© The Financial Times Ltd 2016
FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
The Financial Times and its journalism are subject to a self-regulation regime under the FT Editorial Code of Practice.
December 20, 2012 5:17 pm
Konk Pack are a rip-roaring trio of free improvisers whose in-the-moment collisions deliver the thrust of electronics with the confidence of a long-term relationship – they played their first gig in 1997 and have been touring ever since. The electronica is more gadgets and buttons than laptop and mouse, and its industrial soundscapes have a surprisingly warm-hearted core. A seated Tim Hodgkinson conjures dissonance from a wired-up lap steel guitar and Thomas Lehn dispatches fusillades of beeps from analogue synth – he’s a physical player who rolls and sways with the mood. And for contrast and balance, Roger Turner plays drums with a strong, though somewhat fractured, sense of time.
The methods and pulse are those of free jazz, but here the ebb-and-flow dynamics are magnified to extremes. Both through-improvised sets had quiet beginnings, roaring climaxes and a pin-drop finish. And both garnished instrumental orthodoxy with scrapes, scratches and clatters. Turner used four-stick technique to produce a scampering rattle and bowed a chunk of metal for a finger-scraping screech. Hodgkinson assaulted his lap steel guitar with bottleneck, violin bow and plastic comb – the sounds were raw, harsh and percussive, often tweaked or distorted into an amplified howl.
The first set opened with a synthesised drone and the ponderous throb of a church organ pedal. There were fragments of drums and the sporadic click of a heftily plucked lap steel guitar. Tension grew, with short press rolls and mighty thumps, lightning-fast scampers and pings bouncing across the stage against a howl of white noise and thrashing drums.
There were intense duets with third party support, high-point extremes, when all spoke as one, and times when each musician seemed out on a limb. And for every furore there was a patch of uneasy calm. The range was extraordinary and, over two sets, their internal coherence, though abstract, effervesced with intelligence.
The first set ended with a cymbal hissing gradually into silence; the earthier second set faded with a spacious, barely perceptible pulse. It gained accompaniment from a clink of bottles from the bar at the back. “I think they’re moving the bar,” quipped Turner. “Move it over here,” suggested Hodgkinson. And that was that.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.