"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Monday, 20 October 2014

St Cyrus & Juliette

Anyone who's heard his immense Live at the Exchange, Cornwall - one of the highlights of the Touch Radio series (#93, trainspotters...) - needs no persuading about Robert Curgenven's powers at the pipe organ. 

Even so, it's hard to keep the jaw undropped at the flaunting of those powers on the recent SIRENE (on his own Recorded Fields). Curgenven, a Cornish re-immigrant from Australia with organ scholarship seemingly on his complex CV too, welds his field recording & duplate sonics on to gripping workouts at this improbable, highly site-specific instrument ("16-foot pipe organs recorded in Cornwall at the churches of St Paul (Ludgvan), St Winnow (Towednack), St Uny (Lelant), St Wyllow (Lanteglos), St Cyrus & Juliette (St Veep). Unprocessed pipe organ recordings, equalisation only")

The result is as tempestuous as its rich back story (The Tempest & late Turner) & sea-pounded Cornish setting implies. Curgenven as a new Prospero? Certainly there are spell-binding moments here, both ones of gathering, swelling force & others of beautiful becalmed resolution after the storm...

Robert Curgenven - Ressuscitant de l'étreinte de la Sirène from The Wire Magazine on Vimeo.

The first part of SIRENE (Ressuscitant de l'étreinte de la Sirène) is reworked from a section of a second new self-release. They tore the earth and, like a scar, it swallowed them comes with a very different back story: it "traverses the historical dynamics of the settler colonial trope through the eyes not of the invaded but of the invaders to a harsh, remote land...a very physical negotiation of territories voided by history".

Finally, a recommended live date: Curgenven heads the Ologies' latest Winchester weigh-in, Dendrology, on November 1. 

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