A Peculiar Night At The Oval Space With Tyondai Braxton

Tyondai Braxton

Here’s an odd one for you. Tyondai Braxton, former frontman of experimental rock outfit Battles, is performing what can only loosely be described as a ‘gig’ at the Oval Space in Bethnal Green on 20 May. Entitled HIVE, we consider the whole thing bizarre enough to warrent a preview, but please bear with us as we’re not wholly sure what the aim of the show is, or indeed whether it is in fact an elaborate wind-up to ensnare unwary previewers and the odd entry fee-paying punter.

“Five performers sit cross-legged atop their own space-age oval pod designed by Danish architect Uffe Surland Van Tams.”

Possibly taking ‘experimental’ a little too seriously there, Tyondai. The performers in the Oval Space plan on playing visceral and expressive music using modular synthesizers, acoustic percussion and samples, but the visual aspect of the show is intended to be as important as the aural. Each space-age pod will include a light show that will change colours to the mood of the music emanating from its perforated wooden walls.

We’re not sure why the performers need to be explicitly cross-legged for this, but when you’re angling for mysticism perhaps every little helps.

Before you decide we’re having you on with all this, you should know that this performance has sufficient merit to have been performed at both the Sydney Opera House and the Guggenheim in New York. Reviews of these shows were effusive — “it showed why Braxton continues to be one of the most exciting voices in contemporary music”, said CMJ.

There is footage of HIVE online but we are loathe to give the game away too much, so here’s a very brief clip of what you can perhaps expect at the show.

You can tell from that short video that anyone with an interest in the artistic side of music or keen on a more immersive audio/visual experience than a standard concert may well be onto a winner here. If you do go to this show, please do come back and put a brief review of it in the comments below, to help us understand quite what it’s all about.

Tyondai Braxton plays the Oval Space on 20 May and tickets are available from the Barbican website.

Image by Shawn Anderson via Flickr.

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