LIVE REVIEW: BIG|BRAVE, Fågelle @ The Cluny 2, Newcastle (12.04.22) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: BIG|BRAVE by Mathieu Ball

Based in Berlin but emerging out of the Swedish experimental scene, Fågelle’s music encompasses a wide range of approaches and sounds whilst retaining a coherent and consistent vision. Starting out with field recordings of placid birdsong, much of her performance sets her strong, reaching voice and sense of folk melodicism against increasingly fragmented, distorted bursts of electric guitar and decomposing noise loops. This constant push and pull could feel confusing, but in Fågelle’s hands these extremes come together to form a complete overview of the mutability and permeability of song form and our experience of reality.

As evidenced on last year’s stunning album Vital, BIG|BRAVE’s work deals in punishing, bruising physicality but also in oblique, almost inexpressible psychological states, glimpses of turmoil and transcendence held aloft within the amplified roar. It’s unsurprising then that tonight’s performance brings the volume – every guitar crunch, every crash of Tasy Hudson’s drums and soar of Robin Wattie’s voice hurls forward with maximum impact – but it’s the subtlety and nuance that exists within each composition that impresses the most. The cataclysmic stop/start dynamics present on Of This Ilk display the band’s extremity, whilst throughout the dramatic interplay between Mathieu Ball and Wattie’s guitars delights, avoiding chords or standard arpeggio patterns for intricate, discordant call and response and grinding low end, submerging Appalachian melodicism within their vast sound but leaving a ghost trail behind. Closing out with a thunderous Half Breed, BIG|BRAVE continue to dig deeper still into their own distinct territory.

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