Give Me A: BLT N(ow)
BLT N= Better Late Than…Never [sigh] Late Posting & A Late-ish Night
An excited friend of mine was awaiting all the various artists arriving for “Synthetic” at The Cavendish Arms, Stockwell. Why was he excited? It was ‘his’ night so to speak & when something you just love doing comes your way you have to appreciate the chance you’ve been given.
To explain a bit about Synthetic. For between a year and two, this maestro held such a night once a month, a night which would include up-&-coming, lesser-known and well-known performers in the music world. This was not just any music though but electronic based and when I say well-known this means across the music spectrum in general or in their ‘electro-niche’. This electro or electronic theme could range from upbeat, poppy, dance-infused, solo (‘a one-man keyboard-come-laptop-band’ per say), ambient, analogue, digital, you name it.
Now, before you form an opinion – err on the fact that I have formed an opinion – or a biased point of view as this is my friend’s ‘night’ I can assure you that this is not so much about the night itself but the acts performing.
“Back for one night only” the Synthetic flyer read. As such, it was a kind of “best of” Synthetic where the best electronic talents had been gathered to show their musical wares.
The Vanity Clause
I described them on Twitter by this: “‘A’ keyboard? More like Almost An Array of Analogues” and who could disagree. A duo, him with a nice mini-collection of analogues, and therefore tweaking constantly & her with a mini-collection of lungs [musical-wise, I mean…for any dirty minded souls out there]. Her voice is just amazing.
Analogues are renowned for the bleeps and blips – they remind me of Vince Clarke and his sounds.
Although I got a couple of shots of them performing their great pop ditties I seemed to miss capturing the singer as she swept out both her arms – this gave her ‘wings’ partly thanks to the great top she was wearing.
Already partway through this first musical act I could tell that sound had been mastered very well ahead of this evening. The synths & vocals seemed pretty much spot-on.
Check these guys out on either of the below:
Again, a duo. The electro-bass-player plucked the bass beats away to the perfectly accompanying background electronics.
EllaNora, the singer belted out her strong voice on their dance-pop tracks, adding her dramatic facial expressions to the lyrics.
I’ve seen these guys before and it was the usual (but un-tired) mix of popping beats and vocals. Their latest, a track called “Travelling” sounded like it could easily be a commercially available dance hit. You could imagine this at a party on the beach or even in the background in such a sandy location. Imagine a beach bar if you can.
Other tracks included “Are You Ready?” – I thought this tune is reminiscent of Billy Ray Martin and her early solo work [Check out her “Deadline For My Memories” album for a piece of beauty].
EllaNora has a reputation for the usage of glitter and usually during I’ve Had Enough – I had lost track of time and perhaps I was on Twitter at the time so missed most of her glitterings!
If this evening had been only allowed one artist, it has got to be Lettie. (Apologies Roger O’Donnell, Elettronora etc). Lettie is exquisiteness & sheer brilliance…‘Exquisiance’ perhaps!
Many people have have had the privilege of hearing Lettie – or at least they should have done. I believe she has featured on BBC 6 Music, BBC Electric Proms and other arenas. Of course, I don’t mean arenas as in Wembley but in various musical fields. Fields? An apt time to mention that she performed on one of the many stages at Glastonbury 2010 and although I was there I missed that performance.
You see, the thing with Lettie is that you don’t even have to have heard her music – but of course, I wholeheartedly recommend you do – because to witness her alone, live, with nothing but her timing and brains.
Lettie stepped on to The Cavendish Arms “The Ballroom”s stage and got behind the large keyboard, large against her small frame. She announced rather shy and nervously, but strangely confident too that this set would be pretty stressful. Why? Without the band who occasionally accompanies her, I understand, she would be proceeding to play all parts to the songs themselves. No backing track, no digital tracks just pure analogue & attention to detail.
Lettie began, feet tapping on necessary keys, whilst she began the start-up beat and continued into the next segway of the tune. Next, she would be recording the vocals required to accompany her main vocals, ‘echo-mic’ included!
This track could be nonsense (but melodic) but because of the hectic goings-on of this one girl you are hypnotised by witnessing this art. The crowd are held, speechless every time Lettie plays in this way.
I recall Lettie from a year or two on occasions and I essentially remembered her with a Casio, keyboard and switching between them, but tonight was something very different. Either that, or my memory is much more jaded than I thought.
(and yes, Lettie I’m sure I could have added more links but I think the above is quite enough, don’t you?! 😉
[Incidentally, I wanted to post the longer, better video but I was limited to upload size]
… Errr *
An Ambient, Anti-dote to all other upbeat Artists tonight. This is what people had been waiting for.
Forget “The Cure” or “The Pyschedelic Furs” (his previous co-incarnations), this is the present Mr O’Donnell who has gained much reverence with his music sounds.
Two Moog keyboards and a MacBook Pro in between them, Roger spoke briefly to state the fact that he had written a four-piece musical piece for this night. An exclusive, to say the least! He also disclosed to this gathering that one of these four pieces would feature Lettie on vocals – I did wonder, as they are acquaintances in the field of music.
The melodies began. Everyone attentive. This was not about ‘rocking-out’ but about taking in the music and using our imaginations to picture a visual in a minds. Also, a time to reflect perhaps.
I had seen Roger play before but had to leave partway for one reason or another and I recall that tiredness had played its part, perhaps due to drink and a long day. This time, no drink – just full-sensory attention.
These tracks, being ambient were of length enough to build such an image and hold it in our minds or to put the world’s problems – whatever may feel pressing on our shoulders – to one side for 8 or 10 minutes. These four musical pieces were entitled: Trees; Flower; Earth; Sky with Trees. They compliment one another as part of a mini-compilation Roger has named “Live Flattened Shadows”. Note: These exclusively-written-for-Synthetic gems can be found on SoundCloud.
When Lettie joined Roger with her own unique vocals it was, of course beautiful. There was a teething problem sound-wise but this was soon remedied.
Added to this, Roger’s usage of an iPhone along with his already existing technological set-up, it gave the whole performance an even further uniqueness – I was glad to have witnessed this.
The evening had been near perfection. It was now late. Next up? Home…
Andy Oppenheimer: I’m not heartless enough to leave out any artist from this night of ‘a few’ stars, so here is my thoughts on Andy Opp’s performance.
Considering he is better known as “an independent UK-based defence analyst, specialising in CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear weapons and explosives) and counterterrorism” I will give him his due.
In fact, since beginning this review I found out a small amount about Mr Oppenheimer which has perhaps removed some of the wincing I experienced on the night. My statement above, soley “Errr” was in response to my feelings at the time. And due to my mixed-emotions of his performance & my naivety regarding what Mr Oppenheimer stands for, I thought I’d keep this as more of a footnote, albeit perhaps longer than the rest of the review itself!
Anyway, was Mr O known as an activist? Was he known as a popstar? Well, I’ve included the two very different websites, and therefore subject matters as links below…so that you may read up on this as you feel.
I will add though – and as with most of my reviews – I put much thought into the layout and content of such articles…and so even debated as to which link to put first and therefore which to follow…(?) Do I put the link for his original band first…? …seeing as this is a music review plus its about his performance, really… Or do I put the link to the important issue first? Well, you will see my decision from the final ‘running order’ of the links. Believe me, its like a set-list decision and it doesn’t help that I’m indecisive – as I’m sure my friends would vouch.
[Never mind the Analogue – this was turning into one of Ronnie Corbett’s Monologues! …I’ll step out of that chair now].
Right, Mr Oppenheimer’s performance:
It had been a while since he had performed.
This was his first solo performance anywhere, ever.
Miming / lip-syncing, at least to the chorus.
Dancing like Alan Partridge – though this is a matter of taste, and perhaps my vivid imagination.*
*And so perhaps is the wincing I felt due to him being dressed in war-clothing.
Liberating, it may have been; Liberal, I’m trying to be here.
Diploma, the music won’t receive; Diplomatic, I try to be.
That is all.
P.S. I’ll leave you with this: