Photos: Blackest Ever Black Showcase, Corsica Studios
On a brisk October night in London, Berlin’s mighty Blackest Ever Black returns to Corsica Studios, bringing another showcase of its ever-growing roster to SE17’s old railway arches. This year’s edition features both veteran and virgin artists of the label, with stunning performances from Tarquin Manek, Carla Dal Forno, and Chain of Flowers.
Melbourne-based experimental sound artist and multi-instrumentalist Tarquin Manek has become a fundamental figure on Blackest Ever Black, both as a member of F ingers and Tarcar alongside Carla Dal Forno, and as a solo artist tonight.
Manek’s stage persona is curious; he rarely stays still during his show. He defies categorization, leaping between unstable electronic patterns with instinctual ease, unfolding his stories in both serious and silly tones. Through different textures and contrasting moods, his narrative, whether improvised, composed, or both, seems that of deep self-reflection and examination.
Carla Dal Forno, long-time associate of Blackest Ever Black, is now working as a solo artist and performs in support of her debut LP You Know What It’s Like set for release at the end of October.
Dal Forno’s music is vivid with a sense of time and place – elements of everyday experience, of a simple but profound willingness to experience life as fully as possible, are reflected by a combination of evocative lyrical vocals and warped synth melodies. Casting an elusive gaze over the audience, she plays the haunting “What You Gonna Do Now,” “Better Yet,” and “Fast Moving Cars” along a number of instrumental tracks. It sets a solemn mood while retaining an implied romantic hope before fading away in the last notes. The crowd lingers, spellbound.
With such a strong line-up, it seems there wasn’t a single true headliner, but that feeling diminishes the moment Chain of Flowers hit the stage.
Often called one of the most promising young bands to emerge from the UK in years, with a history of playing in various Cardiff hardcore bands before forming and maturing their sound. The hardcore influences are still present but heavy shoegaze and post-punk are their focus.
Tonight is no exception to their signature whirling, high energy shows. They play a stormy set, creating a dark, noisy cloud of sound that is also beautifully melancholic, though anything but nostalgic.
Blackest Ever Black London showcase took place on October 15th. It was also joined by AD Jacques, Andrew Ingram, Felix K, Dynamo Dreesen, Pessimist, DJ Benetti, Ossia, and Kenny White.