Late last year, Keith Moliné and I had an idea whilst having a pint and staring at a circle of chairs. What if we created an improvised and completely unplanned performance between a number of players sitting in a circle with all their equipment in the middle? It might be terrible. But it could be amazing. So, we did it in January at The Harrison in Kings Cross.
The players were Frank Byng (drums), Kavus Torabi (guitar), Merlin Nova (synth and vocals), Farz (synth and samplers), Keith Moliné (guitar and effects) and me (bassoon, voice, effects, tapes and radio).
The premise of the 'game' is that the players are assigned as a-f and each play solo for 5 minutes and improvise with the player both before and after them in the randomly drawn order. so, a played for 5 minutes, b joined them for 5 minutes, a dropped out while b played on their own for 5 minutes before c joined them et cetera. This part took an hour and then there was a shorter, full group, improvisation after a break.
Weirdly, it worked. The interplay between musicians who had never performed together in this situation and this happening with no conversation or 'plan' before hand was quite special and there was certainly a feeling of something very new occurring. Very small segments of part one were recorded onto tape and then reused in part two - these segments will continue to be used in different ways in future overlaps to allow each performance to overlap with the others, regardless of time, space or players.
There are details in the planning that need to be ironed out for future performances but we definitely plan to arrange some more of them.