Wednesday 23 October 2013

Phil Robson - Whirlwind Slap

Phil Robson - Guitar
With a gauntleted slap we were challenged by Phil Robson on the final session of Day 2 (11/10/2013) at the Whirlwind Festival. To engage with the music we did not need to discover all the hidden secrets of his album 'The Immeasurable Code' but the brain had to be in its most alert and functioning state. This was not a concert that revealed all its delights in the short 50 minutes format, in fact the music has lived with me longer than any other. Armed with the recorded music and a fast broadband speed I am only now appreciating its full depth.

Ernesto Simpson - Drums
Phil Robson's music has a burning intensity that is written all over his face, his trilby was the kettle lid perched upon a furrowed brow and his red head looked as though it was touching boiling point throughout the performance. Hot and fierce on the outside, I suspect his cerebral cooling system is exemplary because his playing was measured, assured and direct.

Gareth Lockrane - Flute
Gareth Lockrane and his flute had certainly regained some of his pep from the previous day and Robson squeezed every conceivable facet of this man's talent out of him. 'Nassarius Beads' with its short cascades had the audience swaying with shoulders and heads before Lockrane's misty funk worked down to their hips.

Stan Sulzmann - saxophone
Second tune "Telepathy and Transmission" with its fractious beat/sound gave Ernesto Simpson the chance to dig deep and Robson showed that he is willing to dirty his hands to provide us with a gritty challenge. We were asked to roll up our sleeves too.

Michael Janisch - Drums
In contrast "Telegram" gave it to us on a plate, its title and introduction from Robson served its themes like an Edwardian calling card. Stan Sulzmann provided the shiny train tracks on which the rest of the group steamed along, whilst we in contrast, had time to stare out the window and let our imaginations blossom from the safety of our chairs.

Michael Janisch was resident on the bass, supporting his long time friend Robson and stepping into the latter's new tune "Berlin". After several attempts to sketch him, this is one of my favourites, capturing his strong angular features and that often slack mouth with bouncing lower jaw which is an indicator that  he's really in the groove.

Stephen Jay
Gareth Lockrane brought us to a sleepy conclusion with "A Serenade" and for the first time I watched Whirlwind photographer Stephen Jay put down his camera and just take it all in, probably partly in exhaustion. Lockrane drew out the subtlety of the composition as if transforming his flute into a slender rolling pin and slowly flattening our soft pastry edges. I was cooked too after sketching for 6 hours and was happy to retire and contemplate Phil Robson's music at my leisure.


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