Earth Machine Music / Pohjonen, Manor Farm, Cocking
Tuesday 27 May 2008
Four English farms were the venues and inspiration for Kimmo Pohjonen's UK tour. The oddball Finnish accordionist visited them earlier to sample sounds of animals and, particularly, machinery. Having settled on performing spaces, he retreated to turn the sounds into musical ideas, then returned with a sound crew and four site-specific mixtures of composition, improvisation, collage and live transformation, which he described as "environmental art" pieces.
On this second leg of the tour, set in a farmyard beneath the South Downs, the local aspect was reinforced with a hog roast and Earth Machine Beer, both integrated into the show. A pair of the farm's Oxford Sandy & Black pigs greeted us, while another turned on the spit, and as the recorded sounds emerged, it became clear that we'd eaten one of the performers.
This was not the occasion's only first: the beer bottles carried an Arts Council England logo yet still sold out and several attempts at Finnish humour actually made people laugh. Pohjonen made his grand entrance swigging from a bottle on the scoop of a tractor, which dropped him on to an upturned metal tank. This became the first of several "found" percussion instruments as he stomped on it and looped the beats into riffs. In an apparent skit on his nation's fondness for beer, he addressed chants to his bottle, gargled, and made more loops from sips and slurps. The accordion contributed a chorale, accompanied by a tractor engine's steady whirr, rotating round the loudspeakers.
Next, a sheep-shearer with a flair for balletic gestures worked while the sound system amplified his clippers and punctuated them with the occasional rhythmic bleat. An interlude featured what sounded like a misfiring motorbike engine, which Pohjonen developed into another pulsing accompaniment to his melody, before venturing a conversation with pigs in their own language.
The pig riffs continued to alternate with human grunts as the farm's human residents stepped up to prepare an ancient potato riddler for the grand climax. As the machine moved vegetables up a conveyor belt, the farmers made as if to sort them. To this essay in agricultural archaeology, Pohjonen addressed a short accordion elegy before letting his falsetto soar over a belting house-style finale.
Broadcaster unveils Christmas scheduleTV
Review: Posh journalists just can't get enough of each otherTV
Jeff Fletcher found fame in 1990s
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Halle Berry takes ex-boyfriend Gabriel Aubry to court for allegedly trying to make daughter look less African-American
- 4 Isis propaganda image showing 'abuse of Muslim woman by soldiers' is actually taken from Hungarian porn film
- 5 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Black Mirror Christmas special: Jon Hamm episode will see people 'blocked' in real life
True Detective series 2: Rachel McAdams cast in female lead as 'no-nonsense' detective
Zoella: YouTube sensation Zoe Sugg's debut novel expected to become overnight bestseller
Naked free runner captured in breathtaking photographs above London's streets
Posh People: Inside Tatler, BBC2 - TV review: Fundamentally not just about posh people
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services