The Cube presents
Sun 5 December // 19:30
Alison Cotton is a composer, performer & improviser based in London. Her second album Only Darkness Now was released last year and reached number 11 in The Quietus Albums of the Year & number 1 in Quietus' New Weird Britain chart, enjoying airplay across BBC Radio 3 & 6music. Only Darkness Now and her debut have also been newly reissued by our own Bristol record shop & label, Friendly Records.
Lara Jones is a saxophonist - both soloist and ensemble player - as well as improviser, composer & collaborator and now based in London. Her debut album 'Ensō' was released last year with radio play on BBC Radio 3's 'Freeness' show.
Cotton's body of work takes in folk & medieval themes, poetic depictions of Gothic torment and historical netherworlds. Jones on the other hand picks up modern anxieties of urban experience with heavy, layered saxophone lines and electronics as weighty as Cotton's long drawn viola bows and cool harmonium tones. Through their immersive practices both composers create a reflective space for their explorations of time and place - both imagined & real, recorded & researched. In her second album Cotton leaves behind the stony chambers of her debut for a much more peopled landscape, a brighter expanse that can reach cathedral-like grandeur. Jones recorded her debut in a Welsh chapel with soaring acoustic properties that can also confront us with claustrophobic onslaughts of noise. Holy space is confidently reframed as layered city life and new monuments - we hear of the 'the confined space' where 'all the germs go round' in an intimate, broken phone call that may be between an anxious, isolated mother & her daughter concerned at the encroachment on their space – both domestic or the vastness of London St Pancras.
Nostalgia concerns both performers: in 'Ballet', Jones weaves an ambient warmth of submerged & glitched recordings of children's voices. Cotton's viola and choral layers have an earthy, distinctly English experimental resonance with early music modalities; these are stone images of pagan & mediaeval times, the past like the shattered tree stump landscapes of painter Paul Nash. Where Cotton uses her voice, Jones blends live processing and field recordings as on 'Ensō''s opener St Pancras where solemn washes of chords dissolve in choral higher registers before brass howls like a halting train blend into the haunted distant tannoy announcements of St Pancras railway station.
The Cube offers a ready quiet for a double billing that will send sound through the rafters: a special night of darkness explored – of the natural world & unearthed history presented alongside the familiar urban quickening of claustrophobic nerves & disorientation. Rendered in this way, both performers encourage us to contemplate our own inner preoccupations amongst their richly layered soundscapes.
This is a full capacity event with no social distancing in the auditorium. Proof of a negative lateral flow or double vaccine will be required on entry. Masks will be required at all times in the building including the auditorium (unless exempt)
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