaves the electronics and sits at the piano and ends the piece with a five minute solo.


My favourite Fennesz recording is the Mahler Remixes, which I reviewed last month, I still can`t stop listening to it, so to have a chance to listen to it LOUD and in a church setting was very exciting. We were not disappointed either, it sounds grander than ever. I was really surprised to see how much guitar is played: apart from the trademark Fennesz crashing chords, he is busy playing quieter more subtle parts. He spends much more time on the guitar tonight, rather than playing the laptop and the array of effect boxes on the table. Tonight`s mix seems to have fewer of the Mahler samples. I love hearing different versions of things. It`s always hard to pick a favourite though, as there`s always different good bits. I really hope Mahler is looking down (or up) with a big smile on his face because The Mahler Remixes is a fantastic recording and a stunning piece to hear live.


The final band on tonight is Jon Hassell and Ensemble. Making an all too rare live appearance in London, Jon is joined on stage by Rick Fox and John Von Seggen. It’s a very odd start to proceedings, almost like an orchestra warming up. We're not too sure if it’s the start of the concert or not. There`s a couple of very loud cracks, almost gunshot like, which send you jumping out of your shoes. Then we get going: the trademark treated trumpet, the natives splashing in water rhythms. Although this time it’s a bit slower, a bit darker, a bit sinister. The music is from `Psychogeography` an album made up from past studio sessions and rehearsals and all remixed into something new, all very Punkt-like. The sound overall is more cut up and the closer you listen the more you hear going on. There`s less of Hassell`s trumpet than I would have wished for but the overall sound is stunning.


There are two more stars tonight: Firstly, the venue - it’s a lovely old church, a bit ragged around the edges, but that’s part of its charms, with the ever changing light shining through the magnificent stained glass window the atmosphere is forever changing; Secondly, we must thank Denovali for giving us such a great line up and running a great record label. The sort of music we like is in fine hands.


Sometimes seeing four acts in one sitting can be a bit of an epic but it wasn`t tonight: the time just flew by, always a sign of having a great time.


permalink: permalink -- -- tagged: • Denovali • St Johns in Hackney • Café Oto • Moon Zero • Tim Garrett • Greg Haines • Kraftwerk • Fennesz • Jon Hassell • Rick Fox • John Von Seggen • Punkt 
Rate this article: 4.5 2

30.05.15 05:50
posted by: Diane G

It was, indeed, a wonderful night - all four acts presented beautifully. A truly chilled-out evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

your name*

email address*

You may use these HTML tags:<p> <u> <i> <b> <strong> <del> <code> <hr> <em> <ul> <li> <ol> <span> <div>

verification code*




Copyright © Dave's Place Music