Nils Frahm & A Winged Victory for the Sullen
London Brass & Random Dance/Company Wayne McGregor
BBC Late Night Proms, The Royal Albert Hall, London
Presented by Maryanne Hobbs, BBC Radio 6 Music
We clambered flights of stairs to a narrow corridor on the third floor. People needled through gaps in a congested space, making a beeline to the bar. Others remained fixed against walls, fanning themselves, eagerly awaiting the moment the steward retracted the gate to allow them into the cavern.
People began to filter through. We took to our seats and marvelled at the enormity and architectural majesty. There was little delay before A Winged Victory For The Sullen took to the stage.
With the lights out, there was a sense of loneliness despite the thousands of people. Music vibrated through the feet at the same time pounding through the centre of the chest to the high backed chair. There was no sense of distance just a deep feeling of connection.
Tonight reflected back to us our inner conflicts, our resounding losses. For those unspoken words, internal anguish and destitute loneliness, the sounding of the private, the image of nightmares and brief moments of respite materialised. At points this was painful to face but reassuring to have been expressed.
The full performance from A Winged Victory For The Sullen, London Brass, Nils Frahm and dancers from Company Wayne McGregor fused, with no real boundary of where one finished and the other began.
The curation of the full event made for a cerebral piece of intimate theatre, something one might expect to see at The Young Vic or a piece of performance art in a gallery. This shows the confidence and humility from A Winged Victory for the Sullen and Nils Frahm to push their individual creations further and to set aside ego and suspend what their music is and is not.
In a world hungry to pigeonhole the arts into specific genres, where festival goers eagerly anticipate the hit songs they recognise to sound out the speakers so they can cheer. Tonight knocked down some of those labels and ways of doing things by fusing music with dance and by careful consideration to the environment it’s presented to create an emotional and intimate connection with us all.
Nils’ set was a coming to life following a slow, submerge to the recess of our minds from A Winged Victory For The Sullen; a life force, a survival, grappling the suspension between life and death.
Spritely, life affirming, hopeful… and there it ended.
A very honourable mention should go out to Maryanne Hobbs who made tonight possible. I could probably count on one hand the amount of people today who tirelessly support underground musicians while maintaining enthusiasm and love of music. Luckily for us, Maryanne generously shares her creative findings across the airways and, as with tonight she’s pulled together a group of incredibly talented artists to collaborate and complement one another to push the boundaries of creativity and of audience interaction and experience.
For those of you who missed it, I strongly recommend a visit the BBC website where you can watch the full event. It really was pretty special: