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Four weird musical events coming to London

James Manning

Thought musicians just stood on a stage and played gigs? Get with it, granddad: today’s leftfield artistes are branching out into art, poetry and business seminars. Yeah, we said business seminars. Here are four unusual musical happenings hitting London soon.

1. A poetry night accompanied by Beck.

The concept: As part of Doug Aitken’s ‘Station to Station’ art and music series at the Barbican, ever-funky indie innovator Beck Hansen has announced a last-minute show next Monday. He’s teaming up with a handful of leading British poets (including Simon Armitage, Don Paterson and Luke Wright) and adding music to their words. Projections by Aitken and musical appearances by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore will make this an extra-special occasion.

The verdict: Should be mandatory for anyone who finds poetry boring.

Barbican, Monday June 29.

2. A motivational talk with La Priest.

The concept: Once of the sadly maligned Late of the Pier, Sam Eastgate launches his debut LP as La Priest, not in a trendy bar but a university lecture room. ‘Learning to Love: A La Priest Symposium’ at Birkbeck University will include multimedia presentations by leading ideas man/innovator/blue-sky thinker Eric Swineblade – the creation of character comic Damien Slash. 

The verdict: Synergy! 

Birkbeck, University of London. Tuesday June 23.

3. A painting soundtracked by Jamie XX.

The concept: As part of ‘Soundscapes’ at the National Gallery, Jamie XX has created a soundtrack for the pointillist painting ‘Coastal Scene’ by Théo van Rysselberghe, which will be displayed in a soundproofed gallery space for visitors to stroke their chins and soak up the sounds.

The verdict: Fuck dance, let’s art!

National Gallery. July 8 - September 6. 

4. A trance installation by Evian Christ.

The concept: Bear with us – this one is pretty baffling. Brilliant young producer Evian Christ (aka Joshua Leary, who’s worked with Kanye West as well as creating his own inventive beats) has just signed to Warp Records, and to celebrate he’s working with artist David Rudnick on an exhibition about the ‘Trance War’ (which has apparently been raging in Europe since 1998). The installation will include a memorial fanfare and a monument to ‘the 30,000 dogs whose lives were lost’. Your guess is as good as ours.

The verdict: Could be dogshit, could be gold – we’ll have to wait and see.

ICA. July 23 - 26. 

Just want to catch a gig? Discover this week’s best live music in London.


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