I Care If You Listen | Deep and Low: Australian ensembles meet in London tunnel shaft

Ruthless Jabiru and Decibel New Music Ensemble at the Brunel Museum © Billie Tün (Courtesy of Ruthless Jabiru)

CAROLINE POTTER on 08 December, 2022 (I Care If You Listen)

London has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of quirky venues. On 02 December a pair of Australian ensembles collaborated in a concert in Rotherhithe, in southeast London, on the banks of the River Thames. The performances took place at the Grand Entrance Hall, Brunel Museum — the former entrance shaft to the Thames Tunnel, designed by the engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. First used as a concert venue as early as 1827, the tunnel is today used by trains, and the striking soot-blackened walls of the underground entrance hall make it look like an abstract artwork. The huge thundersheet in the percussion setup only enhanced this impression that the concert took place in an art installation.

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Planet Hugill | Swirling, static energy: Ruthless Jabiru & Decibel New Music Ensemble at Brunel Museum


Ruthless Jabiru, Decibel New Music Ensemble, soloist Cat Hope and conductor Kelly Lovelady at the Brunel Museum © Billie Tün (Courtesy of Ruthless Jabiru)

Kaija Saariaho: Neiges, Lindsay Vickery & Ian Rawes (London Sound Survey): Bascule [2016] for ensemble and field recording (European premiere), Tansy Davies: Feather and Groove, Pedro Alvarez: Intersperso-Ultradiano (European premiere); Julius Eastman: The Holy Presence of Joan d’Arc; Cat Hope: Never at Sea (World premiere); Decibel New Music Ensemble & Ruthless Jabiru at the Brunel Museum

Reviewed by Florence Anna Maunders, 02 December 2022 (Planet Hugill)

Two exciting ensembles of Australian musicians unite under the Thames

The exotically-monikered Ruthless Jabiru are a chamber orchestra of Australian musicians who live and work in London, under the leadership of their artistic director—Kelly Lovelady. In this London concert, held in the unique ambience of Brunel’s first tunnel under the Thames at the Brunel Museum (02 December 2022), they were joined by the Australian Decibel New Music Ensemble, in the UK as part of a European tour, to create a large, and intriguingly bass-heavy, musical group performing music by Kaija SaariahoLindsay VickeryTansy DaviesPedro Alvarez, Julius Eastman and Cat Hope.

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