Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Aurelie at ROH2 Firsts '09

Aurelie presented the latest incarnation of their open-scored Barrow AFC drone opera 'An Unorthodox 1-2' at the Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre in November of last year.
performances from some of the most diverse and genre-defying artists in the UK today.

Firsts is an annual programme of performances from some of the most diverse and genre-defying artists in the UK today.

Originally commissioned by Bifocals Community Arts in 2008 as part of a residency at Barrow AFC, a twenty minute version of the piece was performed over two nights on 24th and 25th November to a full house of 400 people.

Aurelie captured in a rare moment away from the impressive ROH Canteen...

The lineup (left to right) featured the return of Barrow based actor Damian Rose (voice and live manipulation) and artist John Hall (Laptop and samples) in addition to Aurelie stalwarts Glenn Boulter (guitar and samples), Euan Rodger (percussion and electronics), Dave Dhonau (cello and guitar) and Ola Szmidt (flute and vocals).

The whole thing was captured for posterity by Endgame's Jim Tetlow, so watch this space for upcoming footage and details of a planned DVD edition compiling several performances of the piece.

With thanks to Rebecca Hanson for selecting us for Firsts, all of the crew and the receptionist for her entertaining anti-operatic diatribes.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Post-Grimeborn Musings

Aurelie members convened in the capital this Monday for a performance of their football drone opera 'An Unorthodox 1-2'. Sharing the bill with composer Jenni Roditi, the piece was selected for the gala night of the Arcola Theatre's annual festival of alternative opera, Grimeborn.

Regular members Glenn Boulter, Dave Dhonau and Euan Rodger were joined by Barrow-based actor Damian Rose and artist/musician John Hall who was responsible for commissioning the piece as part of a residency at Barrow AFC in 2008. Endgame's Jim Tetlow was also on hand to document the performance.

The show played to a sold-out audience (including Swiss Aurelie fan Aurélie Emery and long-time anti-guitar campaigner Leon Cole) and featured some dextrous live looping from Damian accompanied by cello, crowd samples and electronics. The piece was warmly received, with the only dissenting voice coming from the Independent's hilariously ill-informed theatre critic Michael Coveney:

'Sounds of the terraces have twice been excitingly evoked by Andrew Lloyd Webber in Evita and The Beautiful Game, but Boulter and his gloomy half-hour serial score concentrates on the anomie of an abandoned pitch, wind rustling in the grass, a reiterated litany of unknown players, a solitary fan. We see all that on film while Damian Rose sits hunched over his paper in Barrow's blue-and-white strip and four musicians mix cello and percussion scratching with taped fragments.'

As Euan put it: "If we'd only had a glossy programme and someone ex-eastenders-now-secondary-character-in-the-Bill as the lead. Or perhaps we should try a bio-opera of Madonna in bronze age Britain?"

Luckily the North West Evening Mail were on hand to big us up:
(Click here to read)

Watch this space for news of further performances at the Royal Opera House 2 in November!

Aurelie woud like to thank to Alex Sutton and the Arcola for all their hard work in organising this event. Special thanks go to Nick O'Donnell Smith for his pre-show demonstration of the iPod trombone.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Unorthodox 1-2 at Last FM

A full length preview of An Unorthodox 1-2 is now available on Last FM (

Click here to listen to tracks from An Unorthodox 1-2

Or contact to order a hand-finished limited edition CD
(Priced at £8 inc. P+P within the UK)

‘An Unorthodox 1-2’ combines field recordings, spoken word, and instrumental material to explore the aural environment of the ground from the physical sounds of the game to the emotional response of the crowd and the acoustics of the site. Inspired by his visits to the Holker Street ground, Glenn Boulter produced a series of texts that he later recorded with Barrow-based actor Damian Rose. Drawing on early radio dramas, these fragmentary monologues collage together adverts for defunct local businesses, found text from programmes and details of local geography.

Edited and looped, the spoken texts form the starting point for three instrumental pieces, performed by Aurelie members Francis O’Donnell Smith (guitar, laptop, production), David Dhonau (cello, bass), Euan Roger (percussion, electronics) and Ola Szmidt (flute). Combined, the two elements attempt to capture the unique aura of match day in a Cumbrian town and to make explicit the idea of the game as a performance in its own right.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mogwai at the Canteen 22/11/08

Mogwai's Stuart Braithwaite and Barry Burns get their hands on Aurelie's recent Barrow AFC drone opera An Unorthodox 1-2 and John Hall's book, The Al Mobility Story following their DJ set at the Canteen on Saturday night. The Scottish band are no strangers to mixing art with football having contributed the soundtrack to video artist Douglas Gordon's Zidane: a 21st Century Portrait in 2006. More info at:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BAFC Night at the Canteen Cinema Room 13/11/08

Work from the Barrow AFC Digital Residency received a second showing last Thursday at the Canteen Cinema Room on Barrow Island. The evening included presentations of research materials and documentation from throughout the project as well as film screenings, a 'Bluebirds' DJ set and live performances.

Francis O' Donnell Smith's video installation based around an interview with life-long BAFC fan Geoff Payne screened to a live accompaniment from Glenn, Damian Rose and project organiser John Hall that reworked material from the spoken word and music piece An Unorthodox 1-2. This was followed by a live set of Bluebirds inspired music and video projections from Damian performing as Mondo Bongo. Each set was interspersed with scenes from two silent films from 1920's Germany (both amongst the first football feature films ever produced).

Tracks from the Bluebirds DJ set:

Jandek - Blue Blue World
Sun City Girls - Blue Mambo
Captain Beefheart - Dirty Blue Gene
Cocteau Twins - Bluebell Knoll
Gastr Del Sol - Blues Subtitled 'No Sense of Wonder'
Good Brisk Blue - Mayo Thompson
Neil Young - Birds / Danger Bird
Diamanda Galas - Birds of Death
Smog - Blood Red Bird
Public Image - No Birds
The Residents - Birds in the Trees

Barrow Island Primary School at the Canteen Cinema Room 13/11/08

Children from years 5 and 6 at Barrow Island Primary School visited the Canteen last week for an exhibition of the music, collages and poetry they have produced with artists Glenn Boulter and John Hall. Making use of the Cinema Room's projection and sound facilities, works on show included a series of poems, collages and sound pieces made by the children during workshops with John Hall, poet Kate Davies and musician Sean Blezard as part of the Sightlines Project. The children also had a chance to hear rehearsals and live recordings from the graphic score-based BAFC Orchestra sessions that Glenn led as part of his residency at the club (see previous entries for details). The exhibition concluded with a short live music performance by John and Glenn, feedback and free orange juice.

A selection of the children's feedback on the BAFC Orchestra sessions:

What do you remember about the project?
We drew a musical picture. (Reece – 10)
Playing football, conducting people. (Jack –10)
4 People passed the ball while music was playing in the background. (Joe –11)
We used different instruments to make an orchestra. (Jordan –10)

What did you enjoy about this project?
All the funny sounds, like the frog. (Jack –10)
Finding out about all the instruments and all of the sounds they made. (Mason –10)

That we got to use different objects to make music. (Chloe – 11)

When we got to do it at Barrow AFC. (Sarah –10)
I liked playing the music and listening to the rhythms. (Lucy –10)
The music and the co-operation. (Jake –9)

What was your favourite instrument? How did you play it? What sound did it make?
The pebbles. We banged them on top of each other. A noise like the sea. (Ross – 10)

The radio. By turning the buttons. Like people talking. (Jacob –10)

White computer keyboard. Typing my full name. Tapping and banging. (Jordan –10)

The electric guitar and the wooden guitar. Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. (Bradleigh–9)

What was it like to play at the football ground?
I enjoyed the background music, going to the Barrow AFC football pitch and everything else. (Emily –9)
It was noisy, exciting, loud and fun. (Brandon – 9)

PRESS - October / November 2008

Press leading up to the Barrow AFC Residency night at the Canteen from the official match programme, Barrow Island's Community newspaper Island Eye and the North West Evening Mail.