A tribute to a seminal art pop album could seem to some, perhaps paradoxically, the most surprising performance to find at a music festival dedicated to exploring the latest experimental and cutting edge sounds.
But it was a delight to find at the end of an enlightening, creative and even humorous seven days of Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival performances.
This was a week in which I encountered minimalist drone electronica, forest noises created from milk frothers and spray cans, and human sounds that seemed to come from the deepest depths of insanity and horror.
London music group, Apartment House, was the collective behind the performance at Bates Mill in Milford Street, in which they covered legendary Brian Eno’s Another Green World in a stunning hour-long set.
And although on first listen it was easily more accessible than other works on the festival bill, Apartment House’s faithful interpretation helped to remind Eno fans what a ground-breaking release it was, due to its heavier focus on instrumental parts, which spawned a new journey for Eno into ambient music.
It also showcased the breadth of talent amongst the band’s members, who are renowned within the avant-garde music world for projects, such as their own experimental compositions to renditions of the lesser-known works of boundary-pushing composers, such as John Cage, which have gained a faithful yet niche audience.
Seamlessly gliding their way from the album’s beginning to finish, the band had no difficulty in resurrecting the style, soul and sounds of the album, in which they used mainly the same layered mix of instruments, including double bass, guitars, drums and keyboards, that made sure, like in Eno’s original, to not give preference to the vocals.
A beautiful, flawless cover, Apartment House proved their dexterity at tackling all manor of compositions, while paying a fitting tribute to one of the musicians who played a leading role in bringing experimental instrumental music into popular culture.
That, surely, is an accomplishment that sums up all that HCMF strives for through its annual week long events.