Skip to main content

Raydale Dower - (….....)

Cryptic Nights@CCA, Glasgow
Thursday February 2nd 2012
The title of Raydale Dower's new 'spatial sound composition' speaks 
volumes about the former Uncle John & Whitelock bassist and current Tut 
Vu Vu clarinettist and sonic architect's methodology. Hard on the heels 
of his film installation, Piano Drop, which did exactly what it says on 
the tin, this commission for twenty-first century music-theatre company 
Cryptic's series of experimental one-night-stands, Cryptic Nights, 
plays with sound and space in a far more formal arrangement, as the 
fixed rows of seats surrounded by speakers and amplifiers great and 
small suggests.

It begins in darkness, before a light is discreetly beamed onto a lone 
speaker, from which emanates snatches of double bass, cello and bass 
clarinet as played by Dower with Catherine Robb and David Munn and 
overlaid with low-key electronics and found sound. With the instruments 
criss-crossing both each other and whichever speaker they're channelled 
through, and with lights raised and lowered by degrees, playful little 
cacophonies are pulsed along like a robot baroque heartbeat.

Where one might normally expect such an affair to be relayed in an 
empty room, allowing spectators to drift between speakers or else 
choose their favoured vantage point while sprawled in repose flat out 
on the floor, the seating arrangements and in-the-round presentation 
suggests something requiring more discipline. This is Stockhausen meets 
Samuel Beckett, possibly uptown, for a fifty minute narrative that 
comes on like an extended remix of Beckett's wordless life and death 
miniature, Breath, by way of Stockhausen's Kontakte, which has been 
'performed' in a similar fashion, both by the grand-daddy of electronic 
music, and his followers.

Dower is no stranger to either artist. Beckett was all over On Memory & 
Chance, his 2011 show at the Changing Room gallery in Stirling, while 
his pop-up speakeasy for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 
in 2010 was an artistic and social hub for left-field sonic exploring 
without any of that particular oeuvre’s more usually po-faced 
trappings. With a published record of Le Drapeau Noir forthcoming, it's 
legacy can already be found in the permanent venue on its site it 
inspired. With Dower as much social engineer as sonic architect, then, 
(….....) would fit in well there. 

The List, February 2012



Popular posts from this blog

The Honourable K.W. Harman: Ltd Ink Corporation

31 Bath Road, Leith Docks, March 17th-20th

In a monumental shipping container down by Leith Docks, a Sex Pistols tribute band is playing Anarchy in the U.K.. on a stage set up in the middle of the room. Either side, various constructions have been built in such a way so viewers can window shop as they promenade from one end of the room to the next, with the holy grail of a bar at either end.

Inbetween, there’s a confession booth and a mock-up of a private detective’s office with assorted documentation of real-life surveillance pinned to the walls. Two people seem to be having a conversation in public as if they're on a chat show. An assault course of smashed windows are perched on the floor like collateral damage of post-chucking out time target practice. A display of distinctively lettered signs originally created by a homeless man in search of a bed for the night are clumped together on placards that seem to be marking out territory or else finding comfort in being together. Opp…

The Maids

Dundee Rep

Two sisters sit in glass cases either side of the stage at the start of Eve Jamieson's production of Jean Genet's nasty little study of warped aspiration and abuse of power. Bathed in red light, the women look like artefacts in some cheap thrill waxworks horror-show, or else exhibits in a human zoo. Either way, they are both trapped, immortalised in a freak-show possibly of their own making.

Once the sisters come to life and drape themselves in the sumptuous bedroom of their absent mistress, they raid her bulging wardrobe to try on otherwise untouchable glad-rags and jewellery. As they do, the grotesque parody of the high-life they aspire to turns uglier by the second. When the Mistress returns, as played with daring abandon by Emily Winter as a glamour-chasing narcissist who gets her kicks from drooling over the criminal classes, you can't really blame the sisters for their fantasy of killing her.

Slabs of sound slice the air to punctuate each scene of Mart…


Tramway, Glasgow until July 2nd
Four stars

In the dead of night, the audience are split in two and led under-cover into lamp-lit tented structures. Inside, what look like peasant women on the run lead us down a ramp and into a large circular pod. It feels part cathedral, part space-ship, and to come blinking into the light of such a fantastical structure after stumbling in the dark disorientates and overwhelms. Sat around the pod as if awaiting prayers to begin, we watch as performers Nerea Bello and Judith Williams incant mournfully on either side of the room. Their keening chorales embark on a voyage of their own, twisting around each other by way of the international language of singing. As if in sympathy, the walls wail and whisper, before starting to move as those on either side of the pod are left stranded, a gulf between them.

This international co-commission between Glasgow Life and the Merchant City Festival, Sydney Harbour Foreshaw Authority in Australia and Urbane Kienste …