Honk! Pronk! and NYC – Perhaps Contraption hit America

We’re very excited to be jetting off to the East Coast of America to perform at Honk!
– here are some show times for you.

** updated 17th October with extra shows in New York! **

SOMERVILLE HONK!

Friday 11th October 3pm – Honk! in the Neighbourhoods
– and at 7pm – Lantern Parades – Sidewalk processions around Davis Square accompanied by bike lights, paper lanterns, flashlights, and other DIY lighting

Saturday 12th October 12.30pm – Opening Ceremonies – in 7 Hills Park
– and during the rest of the day in Davis Square, More than 30 activist street bands, from around the world, perform outdoors for free.

Sunday 13th October 12pm – “Reclaim the streets for horns, bikes and feet” – parading from Davis Square to Harvard Square’s Oktoberfest celebration
– and at 2pm – Oktoberfest – playing on the big stage in Harvard Square
– and then at 8pm, we perform at the Honk! Festival All-band Blowout Concert

PRONK! in Providence

Monday 14th October 5pm – Parade down Wickenden St with the other bands
– and at 7pm, we play by the hurricane barrier and at the Hot Club

HONK NYC

Tuesday 15th October 10pm – a show at Littlefield in Brooklyn

Wednesday 16th October 6.30pm – parading in East Village
– and at 12.30am, Felicity Status joins Alev Lenz at Googie’s Lounge on Ludlow Street.

Thursday 17th October at midnight – we play for Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, in the Manderley Bar at the The McKittrick Hotel!

Friday 18th October – school appearances in the morning
– at 6pm at the Coney Island USA bar, 1208 Surf Avenue
– and at 11pm, a big show at the Gowanus Ballroom
– with a party with massed bands on the F train in between

 

Saturday 19th October 7pm – we parade and create a live film score to Benh Zeitlin’s “Egg” at the New York Hall of Science.

We hope to see some of you there!

Secret Garden Party show times

Fresh from our show in the wonderful Curve Garden in Dalston, greetings from a slightly bigger garden near Huntington! If you’re coming along, you can catch us at the following times and places. If you’re nearby, catch our radio set on 87.9 Secret FM.

Thursday 25th July 7pm – Opening Ceremony Parade – follow our sounds as the fires around the festival are lit

Friday 26th July 4pm-ish – Secret FM – live set on the festival radio
– and at 10.15pm – Badger Badger Woods – cabaret with One Taste and stage set

Saturday 27th July 9pm – Oddball Dancehall
– and at 3am – Woodburner Stage

Sunday 28th 7.30pm – Closing Ceremony Parade

Parading at SGP 2011
Parading at SGP 2011

See you there.

Glastonbury, Amanda Palmer

June kicked off another busy summer for us. We journeyed to the Northern Aldborough Festival to finish off their season, supporting an Abba tribute band. Dropping in to the picturesque grounds of Houghton Hall, we serenaded weary Wynstock-ers over brunch.

Next was the mighty Glastonbury! As well as a return to the bandstand, the Lizard Lounge, Piano Bar, Sweet Charity and Stairway to Heaven in Shangri-La were all treated to a brassy blast. We mourned our missing sousa-power but enjoyed a harder edged bass of baritone saxophone and bass trombone. As it turned out, Amanda Palmer stumbled upon us and over pizza she invited us out on her tour.

Exceedingly excited to be on board with her, Perhaps Contraption graced the hub of the Roundhouse floor, surrounded by her appreciative fans, and had a blast! Upon the stage we helped out the tuxedo-bearing Jherek Bischoff on one of his songs, and Ms Palmer herself for Leeds United. Some photos are below:

A couple of days later we appeared in a similar fashion at Bristol O2 Academy, a welcome return to the band’s roots all those years ago…

Perambulations – our newest video is unleashed!

After months of work behind the scenes, here is our film for Perambulations. It’s not just a video, you can explore the performance and click on performers to see it from their point of view. See it nice and big with all the info you could need on the Perambulations page and take a look at some photos below.

Credits

Perhaps Contraption are:
Charlotte Webber, Deedee Window, Chuckles the Clown, Emily Cunliffe, Felicity Status, Iain Mcdonald, Matt Jolly, Mickey Bones, and Squier Squier

Dancers
Flavia Bertram, Carly Blackburn, Lauren Bridle, Lucy Ridley of the People Pile, Lotan Sapir, Malik Ibheis

Lighting design by Anna Barrett
Director of Photography – Tom Maine
Movement Director – Lotan Sapir
Edited by Matt Jolly
Grip – Martin Tucker
Audio production by Peter Zed
Mixed at the Premises Studios by Peter Zed & Squier Squier.
Additional production assistance by Oliver Barton-Wood and Tom Carmichael.
Mastered at Electric Mastering, London by Guy Davie.

Directed by Squier Squier.

Interactive video concept inspired by Peter Zed.

With thanks to the Musicians Benevolent Fund and for their generous support.

Filmed at The Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham, April 2013.

A Convoluted History of Perhaps Contraption, 2004 – Present

Perhaps Contraption is some sort of ever-evolving, genre-bridging musical performance collective. It has morphed through various styles and lineups to arrive at what we experience today. I write this mainly to document my own journey, (for nostalgia and improvement) but if you are at all intrigued as to how I arrived at this current musical location, read on.

The first incarnation was founded in Bristol, March 2004. It was assembled on a course named Access to Music. We blurted out avant-rock and psychedelic folk detritus, alongside a healthy obsession with Frank Zappa, the Rock in Opposition movement and augmented 4th’s.

The name emerged from a general scrambling and merging of my most liked words. I soon realised the “perhaps” part came to represent the lashings of improvisation we used to create and perform our music. The “contraption” represents the love of intricate, mathematical structures. It just seemed to fit, so stick it did.

The device began as a rock quartet; exploring bendy time signatures, maximalism, free improvisation and spontaneous theatrical outbursts. Herein a fascination with discord and harmony, (surprise and comfort) evolved throughout a feverish period of writing, improvising and performing on the Bristol music scene.

Live shows were infused with the humour and tragedy of contemporary society; swilling a confused political/existential brine and spewing it forth in frenetic fits of meticulously mathematical rock, surrealism and performance art.
Spectacles included a range of absurdities. “Singing” with a mouth stuffed full of cutlery was a common occurrence, as was mugging planted audience members, tape machine defibrilators, sermons from the Argos catalogue, blood capsules and also parsnip glasses were a few of our early performance “highlights”.

During this desperate, exciting period our first two albums Sludge and Tripe and Business were written, refined and gradually recorded. This seemingly inexorable process spanned 5 years, yet the official releases arrived much later.

We established a work method. Themes, structures and lyrics were generally sketched by myself, and then brought to the rehearsal room to be embellished by the talents of the others. Without their insight and enhancement, the ideas would have probably collapsed.
Documenting these songs became my painstaking obsession; where I cut my teeth on composition, engineering and production (alongside all the practical and irksome considerations of self-releasing an album). Blissful musical ignorance and zeal reigned.

In 2005 the core moved to East London after (miraculously) receiving a grant to enroll on an artist development course at The British Academy of New Music.
Yet, for various confusing, painful and farcical reasons, the band promptly imploded halfway through 2005.

Undeterred, a number of feverish shows as a 2 piece with DeeDee followed, and from the rubble a new ensemble emerged. This began with Mr. Pimi Mayfair on Bass (who thankfully heard Sean Organ play our music on the almighty Resonance 104.4 FM). Soon after, Gideon Brazil on tenor saxophone and Zara Gaze on bassoon joined. A creative union was also formed with the ever unique Susie Showers; who became the band’s muse, poet and general ukulele brandishing wonder woman.

The new group continued to perform for little money or glory on the London avant music scene.
But still, somehow, it made me happy with it’s own unique insights, challenges and idiosyncrasies.
In early 2008 we self-recorded an as yet, unreleased 3rd album of “difficult” music at our capacious ex-catholic woman’s hostel in Stoke Newington. It still waits patiently in the sonic vaults.

By mid 2008, after years of exploration and production dead-ends, Sludge & Tripe was finally completed. Yet it wasn’t until 2009 that the funds were secured to press and formally release this monolith (thankfully, to a fanfare of positive reviews from the avant music community). Thus, the beast was finally purged from my ailing system. It was during the summer of 2009 that this lineup wangled our way into Glastonbury Festival for the first time. It felt good.

Shortly after (early 2010) our second album, Business was released as a download and CDr in bizzarre limited edition bespoke yellow latex packaging created by ourselves and Am Statik.
An altogether gentler, more coherent effort than its predecessor based around finger-picked acoustic guitar and woodwind. The production talents of Peter Z helped this come into fruition much more swiftly.

In the summer of 2010 a new incarnation returned to Glastonbury, this time cutting our teeth as a nascent roving ensemble. I felt a pull away from a reliance on rock and electricity. And so, utilising the mutant-pram-kit, an acoustic guitar, an intricate bell lyre harness system for Susie Showers, and enrolling the help of the illimitable Mickey Bones on trombone we paraded around Pilton’s grubby pathways and stages, peddling new material.

After this experiment, Susie Showers and myself ventured to Burning Man, Black rock city, Nevada, to air our burgeoning 2 piece show. This set combined comedy, Susie’s incredible poetry and intimate warblings stinking of English whimsy. From manifestos for the sandwich to questions about your orgasms, the set was a success. An album entitled Parlour Games containing this material has been recorded. This too waits patiently in the vaults.
Crucially, during this excursion we joined forces for a string of performances in the desert with the Transformational Fire Conclave All Stars Marching Band. This group, curated especially for the event, had the esteemed honour of parading around the man before he was ignited. Such was one of the most wondrous experiences of our little lives; mobile, acoustic and united in song.

The dusty epiphany therein inspired me to return home and curate a new brass driven, roving incarnation of Perhaps Contraption. This decision tested my composition skills by removing the crutch of the guitar and electricity from the equation, and adding more acoustic awareness and choreography.
And so, by May 2011, through a process of perspiration and serendipity, the 8 piece Mobile Device was born.