7 Jul 2006
Steve Martland / Endymion live @ Purcell Room 
On Wednesday, former Factory Classical mainstay Steve Martland played a rare UK concert at the Purcell Room (aka "the tomb" (c) Martland 2006) on London's South Bank. He was conducting the Endymion collective through a programme of original Martland and other pieces.

The small stage was filled with which he described as a "tomb" later) with grand piano, marimba, drums, electric bass, electric guitar, violin, trumpet, bugle, trombone, and 3 (count 'em) saxophonists.

Programme highlights included "Kick", originally written for Euro 96 (no idea why that was included ;-) though Martland made a cheeky comment that he was glad England didn't make it to the semi-final because there would've been a bit of divided loyalty from the audience, not least from your correspondent) and "Beating The Retreat", written as a response to the Criminal Justice repetitive beats legislation and commissioned by the BBC.

Martland does not play, preferring to compose for others. He also conducts in a rather athletic, dancing style. Indeed, during the talk which followed afterwards (unbilled, except for in th programme) it came out that he plays the piano badly and is a frustrated dancer. Apparently, he had wanted to become a dancer as a boy but, Billy Elliott-style, he wasn't allowed to by his dad(!).

From the beginning, the talk took on some quite serious overtones, touching as it did on death and life (in that order I think). Martland, now an Italian resident, bemoaned the UK's classical music establishment and explained why pop musicians should never be allowed to receive government subsidies (and why he's never got any either!).

And so may it remain...

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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

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