Sunday, 19 October 2008

Mondo Mancunia: Three Readings and Two Performances in Four Days

The Ken Hollings Corporation is delighted to announce that ‘Mondo Mancuncia’, the four-day event curated by Graham Massey at the Shunt Vault is now happening between November 19 and 22, having been cancelled last month due to health and safety reasons. Miraculously the original schedule has managed to survive with most of the listings unchanged.

I’ll be delivering the funeral oration ‘Ego in Exotica Sum: In Memoriam Martin Denny 1911-2005’ on Wednesday November 19; narrating ‘Dr X: A Version of Events’ plus reading extracts from ‘Welcome To Mars’ with a soundtrack of electronic tonalities performed by Mark Pilkington, Simon James and Bruce Woolley on Thursday November 20. Then on Friday November 21 and Saturday November 22, I will be performing with the original line-up of Biting Tongues.

Here’s the programme in full – please note that some events are taking place in different areas of the Shunt Vault complex, which explains some of the more eccentric timetabling in the listings below:

November 19
8.00 pm EGO IN EXOTICA SUM: In Memoriam Martin Denny 1911- 2005
Spoken word/audiovisual piece written by Ken Hollings and Graham Massey in 2005: Martin Denny’s 1950 s ‘Exotica’ combo recreated by members of Toolshed: ‘We rob ourselves of paradise by our very presence there: to see it with our own eyes is to see it vanish before our eyes.’ The text of the oration is reproduced in full in Strange Attractor Journal III.

9.00pm SEAMING
Music written and performed by Seaming To, an electronica artist, songwriter and classically trained vocalist. Known as the vocalist with Manchester acts Homelife and Toolshed and guest on several recent albums by Liela, Robert Wyatt, Herbaliser and Mr Scruff, tonight Seaming To is performing many new songs with her new band.

10.00 pm TOOLSHED
Formed accidentally as a ‘house’ band in Manchester’s Northern Quarter club scene, Toolshed was the name of Graham Massey’s monthly club night. Electronica acts such as Autechre, Mathew Herbert, Squarepusher and Kieren Hebden all came to play live sets. The Toolshed Allstars monthly sets grew from two people to a 28-piece orchestra at one point. Centred around Massey’s laptop and instrument collection, established MCR musicians such as Paddy Steer (Homelife),Richard Harrison (Spaceheads) and jazz violinist Graham Clark (Gong) were joined by newcomers such as vocalist Seaming To and drummer James Ford .

DJ for the evening will be The Simonsound

November 208.00pm
DR X: A Version of Events
Spoken word with video and live electro-acoustic soundtrack. Filmed nearly 70 years ago in a revolutionary new two-colour separation process, the Hollywood thriller ‘Doctor X’ is a largely neglected film these days. Its title, however, has entered popular culture as a cipher for everything mysterious, secret and strange. Writer Ken Hollings, in collaboration with composer Graham Massey and filmmaker Howard Walmsley, uses mythically enlarged recollections of the original film to create retrofitted images of a totalitarian futuristic New York in which AC electricity is banned and ‘radio psychics’ are used in the detection of crimes. Examining electricity, crime, scientific inquiry and pathological behaviour, Dr X was originally commissioned for the Royal Institution event ‘Electra: Electricity Culture’ in 2004. This is a new expanded version has been created especially for Mondo Mancunia. For a preview clip, click here.

Ken Hollings reads extracts from his new book ‘Welcome To Mars', published by Strange Attractor Press, to an accompaniment of contemporary footage from the Prelinger Archives, plus live electronic tonalities performed by Mark Pilkington, Simon James and Bruce Woolley. This is an expanded version of the show I performed last month at the Other Cinema in San Francisco.

10.00 pm TOOLSHED
The second half of the Toolshed residency: not a repeat performance of Wednesday night as a different line up will be in place.

DJ s this evening are Resonance FM’s Kosmische DJs

November 21
Long running duo of Richard Harrison (drums) and Andy Diagram (electric trumpet and electronics). TRICLOPS.
Lotta Continua ‘super group’ comprising three of the label’s artists in a car-boot sale electronic orchestra.

Homelife duo Paddy Steer and Anton Burns have now amassed a sizable back catalogue of releases under the moniker Homelife. It’s almost a home recording experiment that grew into an orchestra, gathering in some of MCR’s finest musicians, one by one, to create the work with hand-carved care. Then with equal attention to detail to recreate the music and take it on tour: a labour of love which continued for several years. Now a duo, Anton’s song-writing has come to the fore, nicely balanced by the DIY approach to the instrumentation that keeps it more akin to outsider music than traditional song forms.

Emerging out of the dark days of post-punk Manchester, Biting Tongues represented an uncompromising attempt to blend electronics, text and dance beats to harsh and overwhelming effect. Renowned for their unique high-energy performances and experimental video projects, the band’s original line-up featured writer Ken Hollings on vocals, multi-instrumentalist Graham Massey, filmmaker and saxophonist Howard Walmsley working together over the fiendish rhythm engine made up of Colin Seddon on bass and Eddie Sherwood on drums. In close collaboration with premier Manchester labels New Hormones and Factory Records, Biting Tongues recorded a series of album EP and 12 releases as well as ‘Feverhouse’, their ambitious independent film project released on video by Factory Ikon.

In 2003 the original Biting Tongues reformed to perform selected shows at the ICA and Islington Mills, with Hollings, Massey and Walmsley working together on new audiovisual presentations such as ‘Dr X’ at the Royal Institution in London as well ‘Ego In Exotica’ and the ‘Lonely Creatures’ series of short films at the Green Room Theatre in Manchester. With their back catalogue available on CD, the band is currently enjoying some long overdue credit for their innovative pre-digital slicing and dicing of sound, text and vision. ‘Effortless ferocity,’ The Wire remarked of Biting Tongues’ return to live performance, ‘as exhilarating and as urgent as ever.’

DJs for this evening Resonance FM’s Kosmiche crew and Kelvin Brown + Special After-show Performance featuring GRAHAM CLARK and GRAHAM MASSEY. Graham Clark is one of the UK s leading improvising violinist. Combining Massey’s electronic landscape with Clark’s virtuoso playing, the duo has been performing together off and on since 1977 most recently at a sell-out show at the Manchester Jazz Festival.

November 22
8.00 pm MAYMING
Featuring Semay Wu on cello and electronics and Seaming To on vocals and electronics. The line between improvisation and lost songs from a past world blurs whenever this duo start up their magic.

(See yesterday’s entry)

Fresh on the heels of their first single release ‘The Don’ the SOT are the UK’s premier Ladies Combo Organ Quartet. Born from an eBay addiction to vintage Italian transistor organs, a hybrid form of prog-disco has been developed, while trying to fit function to the form. Described by Angry Ape as ‘Giorgio Moroder’s daughters running rampage with sequins and sequencers through a Dario Argento movie’, the Sisters of Transistors are the ultimate Dark Party Band.

One final information explosion – hear everything in every dimension. Nothing will ever be the same again. Ever.

DJ s for the night Liela Arab and Kelvin Brown

Doors Wed & Thurs 6pm-11pm, Fri 6pm-12midnight, Sat 8pm-12 midnight,once inside bar open ‘til lateEntry fee £5 Wed & Thurs, £10 Fri & SatEntrance on Joiner St inside London Bridge Tube Station.
For more details on this unique event click here or here.
Top image: Ken Hollings, Graham Massey and members of Toolshed perform 'Ego In Exotica Sum' at the Green Room Theatre June 2005.

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