Saturday 25 February 2017, 7.30pm
An evening of free-reed instruments in new music, featuring Amsterdam-based English musician and concertina player Seamus Cater and accordion sets from American composer and improviser, Leo Svirsky and English composer, Howard Skempton.
“Cater plays it anything but straight – this is not a folk album in any, at least not in any traditional British sense. The concertina forms a modernistic, sometimes drone-laden bedrock, not unlike Cale’s viola on the first two Velvet Underground albums, and even more like Nico’s wheezing harmonium on The Marble Index. If there is folk music at work here, it is folk of a medieval, Germanic variety. Cater’s vocals straddle the line between singing and spoken word. The style is almost bardic in its ability to relay narrative.” – Folk Radio
Seamus Cater (1970), currently resident in Amsterdam, mixes research based song writing and new acoustic music. His 2016 album, The Three Things You Can Hear, released on the Lebanese imprint Annihaya Records (CD), and Nearly Not There Records (LP), draws on the delivery and instrumentation of British revivalist folk music but filters this through minimal, or repetitive playing techniques. With duet concertina as accompaniment for voice, he searches for spectral sonic connections between these two sources. His songs are noted for their conceptual narratives, often reinforced with musical parallels.
Past releases include The Anecdotes (2012) with Viljam Nybacka, and When We Get to Meeting (2010) with Woody Sullender. Seamus co-organises the DNK-Amsterdam concert series and as DNK Ensemble makes performance pieces and compositions with Koen Nutters. Recently he has performed works by Antoine Beuger, Ryoko Akama and Michael Pisaro.
Leo Svirsky (b. 1988, USA) is a composer, improviser, pianist and accordionist living in the Hague. His latest LP "Heights and Depths", for solo accordion of 185 basses, was released by the Brooklyn label catchwave ltd. in November 2016. This album, like all his work, explores how the instability of listening itself transforms the perception of musical semantics and affect. Disorientations of memory and spatial awareness are nevertheless bounded by a rootedness in song and story.
He has released works on Emanem (Different Tesselations with Veryan Weston), Slow Fidelity (duo with Katt Hernandez), and Ehse records (Songs in the Key of Survival). He holds a masters in Composition from the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague studying under Cornelis de Bondt and Martijn Padding, as well as private study with Antoine Beuger.
Howard Skempton (1947) is an English composer, pianist, and accordionist. Since the late 1960s, when he helped to organise the Scratch Orchestra, he has been associated with the English school of experimental music. Skempton's work is characterised by stripped-down, essentials-only choice of materials, absence of formal development and a strong emphasis on melody. He teaches composition at the Birmingham Conservatoire.
His accordion pieces, for a small instrument of 12 basses, are thoroughly charming melodic works usually of short duration, dances or developments of overlapping chords, very often dedicated to composers and musicians; Laurence Crane, Christian Wolff, John Tilbury, etc.