Thursday, 19 March 2015
THE MINACK'S dramatic setting, open to the elements, with a jaw-dropping backdrop of sea and sky, provided the ideal launch pad for a night of epic and ethereal sounds from Penwith-based band The Ascension Plan and special guests.
The night marked what the band call, "the completion of a curious circle". The circle began back in the 1990s with Quietly Torn, the band started by The Cure's Porl Thompson when he moved to Zennor.
When Mimi Goese, the band's original singer, left – homeward bound for New York – Thompson recruited St Just guitarist and singer Martin Jackson, then 16 years old. On a May evening in 1998 Martin took to the Minack stage to play a memorable gig with Quietly Torn.
Martin went on to form The Ascension Plan with Quietly Torn drummer Nick McLeod, bassist Mungo Shoddy and former Bates Motel man Paul Adams on electric violin.
In 2012, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, Nick McLeod (who also plays with The Incredible String Band's Clive Palmer) and Mimi Goese began to hatch a plan.
This resulted in Mimi's collaboration with the band on a number of tracks, including Ascending, from their All Ways EP, and forthcoming singles Buoy and Life (You Are).
Ultimately, it led back to the Minack and the wild Cornish cliffs on a May evening in 2014, bringing Mimi and Martin together to share the stage for the first time.
The result was an evening that managed to pull off the feat of being both intimate and epic.
Axolotl set the tone with an introductory soundscape that melded with the waves and the wind. Building from womb-like gongs and elemental murmuring, The Ascension Plan's sound swelled into celestial flights of liquid violin melting into out of this world vocals, transporting the listener to realms at once familiar, strange and beguiling.
With years of collective musical experience under their belts, the band moved together effortlessly through the haunting waltzing chorus of Old Wings, via the alternating swing and raw power of Disengage (and Remain The Same), the ethereal Ascending and meditative All Ways. Mimi Goese brought her extraordinary and formidable vocals into the equation – which can also be heard on Moby's Into The Blue and When It's Cold I'd Like To Die – bringing theatrical flair and sparkle to the stage along with her trademark vocal acrobatics.
"The sky and sea stitched seamlessly," Mimi sings on the forthcoming single Life, (You Are). As the daylight faded, sea and sky vanished into one another and the stage was bathed in a dance of colours, courtesy of projections by renowned local artist Paul Lewin.
Sky, sea, music and light stitched seamlessly into a mesmerising fabric, entrancing the senses. The resulting frisson carried echoes of Sigur Ros at the Eden Sessions.
Maybe it's the tuning, the band tune their instruments to a pitch of 432HZ – said to be the natural universal frequency – rather than the standard concert pitch of 440HZ. Maybe it's the combined power of more than 50 voices. Or maybe it's just that special something that ignites when a plan comes together beautifully.
Whatever the secret, this will be remembered as a night when magic was made, when The Ascension Plan unfolded their wings and took flight with Mimi Goese and the 50 Degrees.
You can obtain the band's All Ways EP at theascensionplan1.bandcamp.com/album/all-ways-ep
Nicholas Pegg – author of the acclaimed Complete David Bowie series of books as well as a regular Dalek operator on Dr Who – was on holiday in the area and attended the concert. He tweeted: "One of the best gigs I've ever seen."
Thursday, 20 November 2014
...Recorded LIVE at the Minack Theatre, Porthcurno,on the 2nd of May 2014 this was arguably Axolotl's finest gig, on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean, in a fading light of the setting son, a fitting backdrop to the ominous delicacy of the soundscape presented within. This performance was part of a Curious Circle, an event created by the Ascension plan starring the inimitable Mimi Goese with the angelic voices of the 50 Degrees and featuring stunning live projections by local artist Paul Lewin...
...Album here - https://rfsoriginals.bandcamp.com/track/live-at-the-minack...
Kian Joseph - Guitar/Moog/FX
Recorded by Richard Blackborow
Produced by Enrique Che Pelligro
Filmed by ThreeS Films
Directed by Pancho B Gubbins Esq
Tuesday, 30 September 2014
...HERE IT IS! the FULL set from the 50 Degrees LIVE @ the Minack Theatre, Porthcurno, on May 2nd 2014...
Wild and Free - Maria McEwan & Vicky Abbott
Red - Guy Garvey
Watching Planes - Lucy Birbeck & Vicky Abbott
Hope There's Someone - Antony Hegarty
...DVD and Album of the WHOLE evening coming soon
featuring Axolotl, the 50 Degrees and Special Guest Mimi Goese, with the Ascension plan..
Friday, 23 May 2014
Monday, 23 December 2013
Tuesday, 31 July 2012
...Messrs, Stetson, Wackem, Shoddy and Waft are proud to present...
...fresh from International acclaim (in Vogue and NME ) at the Port Elliot Festival, Vicky Abbott's the 50 Degrees (augmented by members from the Eden Choir) will be joining local beat combo the Ascension Plan this Friday 3rd August at the Ritz, Penzance...
...the massed choir will be opening the evening with a "dark" selection of songs taken from their contemporary repertoire...
...after a short intermission, the delightful Abbott/Birbeck and friends will be entertaining with a selection of favourites old new & blue...
...following another short pause for refreshments, the Ascension Plan will lead us into the second half of the show, featuring the guitar and vocal stylings of Martin Jackson (Ethatone, Quietly Torn), and the ethereal electric violin of the Waft (Eden's Ashes, Bates Motel) backed by solid rhythm engineers Gurt Wackem and Mungo Shoddy, late of Pablo Fanques Fair...
...described as "warm and unusual" the Plan will take us on a journey from a whisper to a scream, thru Love, Death and Rebirth with the massed choir returning for the uplifting epic final movement...
...Lightshow/Projections by WSW in association with Ben Mankin and ol' Steckfenster imself...