ULRICH SCHNAUSS + JOHANNA BRAMLI – ST. LUKE’S CHURCH, BRIGHTON 22.03.19
I have to say that this concert was always going to be a memorable one as I have been attending concerts continually since 1978 and I have never been to a musical performance at Brighton’s St. Luke’s Church before. The imposing building occupies a large corner site on Queen’s Park Road and it was designed in the 1880’s by Sir Arthur Blomfield in the Early English style. It has been given listed building status because of its architectural importance.
Sadly, I was not at that concert as I was attending a concert by the wonderful AK/DK in Worthing and then on the same night I whizzed to the Green Door Store to catch a fab performance by Autobahn as they were hosting a gig after the Ulrich Schnauss one had finished. You can read the AK/DK gig report HERE and the Autobahn report HERE.
By some strange coincidence, the wife of one of the AK/DK band members was support tonight at St. Luke’s, her name is Johanna Bramli. Now this is one very versatile lady as she is not only a solo artist, but a founding member of Brighton synthpop band Fröst along with Steve Lewis. Note the “o” with the two dots above it, as in one of the 29 letters of the Swedish alphabet. I saw them play a storming set up at the Prince Albert last December, read the review HERE.
Not content with those two music projects, mother of two Johanna has also co-founded MAMI with Bee Adamic @mamabossgirl. This is stands for ‘Mamas Across Music Initiative’, and the ethos is to bring creative mums working in music together to support and empower each other. They are running a MAMI panel free event as part of @wespringforward on Wednesday 27th March from 6pm to 9pm at 68 Middle Street, Brighton. It is free entry but tickets must be obtained prior to the event – see the flyer at the foot of this review.
This evening French-Swedish musician, composer and sound artist Johanna was to perform her first solo concert of the year, which was an absorbing thirty minute set of out there experimental music that would do Delia Derbyshire and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop proud.
Johanna blends found sounds, drones, DIY noise devices, and harmonised vocals to create melodic, dreamy yet haunting soundscapes. She uses textural sounds with a melodic sensibility that sets the scene for a cinematic experience. She is interested in exploring the gap between experimental noise and pop. In her solo work, she attempts to bring elements of melodic and pop structures to experimental sounds and textures. Her debut 5-track EP ‘Spirals’ was released last year on Little Miss Echo – listen to or purchase it on her Bandcamp page HERE.
I found it fascinating watching Johanna at work as she tapped her fingers on this sound box and pulled on a wire to make varying electronic noises, whilst also moving a small block in her hand up and down another longer block. Her vocals were of different pitches too. All of this was accompanied by a film on the large white board behind her. The lovely lady called Gemma who came and sat next to me on the church bench, also found it highly fascinating.
Catch Johanna live in Brighton next at The Rose Hill on 2nd May, details HERE.
More information can be found on Johanna by visiting her website www.johannabramli.com
It was now time to witness an awe inspiring visual and aural masterclass entitled ‘Now Is A Timeless Present’, from Ulrich Schnauss (who incidentally was born in 1977 in Kiel, Germany) and his companion Nat Urazmetova. ‘Now Is A Timeless Present’ is a career-spanning retrospective encompassing key works from Ulrich’s past two decades.
Nat is a seriously cool looking Russian professional visual artist who graduated with a BA (Hons) in Photography from London College of Communication in 2009. Basically she was in charge of all the visual imagery for this and the four other concert dates on the tour (Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow).
Tonight she was controlling the ever changing visuals from her laptop located at the front of the church opposite Ulrich. She had created the visuals called Crosspoint in response to Schnauss soundscapes. These visuals consist of an array of swirling lurid colours, sometimes cold and bluish or sometimes shades of deep red. There were also various urban and space scenes which were tailored to the mood of the music that Schnauss was playing.
This evening us lucky parishioners were to witness the German electronic composers selection of his fundamental music from his back catalogue, much of which has not been performed live before!
I thought that I had an educated guess as to what the Schnauss sound was going to be as he is a current member of the legendary Tangerine Dream band and thus ambient downtempo electronic music would be the order of the day.
I was slightly wrong on this point, as it is not only comparable to the floatiness of Tangerine Dream, but his haunting crystal clear instrumental rhythms were also flagging up well into the (dance) territory of the likes Orbital, Jam & Spoon, Sven Vath, Sigur Rós, Jean-Michel Jarre, Quench and Enigma. It was comparable to a free flowing DJ set, but with added the knob twiddling and mouse clicking to boot.
The whole experience meant something to all of the fortunate 200 gathered, whether they sat stationary on the benches with their eyes shut absorbing the swirling electronic noises as the notes rang out around this magnificent building, or whether they were dancing in the outer aisles, as if at an illegal 1988 rave in some hidden wood.
This was as I implied at the beginning of this article going to be a memorable evening and I sure wasn’t wrong. Every time I will drive past St Luke’s Church in the future, it will remind me of tonight’s special event, when my senses went into overload on witnessing the ambience and acoustics of the building, the stimulating music and having met Gemma.
You can find more info on Schnauss here: www.ulrich-schnauss.com
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