Perhaps Contraption + Captain Avery & The Cosmic Triceratops of Intergalactic Peace
Thursday 25th February
Buds & Spawn Livestream
The new normal for seasoned gig-goers seems to be accessing podcasts at home in lockdown. And if you dig music off the beaten track, Buds & Spawn, have been hosting a series of live stream shows during this lockdown cessation of live-in-person performances. They consist of a line-up of exclusive new pre-recorded material from each headliner and a local act, interspersed with live interviews, and an interactive chat forum.
Tonight’s bill began with Captain Avery & the Cosmic Triceratops of Intergalactic Peace, a five-piece who encompass Afrobeat, Funk and Disco vibes. Their short set of three songs beginning with 'Earthlings of Infinite Love', chugs along with a calypso groove prompting one person (tag named Belch1889) in the YouTube forum to hail them as “Kings Crimson and the Coconuts”, neatly describing their Progressive Rock influences. Outlandish attire and an abundance of sequins makes one long for the buzz of live physical performance, at home viewing on my laptop; but then again bouncing along to 'Space is Tropical' with its joyous blast of saxophone and the staccato-riffed 'Cosmika Octopus', I’m willing to embrace the new abnormal for now. The energy of the last song reminded me of latter day Talking Heads in their World Music exploratory-phase and the post-performance Q&A session that follows, makes for an inventive take on the format, of the now over-familiar Zoom conference call.
Blood and Brass instruments seem to be the theme of this podcast with pop-up guest Sophie Cooper, the Ivor Novello nominated trombonist. Alongside Jake Blanchard, she runs the eclectic, psychedelic Tor Festival weekender at the Golden Lion in Todmorden, but for now willing to showcase a song by Big Blood called 'Provenance' from their latest album 'Do You Wanna Have A Skeleton Dream?', which consists of a mother and daughter combination with a rhythm guitarist. They manage to summon-up an ethereal performance where the host, Laura, comments that only blood harmonies can manage. A discussion then takes place highlighting the thriving Alt-music scene sprouting from around Yorkshire in recent years.
When considering contemporary music, Ronnie Scott once declared in a Bernard Braden interview that today’s Pop music is largely due to the experiments and techniques of Jazz musicians of 10-15 years ago (this classic interview can be viewed for free on the BFI website) and with their Jazz stylings, I feel that Perhaps Contraption are at the forefront of contemporary Pop in terms of their approach. The host, Laura, labels them as “The world’s only 9-piece Art Punk Marching Band” which they seem to agree with. Striving for originality within a Pop-framework seems to be this band’s raison d'être: Witness the innovation they put into their pre-recorded performance within the constraints of a YouTube broadcast, by duplicating their solos with a split screen device and synchronising them into the composition of the performance (it is necessary to view this in action because it is difficult to convey in words). The overall effect culminates in their stunning masterpiece 'A song called Bloodhound', comprising only four members but with cinematic sweep in its ambition and achingly beautiful vocals. All the members then join in for an adaption of John Adam’s 'Short Ride in a fast Machine', where they betray their contemporary classical leanings. Later in the show they reveal their video/sound editing techniques for these recordings in the discursive section, which will obviously get them kicked out of the Magic Circle!
It just goes to show that invention and creativity is very much alive in these straightened times; pent-up and ready to burst forth in these offerings from Buds and Spawn.
Ivan De Mello