PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.

Match & Fuse Festival: 3 October 2014 - London (Photos)

Did I know the No Hay Banda Trio before I stepped into Rich Mix in sadly up-and-coming Shoreditch? Yes. Was I at all aware that Clare Savage and Bellatrix were hiding a monstrous talent in their minute figures? I do now.

Match & Fuse Festival

City: London
Venue: Rich Mix
Date: 2014-10-03

File-sharing, the demise of music labels as we know them, streaming services paying pennies, the embarrassing catalogue of redundant music on offer, crowdfunding as a contemporary myth, lack of innovation, and an unhealthy abundance of artistically avoidable waste: these are the problems affecting today’s music industry. Match & Fuse Festival is not the solution, but it does show a way. A simple, relatively affordable method to make your music known is to actually play it. Small venues, reasonable prices and quality (yes, it still matters) make a promoter happy and an audience loyal. Did I know the No Hay Banda Trio before I stepped into Rich Mix in sadly up-and-coming Shoreditch? Yes. Was I at all aware that Clare Savage and Bellatrix were hiding a monstrous talent in their minute figures? I do now.

When these two girls take the stage, they do so to join a vocal trio that is beautifully mistreating tones and loops. Sam Coates, Becky Chilton and Ben See clap hands and share frequencies fluctuating from Steve Reich to Julianna Barwick without making any real contact with them. Three voices that become five when the two ladies timidly step onto the stage. A quick glance to the audience and no smiles for the cameras: Clare Savage blasts a catalogue of dum, cha, boom, scratches and turns, but this is no Marinetti’s futurism: it’s the all too real art of imitating the sounds that imitate the sound. And yet there is purity in her performance. From the drumset to the sampler, to the throat – pure and simple – the substitution of the substitution takes on an original form and perfects itself when Bellatrix grabs the second mic. The bass sounds explode, the fury of drum and bass is unleashed upon us. Other hands are clapped; this time off stage. Minimalism meets its nemesis in a jubilation of drums and drones, and the tunes that follow are the exact compromise between two worlds that are so far apart as to be unexpectedly close.

The Comet is Coming

A pint of overpriced beer later, a weird combo appears under the spotlight. Three minutes and the audience is all theirs. The Comet Is Coming (pictured in the lead image of this article) consists of a sampler, assorted keyboards, drums and a saxophone. Surely the recipe for joy? The final result is, instead, a confusing mixture which, at least live, appears to have missed the transaction from improvisation to finished product. The talent of a young Coltrane is matched by a wild albeit precise drumming, while the main melodic path is provided by sounds moulded in ways which are not always in line with good taste. But it works. The ever-present sax tends to overdo things, the final mix is out of focus. But it works. People love it and that is what matters. Tweets appearing in real time on the screen behind the band are evidence of the fact that the Comet Is Coming has struck the right chord.

No Hay Banda Trio

Italy’s No Hay Banda Trio (today, sadly, a duo) have built a reputation upon the volatility of their sets, on an improvisation which has made the leap into composition without spoiling the existing dynamics. Their unpredictability is due to the precarious balance between actuality and potentiality, the infinite variances due to the instruments employed and their actual output on a stage. Multi-instrumentalist Fabio Recchia and drummer Lele Tomasi explore the recesses of math-core while courting the asymmetries of free jazz. But it is only when James Allsopp joins the duo that the circle closes. His discipline offsets the solid balance created by the symbiosis of guitars (yes, two, both of them played by Recchia) and the mechanically organic drum work. There is beauty in chaos and this can be found in the composition Allsopp (whose Golden Age of Steam is a quintet someone should write about) put together for the occasion. The pace slows down, but the tension rises again as soon as the trio drifts, once again, through the free jazz territories. For lovers of Zu, Mats Gustafsson, Ornette Coleman, Fond of Tigers and great music in general.

James Allsopp

“Happy jazz-core”, they say. True. What Scandinavian Doffs Poi manages to produce is still matter of debate. There is an angular, highly infectious strain of noise, and yet, the music flows without having to resort to complicated weaves and contradicting patterns. The band is led by vocalist Mia Marlen Berg, whose presence on stage belittles – at times and only at times – the complexity of the sound apparatus. This is experimentalism which, by hook or by crook, manages to make itself palatable and interesting to the overwhelming majority of the people, who remain particularly attentive.

It is time to leave. Shoreditch’s high street absorbs us and we’re left at the mercy of hordes of hipsters (whatever this term has come to mean) and youngsters on a hunt. Match & Fuse Festival will not save the world, but if there’s a hope the music business can be saved, it is thanks to this and similar initiatives. Great music is great music. End of the debate.

[All photos by Francesca Colasanti]

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.