Cyclobe, Myrninerest @ Queen Elizabeth Hall

Hallucinatory Queer British Paganism


Temptations to visit Antony Hegarty's Metldown aplenty.
But the above event was primarily chosen cause a) I have a weak spot for prolific and multi-tasking David Tibet, b) I'm always interested in a dash of Jarman (whose films were to accompany the music) and, c) it was cheap.
The surreal and promising voyage begun with Derek Jarman's short A Journey to Avebury (1971), with a familiarly introvert and melancholy soundtrack by Myrninerest - David Tibet and guitarist/pianist James Blackshaw's new music project. A succession of foggy and somewhat amorphous English landscapes, dancing in the dark sonic shades of Myrninerest, set the tone for the band's first performance; which, as expected, wasn't far from the duo's sadscapes with Current 93, but it did involve a couple of added colleagues. A lamenting guitar by Blackshaw loyally followed Tibet's fervid recounts of love, loss and faith, over an addictive scrim of repetitive notes. I occasionally missed Current 93's over-overpoweringly sad melodies, but there was nothing fundamentally missing from this brooding mix.
What was about to follow, though, was the evening's big surprise. Having experienced Derek Jarman's unorthodox cinematic vision in Jubilee and The Last of England - and having been perplexed, bored, and also quite intrigued inbetween, I hadn't expected the trifecta Sulphur (1973), Tarot and Garden of Luxor (1972) to be so unequivocally beguiling. Majestic, enigmatic, decidedly odd, the films were as inwardly menacing as Cyclobe's soundtrack. From electronics to bagpipe, Cyclobe's music is imaginatively experimental, as is hauntingly repetitive (hail to The Moths of Pre-Sleep). Fans of Coil are already aware of Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown's musical background and associations; and here, for the first time in the UK, they introduced Cyclobe's disquieting sonic collection with four well-chosen associates. Artists/filmmakers Alex Rose, Fred Tomaselli, Anna Thew and David Larcher devised the creative backdrop.
The mystery special guest was non other than Mr Hegarty himself, who was seen hovering in the darkness before he joined his guests on stage for some potent vocals.
I've been forever hearing about his unmistakable falsetto causing massive waves of goose-bumps and feelings and whatnot - but I've always found it quite appalling. I interviewed Hegarty a few years back and I can honestly declare, nevertheless, that I hate the voice but I like the man. After his moody contribution to Cyclobe's psychotic soundscapes, I can finally admit I like that too.
Here's to the curator for having this year's mega Meltdown. Antony, you did well.

Review by Danai Molocha

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