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Martin Creed Performs at Edel Assanti

October 22, 2010

The Turner-Prize winning artist Martin Creed and his band performed at Edel Assanti on Wednesday night.

In the intimate setting of the gallery’s basement space, Creed wooed the crowd with his minimalist sound set against the backdrop of his art films.

Drums, bass and keyboard joined Creed’s guitar and voice to produce pared down explorations of rhythm and language. Creed’s sculptural work has consisted of a screwed up piece of paper and a piece of blue-tack stuck to a wall, and he makes music in the same way that he makes art: his songs were short, powerful and to the point.

‘Fuck off’ (the song which Creed always plays last to his audiences), consisted purely of these two lyrics, and throughout the song the instruments mimic the harsh staccato of the two words in aggressive bursts.

Many of the songs engaged in sequences that built up steadily, only to end with abrupt silence. For instance ‘AAAA, BBBB, CCCC…’ and so on, sung phonetically, until he reached ‘YYYY, ZZZZ’. Or one of the last songs, in which Creed appeared to be counting in the band (‘1, 2, 3, 4’) but in fact carried on counting for the entire song. The song ended at 100, and was meant to finish the gig, but the crowd called for encore and Creed proceeded again from 101 to 200.

Live experience of Creed’s band is unique and can bring out unexpected responses in the crowd. Some looked offended by the aggression of ‘Fuck Off’; others laughed and joked about the large filmed penis stretching its way along the screen behind; disgust was expressed at the visual showing a woman defecating.

When the room fell silent in anticipation of the start of the gig, Creed commented that ‘a sign of a good relationship is when you can be silent together. I’m just going to play over the silence’. In true minimalist fashion Creed’s music honours silence as much as it does sound; like his art, which examines the spaces between objects as much as it does those objects themselves. With this in mind, surely the best place to experience Creed’s sound is in a packed, echoey Vauxhall basement.

Read Gillian Orr’s review of Creed’s music in the Independent.

Films from the live performance:


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