One personal lesson I’ve learned in the last six concert-less weeks is that a big element of my pleasure in music is anthropological. I realise I just love travelling to performances, experiencing the venue (even/especially the foyers) observing the audience, and on top of that, there’s music to be heard ! So, though grateful and admiring of all the musicians’ WFH videos coming my way, I also confess to sometimes finding the listening experience from these to be rather uninvolving.
But a series called Digital Noisy Nights by the great Red Note Ensemble has at least reconnected me with ‘my world’ of emerging artists, workshops and experimental sketches. Every week, Red Note performers play, from home, a sequence of recently written solos which are introduced by their composers (refreshingly, not all of them in the category of ‘young’.) Live comments are enabled and inevitably attention strays to the décor of the musicians’ sitting rooms, what clothes people are wearing, and how their haircuts are holding up. In addition, writing solo instrumental music that grips the listener is possibly the greatest compositional challenge of all, and not all of it breasts the tape here. But to me this activity comes across as ‘real’, and of course it's a remarkable feat by Red Note to have made it all work so quickly and convincingly.
Pictured – handmade poster spotted en route to the allotment.