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Five Unforgettable Moments: Bristol New Music

A desk with musical hardware lit by an led light

Last week we were treated to a city-wide celebration of experimental music, sound and space. Featuring performers across all disciplines, sounds and styles.

Audiences joined us across four days of commissioned works which took place at venues across the city including Arnolfini and St George’s Bristol, and rarely used spaces such as the vaults underneath Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Here are five unforgettable moments from the festival.

A large concert hall with lights projected onto the ceiling

Still House Plants. Photo by Dominika Scheibinger

The opening night saw St George’s Bristol act as an atmospheric setting for a trio of incredible live acts including a special ensemble performance of Mica Levi’s star star star (co-commissioned with Barbican), alongside Still House Plants and Joanne Robertson.

The musicians brought a raw and experimental energy to the space, much to the delight of the audience.

Abstract projections on a cavernous tunnel arch

Sedimentary Stone Tape by Kelly Jayne Jones. Photo by Giulia Spafadora (Soul Media UK)

A performance of Sedimentary Stone Tape by Kelly Jayne Jones took a lucky few deep into a vaulted chamber under Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Film work by Kevin Craig was projected onto the walls, catching reflections on the stalactites hanging above the crowd (all wearing hard hats for safety!).

Exploring deep time resonances from the rock, the experience was “an audiovisual clash of natural and artificial, in an incredible space” (London Jazz News).

A musician performing on a MIDI keyboard with an array of effects pedals and audio devices on a desk.

Angel Bat Dawid. Photo by Giulia Spafadora (Soul Media UK)

Over at Arnolfini, Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, Angel Bat Dawid played a life-affirming and celebratory solo-live performance on Saturday afternoon.

The prolific artist captured the hearts and minds in “an audience-artist bonding experience as much as a musical one.” (London Jazz News).

A crowd of people in a street and a person with a cap playing a piano on top of a dustbin
Bristol New Music: Song Of Place, Easton, 2022, photography by Giulia Spadafora | Soul Media UK

Áine O Dwyer. Photo by Giulia Spafadora (Soul Media UK)

Bristol New Music took to the streets of Easton where residents became the cast of an improvisational street opera by Irish artist Áine O Dwyer.

This naturally found composition took on the mundane elements of the residential surroundings and gave it new life much to the curiosity of the crowd.

A crowd of people silhouetted against film projection

Nosferatu rescored by Surgeons Girl. Photo by Dominika Scheibinger

Closing the festival was a special screening of F.W. Murnau’s classic silent film Nosferatu, A Symphony of Horror (1922), accompanied by an exceptional live performance by modular synth musician Surgeons Girl.

Bristol New Music will return in 2024