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Andrew Poppy Concert: Andrew Poppy Sustaining Ensemble - Genevieve Wilkins (marimba, vibraphone, glockenspiel, percussion), Andrew Poppy (piano, electric keyboard, bass guitar, voice), Jez Wiles (vibraphone, glockenspiel, percussion), Kate Halsall (piano, electric keyboard) King’s Place, London, 4.11.2009 (BBr)

The problem with Andrew Poppy is that it’s almost impossible to pigeon–hole him. He’s a minimalist, yes, but he’s quite a different prospect from the people you’d normally associate with minimalism – Glass, Reich, Adams, Nyman. He studied at Kingsway college, where his tutor was the fine composer Dave Smith – we should hear much more of his work. He’s a performer as well as a composer and with Orlando Gough he formed 'Lost Jockey' in about 1981.

For some reason Poppy has never been a big name. I’ve never heard  him being spoken of in the same breath as the composers named before, but he’s worked steadily, produced records – LPs and CDs – and built up an impressive body of work. He’s now formed this new band and started gigging; next month this concert will be repeated in both Oxford and Birmingham.

So what were we treated to tonight? Poppy chose to give us some new arrangements of pieces from the album …and the shuffle of things.  It was a mesmerising kaleidoscope of sound and visuals – a large screen was hung behind the players onto which were projected abstract forms, various colours etc. For the better part of an hour, the four musicians played Poppy’s delicate and hypnotic music without fuss, almost without any obvious sign that they were actually making music – so minimal were their movements. It was all part and parcel of the special sounds Poppy had conjured up for us. One felt honoured to be in the presence of such beautiful, yet restrained, utterances.

I have already written too many words. This isn’t music that demands words: it demands concerts and one hopes that with his new band Poppy will be out there doing just that, putting his special music in front of a live, and hopefully paying, public. Full marks for this presentation: it was worth the long walk from King’s Cross Station to King’s Place.

Bob Briggs

Andrew Poppy's web site is Here

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