Robert Maycock on Music

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It isn't every night that you'll catch the Smith Quartet playing a London club. As this particular quartet is the classical line-up of four strings and spends most of its time playing pieces by living composers, you may well wonder how it could turn up at a club on any night. That is to reckon without a new project called 'Live and Eclectic at the Ministry of Sound', which opens next week and continues on Thursdays for the rest of the month. Ulterior motives are naturally at work. The main one is to sell the idea of promoting more live performances in clubs which are usually dominated by recorded music and DJs. But the mix of performers is what catches the eye. A gamelan, the free improvisers of the London Musicians' Collective, live art, jazz poetry, the Asian Dub Foundation, Omni Sound System - all this and others too in three separate spaces alongside the DJs who will still be out in force, and running from 10pm until late. For the Smiths, playing on 27 Oct, the start time is 1am, and the LMC have one of the 2.30am spots on the 13 Oct.

Sounds like high-risk programming. . . except that the hidden hand of public funding has been at work. The driving force of Live and Eclectic is Talvin Singh (below), percussionist and composer, whose own band features guitar, bass, and the Bombay-based vocalist, Hariharan, as well as drums from east and west (they play each week at 11.30pm). He has attracted the enthusiastic backing of the London Arts Board, which is keen on taking music across the board to places where people feel at ease with their surroundings. 'I really want both the artists and the audiences to leave their preconceptions at the door,' says Singh.

Ministry of Sound, 103 Gaunt Street, SE1 (071-378 6528)

13, 20, 27 Oct, from 10pm. Admission pounds 7

(Photograph omitted)

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