Vieux Farka Toure
Addictive TV's Orchestra of Samples
A whole ethnomusicology experience from around the world in one evening
Thursday 2nd June, 7.00pm
Sheffield University Drama Studio
(In collaboration with Sheffield University)
The Addictive TV gig, on the 2nd June was definitely an event to immerse yourself in. A mesmerising evening of rhythmic dialogues, digitally co-ordinated video clips, live music with guitar, percussion, keyboards and voice, all interlaced with a barrage of techno kit occupying centre stage. The technical skill of Addictive TV to put all this together in a musically accessible way was testament to their commitment to their Orchestra of Samples project. It was an almost literal example of World Music in action all on one stage !
In the first set the visually illustrated discussion of discovery and music with the Addictive TV team laid bare the fundamentals of how they produce their collective sound. This was followed by an enthralling all music second half featuring Sarah Yaseen (Rafiki Jazz) on vocals and Ford Collier (Mishra) on percussion.
The addition to our usual format of Jamaican DJ & MC Souls Liberation brought a new energy and continuity to the gig, which was particularly appreciated in keeping the audience engaged as technical problems were causing a delay to the start. Many thanks to Souls Liberation for a great job and some great tunes.
My thanks to audience member Stuart Bolton for the review below, a shorter version of which was also featured in Now Then – thanks to Sam Gregory. And, as ever, my thanks to all the TalkingGigs volunteers and Nick Potter and all the crew from Sheffield University.
All photographs by Philippa Richardson
The whole world on stage for one night in Sheffield.
We had had a long drive back from London and were too tired and hungry to even think about cooking so decided to treat ourselves to a pizza. In the shop next door to Porter Pizza (check them out if you are ever in Sheffield) I spotted a poster for Talking Gig’s Addictive TV’s: Orchestra of Samples.
As our pizzas were being made, I checked the internet and my interest was further piqued by an enticing description of sampling adventures, global travel and sonic collage. So I contacted a few friends and soon had bought four tickets.
On the night of the gig we met in the pub next-door to grab a quick pint before going in to the venue. Entering the old church that is Sheffield University drama studio it was cool and dark, in contrast to outside, and with tables laid out cabaret style we sat down near the front. On a low stage were an array of digital kit, cables, electronic, stringed and percussion instruments, and backed by a large projection screen.
Having been to a Talking Gig pre-Covid I had an idea of the format. In the first half Graham, Mark and Francois described how Addictive TV had organically grown a bank of thousands of video and sound samples from over 300 musicians from around the world. They shared some video footage before giving us an insight in to the time consuming process of creating a track. This involves laboriously trawling through samples to discover the unlikely, surprising and never heard before combinations of voices and instruments.
In the second half Addictive TV treated us to their blend of digitally recorded and live improvisation, joined by versatile percussionist Ford Collier (who I saw the month before playing in a different Sheffield church with his band Mishra - is there a religious theme developing here?) and the beautiful vocals of Manchester based Sufi singer Sarah Yaseen.
It was a memorable end to the gig as Sarah grabbed me by the hand and pulled me up to join the band and others from the audience to reel and dance around the stage. A chance for me to join the rest of the world on stage with Addictive TV for one night in Sheffield.