LBO aktion

Some photos taken by Huw below from our recording session in October at our practise space in the Hotspur Press building.

The fruits of this labour will appear on a CD/download album due for release early next year on Manchester’s very own Concrete Moniker label. You can hear a few excerpts on our special place here. Also check out the new and updated website megasicked up by Huw.

We’re working on booking dates to support the CD when it comes out too! Below is what we’ve got so far; more will follow for sure.

11th February @ Tin Angel, Coventry

25th February CD release show! @ Greenroom, Manchester

12th March @ Blue Cat Cafe, Stockport

3rd/4th July @ Litomerice Festival, Czech Republic

Violin Developments

Winter is taking its toll on the violin the communal gardens in Woodlawn Court that I put out to seed in the summer… its now down to just the front piece of the body after mysteriously disappearing for a few weeks. The piece is becoming slowly more sculptural and less resembling an instrument. Im fascinated to see if it will survive the winter in any form…

Whats been most interesting so far is that our neighbours who we in keeping with the fragments style of postmodern living we dont really know in any really form, have clearly been taking an interest in the instrument. This is the third time now that the violin seems to have ‘disappeared’ and then reappeared in a different spot out the back. Just how it lost the back, sides and neck we’ll have to keep imagining, probably an overzealous squirrel preparing for winter.


this coming Saturday!

Hang onto yr improv hats should be a  great evenings free playing…. Phil Marks is renowed for his unique approach to the drumkit playing regularily with Stephen Grew in the ‘Grew Trio’ who joins him tonight on synthesizer. Phil also recently performed with Evan Parker at the Cross Street Chapel where this saturdays gig also takes place. They are joined by bassist and clarient player Matthew Robinson and Maxwell Sterling who laid down some quality ECM/old skool free jazz type stylings when I saw them in Lancaster recently. Should be something to special!

This quartet are joined for a first performance from a Manchester based trio, comprised of composers/improvisers serious thinkers Josh Kopeçek and Rodrigo Constanzo on piano and percussion respectively. They are joined by your good author wrestling with and dropping things on top of the guitar.

Should be a great evening from soem of the most innovative musicians in the North West!


Zizek rocks

Started reading his book on ‘Violence’ at the start of the week and its a total recommend! He has a way of positing crazy challenging concepts and illuminating them with solid examples of cultural/social/political phemonena that makes his work infinitely readable and understandable. He also gives no quarter to anyone; liberals, communists, anarchists, capitalists, politicians, reformists, globalisationistas, anti globalisation types all get rigourously beaten with his savage combo of Hegel and Lacan. More to follow.


Violin Sculpture in Autumn



The violin intervention project I started in the shared gardens out the back of the flat has been moving along since the summer. The violin is starting to look pretty gnarly, though its in a better state after 4 months out in the wilds of Manchester than i would have imagined, possibly better quality than the “made in China” sticker gave away. Still, I suspect the winter rain and horror will have some interesting effects.

Created a bit of quality neighbourly interaction with the shared environment though which was really the main idea to explore with the instrument. The other being to have a bit of fun with the draconian rules surrounded the usage of the outside areas of the flats (ie. don’t do anything there or we’ll kill you).

Anyway, the violin itself has migrated round the garden a few times, the first time being moved by workmen coppicing the trees who propped it up against a wall and then one of our neighbours taking a shine to the idea strung it up again in a new place where its now pictured. Pleased to say that the wind swirly thing we put out also got one of the neighbours in on the act of adding things to the foliage.

More to come I’m sure.


Kalbakken split 7″ creeping on slowly…

We had to try and remember what the track we recorded with Jack in July was called earlier in the week. I had no idea, luckily Kirsty reckons it was called “Ulversdalen” or “Wolfvalley” so we went with that… it’s going to be a split with the majestic Spoono on the audioMER label from Belgium.

Dug out a reasonably condensed interview with did with BBC Manchester a little while ago which explains somethings, not all but quite a few. Transcript is below.

Who is in the band?

“Kirsty sings, plays the violin and recorders. David plays guitar, sings and jew’s harp. We are occasionally supported by Nick on percussion.”

What type of music do you play?

“We play our own readings of Scandinavian folk melodies, building new arrangements around old tunes.”

What’s the Kalbakken story?

“Well, we are siblings so we have played music together in one form or another for a long time!

“This particular group came about from improvisations and the chance idea to try playing a Norwegian song our mother, who hails from those parts, had sung us as children. It all spiralled from there really; speaking with her about other melodies, researching in libraries, books, audio.

“This was all about three years ago – at a certain point, David of Little Red Rabbit asked us to play a gig and so off we went and carried on playing from there.”

How are things going?

“We haven’t won anything, unless you count a pub quiz a few years ago, but we’re doing okay.

“We have played all over the UK, toured in Spain and Portugal, we recently played a really great festival in London called the 2:13, which went really well. Hopefully, we’re touring Spain and Portugal again next Easter.

“Then the new record comes out and we’ll be touring the UK and further reaches across mainland Europe again.”


Ad Hoc performance

a couple of pictures below from the performance with Ad Hoc dance on Monday at the Lowry Studio for which I composed and performed the music for…

note that as ever i cant keep still and am blurred…more pictures to follow, hopefully with some blurred dancers rather than stationary ones, as well as video. Im going to get the score online soon too…



Ad Hoc Dance Performance

This coming Monday…



SPOKE is a new contemporary dance work created by Ad Hoc Dance, directed by Ruth Tyson-Jones. It has taken creative writing, either found, gathered and/or authored as a starting point. The spoken word is skillfully interwoven into the choreography. A specially created score has been created and will be played live, by David Birchall.

Ad Hoc Dance is The Lowry’s in-house adult contemporary community dance company

The evening’s bill will be shared  – The Lowry’s in house youth dance company, Commotions will present a new contemporary choreography. This work has been created alongside dance artist, Debbie Milner.

The Studio Theatre, The Lowry, Salford Quays

Time: 7.45pm

Price: £5

Date: November 9, 2009

Book through The Lowry Box Office on 0870 787 5783 or Lowry website



Recent reading…

Haruki Murakami A wild sheep chase London: Harvill

Harry Partch Genesis of music New York: Da Capo

Ian Stewart Natures numbers London: Orion

Goscinny & Uderzo Asterix and the chieftans shield London: Hodder

Lloyd Spencer & Andrzej Krauze Hegel for beginners Cambridge: Icon

Guy Debord Society of the spectacle New York: Zone Books

David Minton Teaching skills in further and adult education London: Thomson

Yvonne Hillier Reflective teaching in further education London: Continuum

Augusto Boal Theatre of the oppressed London: Pluto Press

Raymond Williams Culture and materialism London: Verso

Variant Issue 35 summer 09 Glasgow: Variant

Oliver Sacks Musicophilia London: Picador

George Lewis A power stronger than itself: The AACM and amercian experiemental music London: University of Chicago Press

Herman Hesse The glass bead game London: Penguin

Paulo Freire Pedagogy of the oppressed London: Penguin