Actress + LCO bring ‘R&B concrète’ to the Barbican

Wednesday 3 February 2016
Posted by: amydodero

This week we are busy gearing up for our collaboration with electronic musician / producer Actress (aka Darren Cunningham). We’ve been in the studio with Actress and a team of LCO Soloists since November, working on unique arrangements of Actress’ existing catalogue alongside new material created especially for this performance, in a one-off project curated by Boiler Room and LCO.

The culmination of this collaboration will be a live performance on Wednesday 10 February at the Barbican Centre, one of London’s finest examples of Brutalist architecture and a landscape renowned for its sublime and savage beauty: the perfect setting for an evening of ‘R&B concrète’.


LCO co-Artistic Director Robert Ames says in a recent Boiler Room video that working with Actress is  “…a true blending of live electronic manipulation and acoustic sound… like we are creating a new hybrid instrument.”

To realise this hybrid ‘Actress + LCO’ sound, Katherine Tinker will be playing a prepared piano affected by Blu-Tack and the lower strings scraped with Oyster cards and dampened with heavy books. Percussionist Sam Wilson brings temple bowls, plastic bags, a suffocated marimba and more to the mix, while the project’s orchestrator and arranger, Hugh Brunt, “unravels” Actress’ synthesized orchestral sounds “like a code-breaker” (so says Cunningham himself in the same video).

Talking to the Barbican Podcast last week Hugh describes Actress’ music as “clarity underpinned with diamond-hard musical ideas and gestures. Beautifully realised, beautifully conceived.” Listen to Hugh and Robert in conversation with the Barbican below:

This event is now sold out but will be streamed live by Boiler Room. Details will be on our Facebook page soon.

This project has been curated by Boiler Room and the LCO with the support of Arts Council England and the backing of leading British independent record label Ninja Tune, with additional support from NTS.

Categories: News