Hekla + Ingrid Plum + Yoni Silver + Alex Ward Trio + A Lily
HEKLA is a Berlin-residing Icelander whose sparse, delicate, fractal music exists within these two worlds: dark and magical as Iceland’s permanight folklore; and as deeply sonic and intense as Berlin’s electronic scene. A long-term scholar of solo theremin, Hekla (shortened from her own name Hekla Magnúsdóttir) uses her instrument as an otherworldly and highly evocative Siren-call. A spectral, wailing, howling, lamenting yearning second-voice that underpins a soft vocal delivery, as if her studio had been haunted with a chorus of ghostly backing singers. Hekla’s debut album for solo theremin and voice ‘Á’ is out on September 14th through Phantom Limb Records (this show is the album launch). The album was written and self-recorded by Hekla in her home studio in Berlin around her son’s daycare schedule. Icelandic super-musician Mr Silla (a part-time múm member) guests on a number of tracks. Tallinn-based engineer Jose Diogo Neves – a stalwart of Icelandic and Portuguese music – mixed and mastered the record.
While a handful of reference points share similar ground, Colleen’s interplay of voice and instrumentation; the richly immersive filmscore work of sadly passed fellow Icelander Jóhann Jóhannsson; “grandmother of theremin” Clara Rockmore’s close relationship with such a singular instrument; Julia Holter’s intelligent and classically-aligned songwriting – Hekla’s music still exists singularly. A one-off talent, emerging from no particular scene, ascribing to no particular rules.
INGRID PLUM uses her voice with extended technique, improvisation, field recordings and electronics, to create layered soundscapes, spoken word and songs. Described by The Guardian as “gorgeously atmospheric vocal techniques woven around field recordings & electronics” she has performed and exhibited installation art internationally since 2002, creating work that combines sound art, contemporary classical and folk music. Incorporating her research into folk traditions with field recordings and studying directly with Meredith Monk her recent performances have been described as “succinct and nourishing… a luxuriant space between almost excessive precision and looser improvisation” by The Wire.
YONI SILVER is a bass-clarinetist and multi-instrumentalist whose activities include hyper-spectral adventures with Iancu Dumitrescu’s Hyperion Ensemble; a bass clarinet and percussion duo with Steve Noble; a bass clarinet/violin and possessed vocals duo with Sharon Gal; Denis D’or with Grundik Kasyansky and Tom Wheatley; bass clarinet and drums duo with Crystabel Riley, and solo performances on amplified bass clarinet. He has appeared on labels such as Creative Sources, Confront Recordings, Wasted Capital, Chocolate Monk and Edition Modern.
ALEX WARD is a composer, improviser, and performing musician, working primarily with clarinet and guitar. His involvement in freely improvised music dates back to 1986, when he met the guitarist Derek Bailey. He subsequently took part regularly in Bailey’s Company events, and has gone on to become a major figure in British improvised music. His current work includes the avant-rock duo Dead Days Beyond Help in which he plays guitar, sings and co-writes the material; various groups which perform his compositions-for-improvisers including Forebrace, the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet, and the Item series of ensembles; and improvising collaborations both regular and ad-hoc with musicians including Steve Noble, Dominic Lash, Kay Grant, Joe Morris and Weasel Walter. Besides his own groups and improvisational work, he also performs in ensembles including the Duck Baker Trio/Quartet, Thurston Moore’s recent multi-guitar projects Galaxies and New Noise Guitar Explorations, and Charles Bullen and Charles Hayward’s This Is Not This Heat. He brings a unique energy and inventiveness to all these projects, elevating them far above the ordinary and injecting them with a thrilling sense of danger and possibility. Much of his work is documented on the label Copepod, which he co-runs with Luke Barlow.
A LILY is James Vella, who is also a writer. Based in Brighton, UK, and bringing together influences as diverse as ambient drone, delicate indie-folk, pop songwriting, electronic music and modern classical, A Lily is a solo project with a far-reaching net. James has released a handful of A Lily records with Blank Editions, Kingfisher Bluez, Fierce Panda, Dynamophone Records and Sound in Silence among other labels. The son of a choral / operatic soprano and music theory lecturer, he grew up around music and saw his first record release as a teenager. Using the ‘A Lily’ name to encompass all of his solo music, his releases have covered broad stylistic ranges, from dark alt-pop to piano solos to mechanically-hearted electronica to abstract avant-garde.