Friday, May 04, 2007

Acoustic Tuning

An excellent line up at the Festival Hall on London's South Bank last Monday, with Bert Jansch, human beatbox Schlomo, Sonic Boom (who covered Kraftwerk's Hall of Mirrors) and Saint Etienne (pictured). Sarah Cracknell of the latter also sang a jazz arrangement of St E's Side Streets with the Tom Cawley Trio, and there was a 'Saint Etienne Quartet' folk version of the normally electronic Like a Motorway. I missed Billy Childish unfortunately.

The premise of the event was 'Acoustic Tuning', with the Festival Hall (built in 1951) having undergone an extensive refurbishment, partly to improve its sound qualities. The musical diversity of the programme was designed to 'fine tune the acoustic settings of the auditorium' and the audeince was asked to complete a questionnaire with prompts like 'Do you hear the sounds of each instrument clearly and without colouration or distortion?' For once the invisible musical instrument - the space in which music is performed - was foregrounded. And yes, it did all sound great.

The hall opens properly next month, with a film launch on 29th June of This is Tomorrow, tracing the history of the venue with Saint Etienne performing the soundtrack live.

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