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Chairmen Of The Board - Luminaire, London, 9/2/2006

  by Dominic B. Simpson

published: 22 / 3 / 2006

Chairmen Of The Board - Luminaire, London, 9/2/2006


One of the great guitar masters, Jack Rose experiments in both haunting Indian raga-style workouts and Appalachian mountain folk music. Dominic Simpson is spellbound by his performance at the Luminaire in London

The Luminaire is a beautiful venue indeed – bathed and blue and red, this 250-capacity haunt in Kilburn has seen some wonderful acts pass through it’s doors since it opened last year, with some lovely décor surrounding the audience as they watch the bands play in a raised section of the room. If there’s one problem, it’s that there is a wall surrounding much of the raised section where the stage is leads to sightline problems, but a large screen has been set up to compensate for those packed gigs where stage sightings are difficult, a facet of the Luminaire’s commitment to quality that sadly hasn’t been repeated with most other venues in London. With it’s commitment to high standard bookings and a friendly vibe, it’s been one of the best new places to London to see music, and the music can often be of an experimental bent, particularly when the venue is in partnership with top notch promoters Upset The Rhythm – as befits tonight’s opening act, Yellow Swans, a duo who play incredibly loud industrial noise style work outs, punctuated by the occasional scream from one of them. Onstage is an endless spool of analogue electronics, processors, effects, sandpaper machines, and other musical detrius, from which they manage to coax a sonic detrius of industrial noise that brings to mind Wolf Eyes, Throbbing Gristle, Einsturzende Neubauten, Swans (if they’d embraced industrial noise) and Japanese mindfuck artists like the Boredoms and Merzbow. This truly is the soundtrack to industrial modern society, an inferno of brutal noise. So it comes as something of a relief when Chris Corsano steps up on his own, a solo drummer belting out amazing polyrythmic patterns. This New England-based one-man powerhouse has collaborated with the likes of the Sunburned Hand of the Man, long-serving minamalist composer/musician Tony Conrad, and Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and Jim O’Rourke, as well as tonight’s headliner Jack Rose. His most recent work has seem him alongside free jazz/improv saxophonist Paul Flaherty, a collaboration that’s produced some punishingly heavy results with albums such as 'The Hated Music'. Tonight, he’s on his own, and produces some extraordinary jazz-related patterns, including simultaneously blowing through a woodwind reed while pummelling away at a drumbeat. His deft touch in weaving different percussive patterns together makes him have more presence than many other bands manage with a whole line-up, yet unlike the solo outing of similar one-man band on drums Charles Hayward (of post-punk legends This Heat), his kit isn’t connected up to samples or a mixer that enables electronically processed sounds over the top; unlike Hayward, he doesn’t sing either, which makes the trance-like drum patterns all the more fragile sounding. Inevitably, some sections of the audience become fidgety. Jack Rose can be fragile sounding too, but in soothing waves of cascading drone riffs, his set dominated by some beautiful tumbling guitar lines. A member of experimental psyche folkers Pelt, he’s explored both with that band and solo modal-style guitar drones that take in India raga-style 10-minute workouts (one of his albums is called 'Raag Manifestos') and Appalachian mountain folk music. With his guitar in an alternative tuning that accentuates the echo and modal qualities of the plucked string – a tuning that enables the playing to be neither major or minor in scale – Rose’s set is entrancing, as he holds the audience spellbind with beautiful waves of guitar that take in Middle Eastern motifs and more established blues riffs the next, yet which never have the feeling of dilettantism. Instead, it all welds into a seamless hole that feels completely natural despite it’s disparate strands. Although instrumental, there’s an adventurous, pioneering, almost romantic feel to this music, as if this is music transposed from some misty mountain, with a real frontier feel. His music owns a debt to the late American guitar legend John Fahey, whose own experiments with tunings and drones, alongside a backdrop of folk and blues guitar, became an influence on everyone from Sonic Youth to Six Organs of Admittance (Fahey also collaborated with atmospheric post-rock outfit Cul de Sac, a band who also combined folk, psychedelia and drone raga workouts in a similar way to Pelt and Rose, and whose leader Glenn Jones has guested on Rose’s records). Near the end of the set, the guitar is laid on a table and Rose plays it, standing up, with metallic bands on his fingers, spinning intricate spiderwebs of melodies on 'Cross the North Fork' from the 'Kensington Blues' album; standing to the left of the stage, I close my eyes and take in the wash of echoing guitar strands. I could listen to this stuff for hours, such is its beautiful hypnotic quality.

Picture Gallery:-
Chairmen Of The Board - Luminaire, London, 9/2/2006

Chairmen Of The Board - Luminaire, London, 9/2/2006

Chairmen Of The Board - Luminaire, London, 9/2/2006

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