Thanks to all who came out to spend their weekend with us at LUME Festival 2017 in June. We had a blast! Also massive thanks to Eduard for hosting us at IKLECTIK, to all the musicians who played, and to everyone who helped us out on the day (special mention to our awesome merch assistant Liz).
LUME is taking a break now, but watch this space for news of further activities in the coming months…
Dee Byrne leads the LUMEkestra at LUME Festival 2017 (photo by Bill Clifford)
The second LUME Festival is taking place at IKLECTIK on the weekend of 24th/25th June. This year’s event will be a two-dayer, with a host of LUME’s favourite artists on the bill. Join us for two days of spontaneous musical explorations, collaborations old and new, live painting from Gina Southgate and all round good times!
Saturday: The Hat Speaks // Alex Bonney solo // Ma/ti/om // Archipelago // Sloth Racket // Corey Mwamba (LUME Lab Festival Special) // Gina Southgate
Sunday: The Hat Speaks // Tullis Rennie solo // Birchall/Cheetham/Webster/Willberg // Entropi // Metamorphic // LUMEkestra //Gina Southgate
Hello! My name’s Anton (that’s my grinning face in front of a wall up there). For the past few years I’ve been trying to focus my own composing on larger groups, which started with my 11-piece band Article XI, the goal being to get some of the feel and spontaneity of small groups to work on a bigger scale. Having the power and energy of a larger group but still allowing the individual musicians’ voice and personality to come through. That’s the plan anyway. Here’s a video of an Article XI piece if you’d like something to listen to while you read…
For my LUME Lab project, I’m debuting new music for a new ensemble, and I’ve purposefully chosen some people I’ve not worked with much before, but have been wanting to for a while. Namely:
Kim Macari Stone-Lonergan – trumpet Dee Byrne – alto sax Rachel Musson – tenor sax Tullis Rennie – trombone Cath Roberts – baritone sax Andrew Lisle – drums Tim Fairhall – double bass
and me – guitar
Over the past few months I’ve been meeting up with the musicians to improvise together in duos and trios. Initially we played completely freely to get a feel for how everyone fits together, and I recorded the sessions. I then went back and listened to it all and picked a few moments out, a melody or two, or some chords, or a riff. See exhibit A:
Then we all met up again, in different duos and trios and played the ideas I had transcribed, with a lot more improvising around them. Since then I’ve been hard at work, listening to these sessions and drawing elements in, expanding on some of the written passages, discounting others that didn’t work. This time the recorded material hasn’t been as much a source for me to transcribe, but a way to instantly get into the soundworld of a composition, and I’ve done a lot of improvising melodies whilst listening, or just after listening and so on.
I’m really looking forward to the gig: there’s going to be a whole load of space for these incredible improvisers to express themselves, and if you’ve seen or heard any of them before you’ll know not to miss the chance to see them again. We’re also going to play some hits from my back-catalogue. Or, rather, three or four tunes that I’ve written for different ensembles, so if the Article XI video above has finished playing, try clicking go on this one, with the LUMEkestra last year. We’ll be doing our own octet version of it.
Thanks for reading! Please buy a ticket or two in advance; your support is really vital for nights like LUME to survive, and Cath and Dee work incredibly hard to create a supportive space for new music like this. See you on the 24th!
P.S. Here’s a photo of me not in front of a wall, for balance.
We’re extremely excited to announce that the second LUME Festival is taking place at IKLECTIK on the weekend of 24th/25th June! This year’s event will be a two-dayer, with a host of LUME’s favourite artists on the bill. Join us for two days of spontaneous musical explorations, collaborations old and new, live painting from Gina Southgate and all round good times…
Praise for last year’s inaugural festival:
‘A glimpse of the kind of self-generated, mutually supportive communities we’re going to need if we’re to survive the years ahead.’ – Daniel Spicer, The Wire
‘Like all the best family get togethers LUME Festival should be an annual event. This debut was outstanding.’ – Thomas Rees, Jazzwise
For the second project in our LUME Lab series, we’re excited to welcome acclaimed saxophonist/woodwind player Julie Kjær. Her performance is on 16th March at IKLECTIK, and you can buy tickets in advance from the Luminous Bandcamp site. In this blog post, Julie gives us an insight into what she’s working on…
Jule Kjær: A study of the double bass (and a bit of the bass clarinet too)
What a great challenge and lovely opportunity to be asked to write some new music for LUME’s new constellation the ‘LUME Lab’. I’ve chosen to write for a quintet comprising 4 double basses and a bass clarinet. (and possible a bit of alto flute + sax)
For a long time now I’ve been wanting to get closer to the double bass, to dig into its lovely woody and stringy deep and to get a better understanding of the instrument. Such a lovely instrument with so many possibilities. Creaking woody sounds, screeching strings, low frequencies and humming sounds of the bow on strings.
During the last 3 weeks I’ve been investigating the world of the double bass. I’ve been listening to lots of music, reading wise words and meeting up with one of my double bass heroes, John Edwards, to watch him do his wizardry on the bass and take as many notes as possible. I’ve also been lucky to be able to borrow a double bass myself and get some hands-on experience to get a physical feeling of how it is to play – checking out the different sounds myself.
The next 3 – 4 weeks I will be processing all this collected material and info and use it as inspiration for the piece I will be writing. The compositing work will be based on the way I’ve been working with composing for the last 5 years, mainly with my trio, Julie Kjær 3, which is combining written material with improvised sections, experimenting with rhythm, sound and extended techniques.
After this I will be meeting up with the group for rehearsals leading up to the concert on the 16th March. The rehearsals are also an important part of the process, where the material is tried out, molded and shaped by the whole group.
The 4 double bass players I’ve asked to play are great players and improvisers. They are all busy on the London experimental and improv scene, but can also be heard in other parts of the music scene playing a.o. folk music and Jazz. I will be playing the bass clarinet part.
Dee Byrne (alto sax), Cath Roberts (baritone sax), Seth Bennett (bass), Johnny Hunter (drums)
Word Of Moth is a collaborative quartet set up by LUME founders Dee and Cath: we needed something musical to offset all the admin work we do together! The band has just got a new drummer, Johnny Hunter, and so we’ve used our LUME Lab slot to develop the new lineup, taking existing material in new directions as well as working on some brand new music together. The band is recording its debut album this month, and heading to Switzerland to play at the Jazzwerkstatt collective’s tenth anniversary festival, so this LUME Lab date is the start of some exciting moth times. A few words about what we’ve been doing before you join us on 8th February…
We had a good rehearsal yesterday [25th January], working on some new material, which we’ll perform at IKLECTIK on 8th February and will also be recording on 16th February. The line-up in Word of Moth (drums, double bass, baritone sax and alto sax) is a new challenge for me to compose for; the absence of a chordal instrument encourages me to take a new approach and look more creatively at the specific roles of each instrument. The horns can comp a bass or drum solo as well as play melodies and improvise, which is a fun extra element.
The new compositions I brought to the rehearsal were not polished arrangements, but instead took the form of a few distinct sections, which we then workshopped and arranged as a group. It’s a fun and collaborative way to work and led to some cool results! Some of the things we looked at were transitions between different sections such as introducing a riff/theme during a solo or half the group moving to the next section resulting in two sections overlapping (that sounded great!)
For Word Of Moth I’ve found myself taking a different approach to composing than I usually might. My current concerns with my regular band Sloth Racket are about using a combination of graphics and conventional notation to create structures for us to improvise our way through. This involves lots of cutting, sticking and photocopying to create scores as if the computer had never been invented.
For some reason though, for WoM I’ve found myself writing pieces that are more like short rock/pop songs! For the LUME Lab rehearsals I’ve been bringing in simple riffs or hooks, sometimes with an attached melody, but not much in the way of fully developed structures. This has led to some pretty stripped-down sounding music, with a lot of space for us to improvise and develop the tunes together. Plus I get to rock out playing some heavy riffs on bari, or rock out while listening to Seth playing them on bass, which is extremely satisfying.
It will be good to pull the pieces together and try them out at our LUME Lab gig – by which time we should be a step closer to being ready to go into the studio too….
LUME is back with something new for 2017: LUME Lab. Making a space for artists to create new work, four evenings of brand new composition and improvised music will be accompanied by the LUME Lab project blog, letting the audience in on the creative process. LUME Lab marks a change of direction for us: we’re moving away from being a platform for guest artists, rolling up our sleeves and getting involved in creating new music with the community of musicians who have gathered around LUME over the past three and a half years.
LUME Lab gigs will take place at IKLECTIK, the South London arts space that played host to our inaugural festival last summer and the LUMEkestra’s debut in November. The series opens in February with a new incarnation of our quartet Word Of Moth, then we settle down for the ride and get ready to enjoy new music from three of the most exciting artists on the UK scene right now. We invite you to join us.
8th February: Word Of Moth
Word of Moth’s ‘spontaneous group explorations and tightly-scored, big-booted riffs’ were praised by Daniel Spicer in the Wire magazine after their appearance at LUME Festival. The collaborative quartet explores the intersection of freedom and structure, with LUME founders Dee Byrne (alto sax) and Cath Roberts (baritone sax) joined by Seth Bennett on bass and Johnny Hunter on drums. wordofmoth.co.uk
Photo: Tom Ward
16th March: Julie Kjær
Saxophonist Julie Kjær is firmly established on the European stage. Her acclaimed trio with Steve Noble and John Edwards released its debut recording ‘Doppeltganger’ on the Clean Feed label in 2016, and she tours with Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s Large Unit as well as being involved in many other projects in the UK and beyond. juliekjaer.com
Photo: Dawid Laskowski
19th April: Craig Scott
Craig Scott’s music is ‘part human, part machine and revelling the glory and error of both.’ His studio project Craig Scott’s Lobotomy transforms recordings of improvisations by Craig and others using homemade equipment, re-constructing them with digital audio software. He is a member of formidable Leeds quintet Shatner’s Bassoon. craigscottslobotomy.bandcamp.com
Photo: Josh Crocker
24th May: Anton Hunter
Improvisation is at the core of Anton Hunter’s work. His Article XI project incorporates the personalities of eleven improvising musicians into the compositional process, exploring the relationship between composer and large ensemble. He leads his own trio with Seth Bennett and Johnny Hunter, and co-founded the long-running Manchester free improvisation night The Noise Upstairs. antonhunter.com
Quick post to share Dan Paton’s photo of the LUMEkestra in action last night at IKLECTIK. It was a fantastic night: the venue was packed out, good times were had and new music was made. There will be more…..see you next time!