Alexander Tucker, Agathe Max: 81 Renshaw, Liverpool

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Alexander Tucker

Alexander Tucker

Alexander Tucker was at 81 Renshaw to lead an evening of experimentalism and it was well received by Getintothis’ Simon Kirk

With the bank holiday weekend now a distant memory, the fine folk at 81 Renshaw keep the hedonism alive, playing host to Alexander Tucker. Arguably more acclaimed as one half of the duo that is Grumbling Fur, Tucker arrives on Merseyside to promote his new solo album, Don’t Look Away.

There’s a bourgeoning folk scene which has developed in the UK over the last couple of years and while Tucker isn’t directly involved, he elusively operates on the fringes, incorporating these ideas with a rich minimal orchestral touch that compliments the sparse electronic drone that he has mastered on his previous solo albums.

Tucker‘s support tonight comes in the form of violinist, Agathe Max. Her body of work is not limited to music for documentaries, animation/short films, and theatre.

Max quietly takes to the stage with violin intact. It’s the focal point of her performance, as she wields the instrument, creating shards of feedback, accompanied by loops and flickers of piercing sound. The forty-five minutes is quite an unnerving experience. A post-apocalyptic milieu akin to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, circa F♯ A♯ ∞.

With Max deservedly drawing a warm reception from the 81 Renshaw faithful, it’s time for Alexander Tucker to deliver. His solo work has challenged his audience in the past, incorporating electronic drones and neo-classical meanderings.

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Tucker’s latest long-player, Don’t Look Away, is his most conventional release to date. It’s a marriage between the avant-garde and traditional song-writing methods, presented through a cinematic scope.

Any traditionalism found on record is eroded here, though. Objects is probably the closest thing that Tucker will get to the realm of pop, but you wouldn’t know it from tonight. With bass and a slew of effects pedals in his arsenal, Tucker delivers the track with a ferocious intensity. If anything, it sounds like a mutated diseased interpretation of New Order. And my word, it works.

Subsequently, Visiting Again goes the other way, striking the greatest resemblance to its identity on tape. It’s a fine grandiose pop song, possessing the same aura live.

While Don’t Look Away was only released last Friday, it seems that Tucker is not one to rest on his laurels, dropping a new cut entitled Artificial Origin. Along with other new material delivered tonight, it’s full-scale organic drone-rock, as floorboards shudder and pint glasses shake across tables. 

Tucker finishes with Gloops Void (Give It Up), which is fitting, given it’s the most experiential track from the new album and compliments the set perfectly.

While it would have been nice to hear some more new songs – namely Behind the Shoulder and to Z, there’s no escaping the fact that the Alexander Tucker on record is a rather different animal in the flesh. It’s a fine juxtaposition.

What was thought to be night of indulging in experimental folk songs has turned into a night of bass driven, bowel twitching noise. In the realm of rural psychedelia, it’s less Declining Winter and certainly more Flying Saucer Attack. You can’t argue with that.

Images by Getintothis’ Peter Goodbody

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