Thursday 27 December 2012

Laura J Martin and Trwbador at Kings Place - 21 December 2012

Laura J Martin

I’ve not been to Kings Place before. And I’m impressed. This modern two-auditorium venue is akin to the Queen Elizabeth Hall but, as it seems to major on classical, folk and world music, it hasn’t fallen within my ken before.

Things start out fairly unpromisingly with a genial band from Brighton who play a rather plodding and unexciting brand of folky rock. It’s this lack of dynamism that really does for them -  they seem heavy footed.

I’d provide a link so that you could make your own minds up, but their name, which sounds like “Lie-ish” is proving unGoogleable.

Much better are Trwbador, who I last saw coaxing sounds out of a child’s toy piano one lunchtime on the Camden Crawl.

When they are at their best, Angharad Van Rijswijk and Owain Gwilym make music that is so quiet and uncluttered that it barely seems to exist. The pair become almost silent apart from the gentle strum of Owain’s acoustic guitar and Angharad’s high, clear voice.

They have an album out in the New Year, and what we hear from it tonight sounds very promising.

The last two tracks that they play veer into mellow jazz territory and, although these are very well done, it takes Trwbador into the realm of the commonplace rather than the unique music that makes them so

I’ve heard great things about Laura J Martin and am glad to report that these are entirely accurate.

Laura is an engaging and accomplished performer, who is clearly happy to experiment with new directions and technical equipment.

Many of the songs tonight feature extensive and inventive use of sound loops. Martin will play a snatch on her flute, or whoop like an Indian brave, and then utilise these sounds as an accompaniment to her singing and playing. It works very well.

Particularly interesting is her newest material from the Bónus Skór ep, which comprises the fruits of some recent sessions in Iceland. There is a slower, darker hue to this music, with ominous drones added to the mix.

This contrasts with Laura’s cheery demeanour. I’ve never been much of a flute aficionado, but even I can tell that Martin is a class act. She attacks her instrument with the same showy fervour that a guitarist would employ to pose with his axe. This flute is not just played, it’s SEEN to be played.

Laura is warm, chatty and happy to sign autographs in the foyer afterwards. She’s a sunny presence on a winter evening. Good for her.  

1 comment:

Keith Knight said...

The third band are called Laish.