E is for Experimental Music

One of the things I really enjoy about Brighton is singing with the experimental music group,  Safehouse.  We meet twice a month, on the first and last Wednesday.

On the last Wednesday we have booked acts, supported by a quartet of Safehouse players.   Last week we were treated to London-based Shabaka Hutchins on clarinet & saxes, Guillaume Vitard on bass and Tony Marsh on drums. They played a phenomenal hour-long set.

On the first Wednesday we have an open session.  Usually 12 to 15 musicians turn up, though that can go up or down. There are also a few punters who come out, but undoubtedly, the open sessions are for the musicians.

Everybody who wants to play puts their membership card in the pot, and we draw quartets who then improvise together.  There is no pre-established key, rhythm, or timing.  If there is any key at all, it is to listen and respond to what you hear, and thereby create a musical dialogue.  Sometimes everyone plays at once.  When this happens, the only rule is that no one plays any louder than the quietest instrument.

Today being the first Wednesday of the month, there’s supposed to be a Safehouse open session tonight,  but because we got the chance to book London-based Badland (Simon Rose, Simon Fell and Steve Noble) for a gig we’re having a SafeHouse Orchestra session as the opening set instead.

As there will be 17 artists on stage all at the same time, we’ll play in a series of trios, each joined with the next by the full ensemble.

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