In League With Robots is a live music promotion organisation formed by Cath Roberts and Dan Paton. Both graduates of the Masters in Jazz Performance at Guildhall, they enjoy a range of sound worlds incorporating folk, songwriting, electronica, hip hop, groove music and much more.
Dan Paton writes…
Collisions, our first live music venture, aims to present adventurous and innovative music in friendly, welcoming surroundings. We also hope it might, in its own modest way, challenge some of the preconceptions and stereotypes surrounding how live music should be experienced. Whilst it is now much easier to hear new music (thanks at least in part to developments in technology), musical worlds have become increasingly fragmented, and it is sometimes hard to find common ground or connections between different forms of music.
Admirers of top quality and adventurous writing in the rock and songwriting worlds are sometimes actively discouraged from trying out what might be termed contemporary jazz, even when it is clear there is common ground between musical styles. The London jazz scene offers plenty of high quality inventive music that might appeal to admirers of Squarepusher, Björk, Dirty Projectors or Deerhoof – yet it remains extremely hard for improvising musicians to reach those audiences. Conversely, the jazz scene can sometimes be perceived as a closed world, developing its own language and rituals that might appear alienating to outsiders.
It often feels as if small scale live music in London is a choice between niche but loyal scenes and poorly programmed multi-band extravaganzas with little thought given to developing an audience. The best contemporary improvised music (which London has in abundance due to a creatively thriving and supportive scene) is thrilling and urgent regardless. The best songwriting develops new ways in which words and music can combine to strong emotional impact. The best folk music finds new ways of presenting timeless melodies and established forms and the best rock music displays the same values of adventure and invention as present in jazz composition. Nevertheless, it is hard to experience these things together, particularly in the media.
A Collisions night, therefore, hopes to offer an experience that is unpredictable and logical at the same time. We will attempt to pair together artists that will provoke thought and discussion, and hopefully leave the audience wanting to investigate new areas further. A Collisions gig might pair a folk songwriter alongside an improvising vocalist, or an electronic producer alongside a solo instrumentalist but, in doing so, we hope to show that great music is simply great music, beyond limitations and classifications. A Collisions night might be about unusual reactions and strange juxtapositions, or it might be about finding the shared space between different artists.
Collisions 1 – our launch night – is on 28th May at The Albany (doors – 8:00pm, show starts – 8:30pm) and features two creative and exciting singers operating in different musical worlds. Whilst Babelfish, featuring the outstanding talent of Brigitte Beraha, certainly draw liberally and intuitively from the jazz tradition, there are also strong hints of British folk music and the influence of classical composers in their sensitive and evocative music. The group’s central working partnership, between Beraha and pianist Barry Green, is now one of 12 years standing, and Babelfish offer a depth of exploration and experience to be savoured and enjoyed.
Babelfish will be paired with outstanding young folk singer-songwriter Raevennan Husbandes. Based in Lowestoft, Raevennan is the winner of the Future Radio Next Big Thing 2012, and her natural, relaxed performing style and warm, engaging stage presence make her an instant hit with audiences around the country. Raevennan is a singer-songwriter of great empathy and presence and has battled back from hard times (a serious illness left her temporarily deaf and blind) with infectious positivity and enthusiasm. She has recently supported Newton Faulkner and worked with Mercury nominated folk ensemble The Unthanks. Hers is undoubtedly a star on the rise, and we’re grateful that she is able to play at our very first night.
We have an exciting range of acts in the pipeline for future events. July’s gig – 30th, again at the Albany – will be a rather different combination of improvised music duos featuring Ti/Om (Tim Fairhall and Tom Ward), and Colin Webster and Mark Holub, so that will be a unique experience not to be missed!