Tag Archives: The Dyr Sister

Awayke Event – A 3D music experience

The average Saturday night might offer three bands. But this Saturday, down at the Adelphi, was certainly no average night out.

The back wall of the stage area, where usually you can read those names of previous visitors to the venue, was covered by a large white sheet. As I arrived, an image of moving liquid – not unlike that in a lava lamp – swirled across the fabric. It was serene and calming, especially with the room darker than I’d ever seen it before.

The Dyr Sister took to the stage first, with the backdrop of Zach Walker’s cymatic projections.  As she looped together vocals and various instruments, powder and liquid bounced in the background, creating a visual representation of the sound. At first, I wasn’t sure it was in time, but slowly realised that it was merely my brain not connecting sound and image together as one.

Swelling in size and filling the room, the audience had to move forward during the first song, shuffling tables and stools closer to the stage These eager participants were able to enjoy popular songs such as “The Devil Draws in Crayola” as well as her newest tracks, available on her Christmas EP, “Coventry Carol” and “Yule Cat”, about a spritely animal who’ll gobble you up if you don’t buy the children new garments for Christmas. Sadly, those stood further back were less interested in these strange and traditional tales, loudly discussing their own. It could so easily have put everyone off, but instead performers and audience members alike ignored anything which wasn’t on the bill.

The final song of her set, “The Siren” was perfectly matched with what appeared to be a visual display of water reacting to the bass beat.

Copenhagen
Copenhagen

For Copenhagen, there were no visuals. Instead, creating an auditory demonstration of thumping tunes. Copenhagen are not the most energetic of performers. This is usually something which puts me off a live band, but it fit well with the busy Adelphi and the focus from the musicians ensured that the music was of the highest quality. They performed seven songs, all of which had the audience enthused and actively – at the very least – tapping their feet.

Halfway through the set, lead singer Kurt Gurnell announced that they were “going to wind things up a bit”, and they certainly did. Not ones to tease, all four instruments were thrown back into life, quickly adding vocals to create their heavy rock sound; guitar lead but with a punchy bass beat from the drums.

Following Copenhagen, the stage was quickly transformed, with all instruments and much of the sound equipment stripped away. I’d never seen the Adelphi stage look so big, as James Orvis stood behind his mixing desk and Zach Walker pulled his apparatus forward. No longer masked behind the stack of speakers, people eagerly discussed the science behind his artwork.

Central to the stage, Alice (the other half of Paris XY) was framed by the visual projection. I saw now why it wouldn’t have worked as spectacularly for Copenhagen, as she cast a silhouette into the circle of light.

Alice - Paris XY
Alice – Paris XY

The experience of a Paris XY performance is difficult enough to explain: a tantalising mixture of electronic sounds with the haunting harmony of Alice’s voice and her entrancing movements on stage. So, add in that extra layer of visual stimulus, and the dimensions of your response are multiplied.

Whatever the sixth sense is, I think I felt it during their third track. Alice seemed almost entranced by their music, captivating the audience as she moves in her own liquid formation. In the background, lights bounced, flickering like spits of lava in oranges and deep blues, further emblazoned as the smoke machine sent a grey cloud rippling to the back of the room.

Zach Walker and his cymatic projection behind Paris XY
Zach Walker and his cymatic projection behind Paris XY

Dressed all in black, with the darkness of the room, and the focus of the lights on the projection, songs such as their new single ‘Wytching Hour’ became even more haunting, eerily beautiful and electrifying. At one point a green robotic figure appears behind the stage, seeming to dance with the ethereal spectre of Alice’s shadow. What were probably the simplest elements of the set-up were made to feel complex, while those which were more complicated seemed to work so simplistically. All together, the experience was, as promised, a feast for the senses. Use of less condense matter, liquids rather than solids, were used to capture the sound of the faster songs, rippling across the screen as the sound ripped into your soul, flowing through your veins.

With such a succession of sound, the ending seemed too sudden. Even Paul Jackson was screaming for more, and so they played for another several minutes until hands of the clock signalled the witching hour itself.

Advertisements

TONIGHT: Awayke event

AWAYKE presents Paris XY / Copenhagen / Dyr Sister / Zach Walker

AWAYKE poster

Awaken your senses at The New Adelphi Club on Saturday, 13th December. Alongside the tantalising sounds of Paris XY, Copenhagen and Dyr Sister, you will be treated to Cynamatic Projections from Zach Walker. A feast for the ears and eyes: music, arts and crafted electric vibes.

Paris XY are a duo made up of Alice Smith and James Orvis. With dark poetic lyrics and a sound influenced by Joy Division, Radiohead, Trentemøller and The Knife, they have developed a unique sound which pushes the boundaries of electronic music.

Their recently released single, Wytching Hour, is a disturbing depiction of the everyday man, which sets the listener on a journey to discover truth in the dark view of modern society.

Copenhagen took their name from the road in which they rehearse, in the centre of an industrial estate in Hull. The band consists of Kurt Gurnell, Gareth Mills, Stuart Bichanan and Owen Garbutt. With influences from early to mid-period Verve and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, blended with contemporary The Horrors, these guys produce anthems of melodious, psychedelic rock.

The Dyr Sister on the cover of Browse Magazine
The Dyr Sister on the cover of Browse Magazine

The Dyr Sister is a one-woman band consisting of Sally Currie. Writing and performing her music entirely live, she blends the sounds of her melodic vocals, classical instruments and whatever she pulls from her treasure chest into a delight for the ears. Mixing influences from folk, jungle and dubstep, she refuses to let a genre define her.

Zach Walker creates live visual performances using original filmed content that he mixes with the live Organic Electronics technique. From Seattle, he lived and studied in Hull for a number of years before moving to London to hone his craft through visual art. He’s spent years lighting up festivals and events, such as Glastonbury, producing a projected video installation piece on the outside of the MSRI building, and another piece which premiered in the fine art setting forming a significant part of the recent Reeps One ADO Exhibition, as featured on the BBC London News.

Recently, he has established Make.AMPLIFY with award-winning dance artist Jennifer Irons. Using a mixture of art, movement and innovative digital technology, they reveal all that is hidden, ignored, discarded and forgotten, inspiring people and creating meaningful experiences for their many audiences.

This event promises to amaze, delight and inspire, offering more than your Saturday night. Doors open at 8pm. Tickets are £6 otd.

Preview originally written for Browse Magazine

Folk, as defined by the folk of Hull

Last weekend saw the second annual festival dedicated to Hull Folk music, following the various strands of the genre from traditional to contemporary.

With the concept of “give Folk a chance” it embodies Hull’s need to be recognised, in the same way that Folk music is no longer branded as a single genre. An event which has not been as hyped-up as those which sandwich it, Hull Folk Festival offered something different, with a range of musicians as well as over 50 Morris Dancers and fringe events which include “Survivor Sessions”.

And so I had to ask, what is Folk? A representative from organisers Sowden & Sowden said there were 6 strands, but gave no further details than “traditional” and “contemporary”. The only people to ask: the folk of Hull.

Questioning people who attended the main stage, based at the Minerva pub, members of the general public about their business in the city centre and a collection of my own friends, there seemed a clear inability to put the genre of music into simple words. It is not that Folk music is fractured in any way, but that many found it difficult to refer to as a form of music or as defined by any era of time in the way we can categorise other genres.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

UK-touring Folk act, The Hut People commented during their set that “when you think of Folk Music and a popular tune, you think of Morris Dancing” and requested the audience to get their “hankies at the ready”. Yet, even this could not be defined with a singular expectation. Several Morris Dance groups were showing off their skills alongside the marina, dressed in a range of costumes. From traditional peasantry attire to leather corsets, you could see from the different dynamics of Yorkshire’s Morris Dancers that there are no rules on maintaining all the customs associated with the Folk dance. There was certainly a modern feel to what can only described as a Morris Dance-Off with performances based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and comments from the crowd such as “I’ve never seen Morris dancers with blacked-out faces before” – this referring to Hull-based Rackaback Morris, who wear their black, purple and green colours throughout their outfit.

The age-range of Folk fans too is cross-generational. Starting at midday on Saturday with a 100-deep audience stretching three generations, I asked various people what Folk truly meant to them. The consensus was that of two ideas, though nobody could offer a pure definition.

It certainly seems that Folk is a genre broader than music; that you cannot place it in one hat. And still Folk as a genre is undefinable, and more an experience. One couple who had planned to attend the festival admitted that they never listened to the music in their home and that “if there was a building offering folk dance [they] wouldn’t go in”. Yet, “when it’s like this … scattered” they thoroughly enjoy it, arranging their weekend around the event.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This tied in with the view of a mother and daughter who both described themselves as having grown up with Folk music, and said that it is important in maintaining heritage. They explained that to them Folk music is the telling of stories and keeping history relevant. Two performers in the festival echoed this, with Sally Currie (stage name The Dyr Sister) stating that “Folk is quite broad nowadays … for me Folk is like storytelling” and Lyn Acton agreeing and adding that this was dependent on where in the world the story was being told as to what genre it matched musically.

And so I find that the notion of Folk is constantly changing and indifferent to place and time. Folk music and dance both tell a story, but can be adapted to ensure that it is entirely applicable to its audience.

Hull at one time was the third-largest fishing port in the UK, and the people of Hull are proud of this heritage. Simply holding the festival at the marina and displaying the docking of the ships brought this home.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor me, Folk has always been about remembering the past and sharing your experiences. Whether this is sea shanties which remind me of those family members who served as fishermen or songs about completing a 1000-piece jigsaw, Folk is about sharing your experiences with a wider audience and finding that common ground. Folk is about holding onto the past while you sail into future horizons.

Bands such as The Hillbilly Troupe, local favourites, define true Folk. They not only headlined the Folk Festival but also closed as headliners at Freedom the week prior. And the next big music festival in Hull features them too. With former Paddington’s Lloyd Dobbs there is an indie-punk element to their music, and – again crossing generations with the introduction of young Victor on flute – an eclectic mix of instruments.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is Folk?

Folk is everything and almost anything.

Folk is the past. Folk is the present. Folk will exist in the future.

Folk is storytelling, the passing of knowledge and understanding from one generation to the next. It is a chance to be something collective and the possibility of sharing yourself with the world. As Hull is becoming a bigger piece of the jigsaw that is the world of culture, Folk is at the heart of Hull.

Article was originally written for Yorkshire Gig Guide.