Voyage to Mondegreen

Collectress at Blind Tiger Club, 5th Dec 2013

By Michael Kemp

Review of Collectress at the Blind Tiger Club, Brighton , .

Introduced by tonight’s MC “the Lady of the Manor” ~ an 18th century female fop (a foppess?) in period costume ~ seemingly on the run from a luckless production of Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon” ~ imploring us to follow her around the club as she drops her lace handkerchief at will ~ for us to return ~ a romantic gesture, m’lady ~ chivalry may not be dead at the Blind Tiger, but I somehow managed to restrain myself…

Collectress take the stage ~ a ’cello motif ~ plaintive flutes and carillons à musique keyboards ~ wheels start spinning ~ castle wheels and chronograph watches (collective cartwheels) ~ and we’re off on the backwards journey ~ thru’ a phantasmagoria, a somnambulist trance of our own making ~ painted backdrops and stereoscopic images ~ where is this strange, yet beguiling, music taking us? Are we all on the same journey? Am I sharing a carriage with the Lady of the Manor?

A first meditative piece ~ played to precision ~ sharp intakes of breath and audible murmurs of aural pleasure from the denizens of the DJ booth ~ spells are being cast ~ men and women are speaking in tongues ~ sailors are being lured to acoustic rocks ~ a recurring film loop flickers ~ sleeplessness ~ sea mists and miasmas rise and are casting dark shadows upon the land, rolling over the god-fearing earth, intoning lost poems of John Clare…

A second piece ~ rendered over an electronic heartbeat, a sonic boom, measured to perfection ~ a medieval Mummers play ~ a dream ~ a reverie ~ the twenty-nine missing b&w episodes of “Tales of Mystery” (with John Laurie as Algernon Blackwood) ~ other pieces ensue ~ objects and shadows ~ avant-scapes and avalanches ~ sepia negatives ~ transparencies ~ we can hear a pin drop ~ or a rusty fire door open ~ then Alice Eldridge’s cupped hands & nocturnal whistling heralds the spectral enchantment of “Owl”(a lovely piece) ~ followed by a jaunty sea-shanty and that charming, if impenetrable, parlour game (charade sans instruments de musique) of “Rolling”…

Rolling from collectress on Vimeo.

An unexpected sheet of bright yellow flame suddenly flares up behind the players ~ and, as one, we all awake from our self-induced hypnosis ~ Caroline Weeks sings a bittersweet “Goodbye” song ~ followed by a final Collectress piece “Before and After” ~ a mesmerising performance all round ~ Alice, Caroline, the imposter Quinta (providing shimmering violin textures while the real Quinta is away with the fairies and Paper Cinema) and Rebecca ~ and, if that wasn’t enough ~ their debut album “Mondegreen” is due for release in March 2014 ~ so, yeah, that’s my Christmas present sorted.