Freiraum 1

nightjars freiraum1In a time when the world seems to be collapsing in on itself, the Freiraum event in Carlisle on 09.12.18 was a huge moment in a small town. To hear poems in Urdu, Greek, Kurdish, Arabic, German and English was a delight that goes beyond artistic. Congratulations to Phil H., who has seen the project through. We all mentioned Nick P. a lot on Sunday – but the truth is that these events can only be seen through by those that are here. Phil, you did an amazing job.

As for myself, I can barely remember nightjars playing – but there are pictures, so it must be so. I have had some lovely communications about what nightjars played – and thank you to everyone for that. I have also had some questions about how I make the ‘sonic guitar’ noises, too; sorry to disappoint: it’s a secret.

I would like to take a moment to fully acknowledge my fellow nightjars, who were titanic in their musicianship and commitment to what started out as a leap of faith in a concept. Nicci Read is a brilliant singer and guitar player, but her keyboard work – as I hope we showed – is lush and evocative (listen again to the descending chords on ‘Skeltonics’, if you can’t remember). Nicci’s playing completely rejuvenated the project with its organisation and class. And now to John. As you will have heard, John is a really good guitar player, but he is also a really good accompanist; those two things rarely go hand in hand. When John came to my house in the summer I played him dozens of records and tried to articulate a form. I talked about ‘The Compleat Dancing Master’, Bark Psychosis, Virginia Astley’s record From The Gardens Where We Feel Secure; I played him Richard Skelton’s first record, Flying Saucer Attack and Brian Eno’s On Land. And when I played him Tortoise’s Millions Now Living Will Never Die he said ‘It sounds like Neu!’ That’s when I knew this was going to work. nightjars is one of the best things I have ever done – I’m really proud of it. We hope you liked it, too.

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