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Cate Le Bon is a keystone, using the weight of her influences to steady a house that is entirely her own making. Whether producing others or at the helm of her own maxi-minimal deconstructionist music, her method remains the same as it ever was: take it apart, find the stone that sings, build it back from the top down.
Cate is currently working on her fifth studio album and recently found a perfect new home for her compositions with American visionaries Mexican Summer (Ariel Pink, Jessica Pratt, Connan Mockasin). 2018 saw the second release of her weirdo-automatic-folk-ballad-krautrock side project, Drinks, with long time partner in rhyme Tim Presley (White Fence) to much critical acclaim.
In April of this year she traveled to Marfa, Tx to work on a collaboration with Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox during the prestigious Marfa Myths Festival. This musical kinship and mutual admiration for one another led to Cox to ask her to produce their new album. It’s beginning to feel like the Welsh writer’s creative threads are truly coming together. No other musician sounds like this and no one puts heart into concrete like Cate Le Bon. For fans of architecture, night flights and the sea.
Contemporary Music Programmer, Jacob Silkin explained: ‘When we started assembling our wish lists for Venus Unwrapped, Cate Le Bon was right up at the top of mine. Uncategorisable and fearless in her creative direction, she’s what this season is about and I’m delighted to have such a singular artist open it. This will be a rare opportunity to hear stripped back variations of her songs in the sublime acoustics of our main hall. I can’t wait!’
Support comes from Group Listening, a new project by Stephen Black and Paul Jones. Having met at Music College, Stephen and Paul initially went separate ways creatively. Stephen delved into pop, recording albums and touring extensively under the guise of Sweet Baboo, while working with Cate Le Bon, H. Hawkline and others. Paul leaned into the piano, pursuing a career as a jazz pianist and experimental musician. He played with Keith Tippett, formed the Jones O’Connor group, performed with noise improv bands and composed orchestral and chamber music. Reconnecting years later, the pair discovered that their music tastes, bizarrely, met in the middle; they have a shared love of The Beach Boys, Ghost Box Records, Messiaen and Angela Morley.
Clarinet & Piano: Selected Works Vol.1 is the spontaneous, beguiling culmination of this friendship. Cutting out post-production and keeping overdubs to a bare minimum, the pair passed their clarinet and piano through guitar stomp boxes and other analogue effects to enable processing and manipulation directly in performance. The result hums with the ghostly energy of sound pioneers Joe Meek and Martin Hannett, while mbira and drum machines are sparingly deployed amid enveloping folds of space echo.
‘Exquisite neo-classical work’ Electronic Sound
‘These are the artists and artworks the world needs….they have produced something golden’ Louder Than War
‘Canonical ambient works sublimely re-arranged’ ★★★★ MOJO