Thursday, September 2, 2010
C.W. STONEKING AND THE PRIMITIVE HORN ORCHESTRA
Aug 1st: Cambridge Folk Fest
Aug 2nd: Manchester Ruby Lounge
Aug 3rd: London Borderline
Aug 4th: off
Aug 5th: Wakefield Henry Boons
Aug 6th: Newcastle Cluny Theatre
Aug 7th: Hartlepool Tall Ships
Aug 27th: Loose Ends (BBC radio session) and Brixton Windmill
Aug 29th: off
Aug 30th: Charlotte Street Blues
Aug 31st: Liverpool Bar Academy
Sep 1st: Birmingham Bar Academy
Sep 2nd: Glasgow King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Sep 4th: Into The Great Wide Open, Vieland, (NL)
Sep 5th: Brandend Zand, (NL)
Sep 6th: Brighton Hydrant
Sep 7th: Nottingham Rescue Rooms
Sep 8th: Bristol Thekla
Sep 9th: Canterbury Farmhouse
Sep 10th: End Of The Road Festival
Sep 11th: Isle Of Wight Bestival
Sep 12th: Thames Festival, London
Sep 13th: Duisburg (DE) Steinbruch
Sep 14th: Freiburg (DE) SWAMP
Sep 15th: Vienna (AT) Arena
Sep 16th: Augsburg (DE) Haifischbar
Sep 17th: Glarus (CH) Veka
Sep 18th: Stuttgart (DE) Trash A Gogo
Sep 19th ?
Sep 20th: Berlin (DE) Bassy Club
Sep 21st: Rostock (DE) JUZ
Sep 22nd Gothemburg
Sep 23rd: Stockholm (SWE) Mosebacke
Sep 24th: Helsinki (FIN) Storyville
Sep 25th: Helsinki (FIN) Storyville
Sep 27th: Hamburg (DE) Astra Stube
Sep 28th: Wiesbaden (DE) Schlachthof
Sep 29th Paris
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Sydney Morning Herald
Inspired by the baron of the bizarre
August 4, 2010
Banal and bizarre . . . the Escalators' leader, Kynan Robinson.
Avante garde jazz group the Escalators get their lift from filmmaker David Lynch, writes Bernard Zuel.
Kynan Robinson found a kindred spirit in the filmmaker David Lynch. The Melbourne musician, who has played jazz, electronic and between-the-wars blues, and the American creator of bizarre and beautiful films such as Eraserhead, Blue Velvet andMulholland Drive and the TV series Twin Peaks have never met, but they have similar structures, obsessions and a thing for bacon.
Robinson's group, the Escalators, is an eight-piece avant garde jazz ensemble that includes a DJ manning turntables and sampling. What else sets them apart are live shows where their slowly evolving, sometimes disturbing and opaque music is married to set designs and film that play in a similar sandbox of mood, repetition, beauty and what they like to call Lynchian weirdness.
The group's album is called Wrapped in Plastic, an echo of the most famous line from Twin Peaks, which Robinson began watching again as he composed. But the Lynch connections go back to what Robinson calls his ''rules'' for composition, both in music and the films he makes and commissions for Escalators shows.
''For me Lynch is someone who really investigates the idea of normal, starting with the cliches but going down into it so thoroughly that it starts to become abnormal," Robinson says. "I would apply that to music, composing cliched parts for various instruments but then have them repeat those parts over and over again, get them to sit right on that point of normality and if you just keep doing that it then starts to create a sense of oddness about it.''
In Lynch's world the banal and the bizarre co-exist, making true the observation that there is nothing more odd than the "normal" way people behave.
''That's exactly what I was looking at. That dual structure that Lynch does, that was another of my rules," Robinson says. "We have dual narratives running through - even though the music is non-narrative, it's stasis - there will be dual ideas that might run simultaneously that don't appear to relate to each other.
''The other thing about Lynch, he operates obviously in the subconscious but he also operates a lot in memory: how memory works, the decay of memory, how memory can create truths or lies which become truths. When you bring a turntablist or someone sampling in you are already working with the ideas of memory. So those are the three big things in regards to Lynch [and Escalators]: normality; the idea of dual-ism; and the human memory thing.''
The Necks, the Australian trio who also straddle the area between jazz and art music, in recent years have begun using visual elements in their famously improvised shows. The films made by percussionist Tony Buck ran the risk of ''defining how one might think'', as Buck acknowledged. However, as he told the Herald: ''The stuff that I do with video kind of operates in the same sort of timeframe, with the same ambiguity and sense of slowly unfolding, as the Necks music does. I really liked the idea that they are parallel, quite separate things [and] the video material that I use is either quite ambiguous or it's very, very simple, very slowly moving, in a way like moving paintings."
Rather than moving pictures, Byron Bay musician Gyan three years ago toured with the Melbourne cartoonist and commentator Michael Leunig, who sat at a desk set up within the semi-circle of the band on stage and his drawings, inspired by the music played around him, were projected onto a screen. "I don't want to shove that meaning or fix that meaning but to be abstract, to have vision, it can take you deeper with the music,'' Gyan says. ''Sometimes I like to throw some imagery behind because to have your senses all met can be brilliant."
Speaking of all senses, the Lynch-Robinson bond extends to the olfactory. "I reckon there are certain scents that are associated with David Lynch, too. Fried bacon is a really strong association with Twin Peaks," Robinson explains. "If you release that into the audience it will do something. We are trying to create an atmosphere within the space where we control everything in the space we perform in. You're not just getting onstage and playing music but the visual thing, the scent thing, the lighting that we've designed, also work under the same rule structure for the same aim."
Smells like teen spirit. Or bacon.
Recital Centre Salon, Friday 30 July
Review by: JESSICA NICHOLAS
(filed: Sun 1 Aug 2010)
Rating: * * * 1/2 (three and a half stars)
Taking their aesthetic cues from cult filmmaker David Lynch, the Escalators aim to envelop the listener in a world that is as much about texture and atmosphere as it is about music. The effect is amplified when the ensemble performs live, allowing bandleader/trombonist Kynan Robinson and his creative team to incorporate lighting, set design and video into the performance.
At the Recital Centre Salon on Friday, the musicians were dressed in anonymous business suits – with the exception of DJ Element, who was ensconced within a semi-transparent, gauze-like tardis. Fluorescent rods were suspended vertically above the players and audience, and a large screen projected snapshots of suburban familiarity: streets, shopfronts, window displays.
The music (composed by Robinson) did not draw directly from Lynch’s films, but incorporated ideas and techniques derived from the filmmaker’s approach – in particular, his exploration of memory, normality and parallel narratives.
Some of these devices translated into striking musical motifs. Drummer Joe Talia maintained a swift and quietly insistent cymbal pattern for a full half-hour, creating a mood that was simultaneously hypnotic and simmering with unresolved tension. Talia’s role was central to the evening’s success, as was that of DJ Element, whose sampled effects (some identifiable, others elusive) provided an enigmatic commentary on the live music.
The use of repetition – fragmented horn progressions; rippling piano motifs – was mostly effective, though one or two compositions remained trapped in a holding pattern for so long that I struggled to stay engaged. Still, the Escalators have developed an intriguing artistic concept, and I look forward to hearing more as they expand their collective vision.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
The Escalators completed a very successful first show of our national tour on Friday at The Melbourne Recital Center.
The show sold out which was fantastic. At this show we introduced an installation built for DJ Element to perform in which was designed and built by Michelle Robinson and David Murphy and looked fantastic.
Our album and show have been getting great reviews and radio play radio.
I have included an interview (click on the url below) I did with Andrew Ford for The Music Show which gives good insight into some of the thinking behind the music and the video and set design devised for our show
a review of the live show
and is one from 3D world
Melbourne’s Kynan Robinson is well known for his contributions to bands such as CW Stoneking, The Primitive Horn Orchestra and more, yet it’s his work as The Escalators which truly pushes boundaries; calling on all his talent and daring to fuse auditory and visual aspects in a truly engrossing live show.
And The Herald Sun
It is surprising how well this music, inspired by artistic concepts of filmaker David Lynch, stands up independent of it's links to Twin Peaks. The Lynch pin track 23 minute Log Lady is slow to develop but totally absorbing and unexpectadly restful despit its mood of mystery, dark portents and events unfolding.
The composer Kynan Robinson has created a well integrated journey in sound, Horns give a sence of space and significance, while DJ Element adds snippets of voice and "bird calls" that are not out of place. This is a surreal body of work worth unwrappin. 4 Stars
Sunday, July 4, 2010
My Ensemble The Escalators complete a small tour around Australia This month.
The tour is titled The Escalators Inspired by the work of David Lynch and incorporates music video lighting and set design worked on by myself and visual artists Kiron and Michelle Robinson.
The tour dates are
July 30 Melbourne Recital Center
August 6 SIMA Sydney
August 13 Brisbane Powerhouse
Click on the links to purchase tickets
Also touring nationally is CW Stoneking and the Primitive Horn Orchestra, another band I am a member of
July 7 Adelaide Governor Hindmarsh
July 8 Melbourne The Corner
July 9 Melbourne The Prince Bandroom
July 10 Sydney Coogee Bay Hotel
July 11 Brisbane - The Zoo
Monday, May 17, 2010
Well as we sit in some unknown bar in Sheffield (an equally unknown city to my good self) which is doubling as our nights employer, waiting for the soundman to arrive I have decided to write. Four hours in a delapitated tour van that has seen many a band pass through its doors and subsequently pass out once again was witness to exactly that behaviour. And now we wait. Wait and Wait. Someone has taken to practicing in order to kill the time, someone else reads , couple of band members walk around and around and around the venue, everyone is frustrated that there is no free wireless. Ahhh.
One pleasurable aspect of touring is the
instantaneous access you have to every towns local branch of strange or unusual shall I say, people. Last night I sat backstage talking to a performer of sorts who explained to me that his act was to walk around with his girlfriend who would try and illicit the attention of passersby. When she was successful and a young man returned her interest the performer would step in and rage at him in a truly dreadful southern American accent.
Apparently he eked out a living doing this wondrous show although I cant for the life of me think of whowould employ him. Having said that I guess the same people who employed us for that night also employed him. It all started making more sense to me.
He also proudly proclaimed that London was the only town where you would get this behaviour. “Your band rocks up to play and BAM you have acts like us working along side of you, try getting this in Paris no you wont no where else, no where in Europe”. I replied “that’s why we’re going to Belgiumon Tuesday and have you been drinking the bands rider??”
Other support acts and encounters of strangeness so far on this tour have included a man who had a bullet fired at him which he caught in his teeth an escape artist who was disillusioned by his career prospects because as he put it “this country just isn’t interested in Escape artist like it once was unless your act involves huge props. So what am I expected to do …buy an oversize fish tank? I cant afford that”
Challenging decision for him to make.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
14 Black Cotton Club London
15 Last days of Decadence London
16 Whipoorol Club Sheffield
18 Diavolo Blues Club London
19 La Tipi Liege
20 59:1 Munchen
21 Bassy Club Berlin
22 Mariaberg Rorschach
24 Bassy Club Berlin
25 Zoro Liepzig
26 ARM Club Kassel
27 Tap Tab Schaffhausen
28 Der Bock Mannheim
29 Naked Song Festival Eidnfhoven
3 013 Tilburg
4 Patronart Haarlem
8 the Lexington London
I will be updating this blog regularly with tour stories