Patrick Widdess Reports on Clorinde, Hollow Mountain and Sunwølf at St Philips 15th March 2013

St Philips Church

Shindig returned to St Philips for a night of instrumental and drone music, the spacious hall offering fine acoustics and large screens with striking visuals accompanying the performances. There were also light installations by artist Susie Olczak.

Hollow Mountain

The evening started with local act Hollow Mountain. The hooded duo performed on a bank of synths and effect processors lit only by a series of vertical strip lights in different colours. Electronic and organic sounds combined as vocal and trumpet phrases were recorded live and instantly manipulated to create an immense soundscape like a lost soundtrack to 2001: A Space Odyssey. The strip lights were rearranged in various positions during the other performances.
Leeds’ Sunwølf were next up. The three-piece performed simple yet well-crafted and intense instrumental pieces on two guitars and drums with a laptop adding atmospheric noises and disembodied voices to the slow beats and clean melodies. Beautiful lake and forest scenery played on video screens providing stunning visual accompaniment to the music that has received widespread acclaim since the release of their debut album.

The final act was Clorinde, a London based band fronted by brothers Andrea and Simone Salvatici. The group consisted of four members and about 20 instruments including guitars, mandolin, assorted keyboards and a variety of percussion. The previous acts played pieces that unfolded slowly, gradually shifting in sound and texture. Clorinde’s pieces were more disjointed changing from one moment to the next with members frequently switching instruments between and during pieces, sometimes playing two or three instruments at once. The performance was dynamic almost fidgety at times, the band seemingly unwilling to do the same thing for more than a few bars. Chaotic as this sounds the playing was tight and the music evocative. It could accompany a Goth horror film, an avant-garde ballet performance or be the traditional music of some ethnic festival with costumed dancers and strange rituals.

As the house lights went up and the strip lights were taken down the audiences exited onto a dark Mill Road many having acquired, on impulse, CDs of one or more of the bands at this unique event.

Writer and Photographer: Patrick Widdess