Alongside the Meltdown Festival, Ether is an undeniable highlight of the Southbank Centre's calendar. An annual celebration of inventive, genre-hurdling music, it's previously yielded the sort of unmissable results that range from Jonny Greenwood and Thom Yorke's appearance alongside the London Sinfonietta (2005), through to last year's breathtaking screening of Stanley Kubricks' seminal 2001: A Space Odessy, in which the presumably problematic task of scoring the film live was effortlessly handled by the Philharmonia Orchestra.
This year's programming signals no deviation from the festival's creative, groundbreaking repute. Some of DiS's highligts can be found below, with the full list over at Ether's minisite. At the bottom of the list, you'll find a Spotify playlist featuring some of the artists playing this month's festival.
The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble, Fri Oct 5th
Fittingly, Ether's eleventh instalment begins with a project that bridges the divide between two apparently incompatible genres. Last year's Mr. Machine saw this German trio continue on their mission to create a successful marriage between the realms of techno and classical music, and the results are surprisingly compelling. Their almost entirely acoustic 10-piece live incarnation brings club music to the concert hall, and will surely make for a archetypal Ether performance.
The Brandt Brauer Frick Ensemble
Ghostpoet and Soap & Skin, Sat Oct 6th
Similarly unmistakable in its applaudable dismissal of genre boundaries is a double-bill of Mercury nominated singer and producer Ghostpoet (backed on the night by an immense twenty-piece ensemble), and Austrian pianist and songwriter Soap & Skin. Exactly just how the contrast between the two undeniably talented musicians will play out will remain up for debate until the concert itself, so miss it at your own peril.
Tyondai Braxton and London Sinfonietta, Tues Oct 9th
Surely set to be a highlight of the entire series, ex-Battles man Tyondai Braxton (who, incidentally, comes fresh from a collaboration with Philip Glass in New York as part of ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror) sees his 2009 Warp release Central Market performed in full by members of the Southbank Centre's resident orchestra, the London Sinfonietta, and NYC's Wordless Music Orchestra. The first half of the programme promises to be just, if not more mesmerising, with Leo Hussain conducting the orchestra in a programme of Ingram Marshall, Edgard Varèse, Tory Takemitsu, and The National's Bryce Dessner.
John Cale, Sat Oct 13th
Back in the capital after his 2010 shows that saw the Welsh legend resurrect his seminal album Paris, 1919, John Cale brings his latest, Domino-released record Adventures in Nookie Wood to the Royal Festival Hall.
Mount Kimbie/Raime/Bass Clef/Ekoclef/Airhead, Sat Oct 13th
DiS favourites Mount Kimbie head up an evening curated across two stages by electronic music magazine Resident Advisor. The bill also boasts a new audio-visual show to accompany London-based duo Raime's latest release Quarter Turns Over A Living Line, as well as appearances from Punch Drunk Records' Bass Clef, and R&S's Airhead.
Decasia by Michael Gordon & Bill Morrison, Sun Oct 14th
With the Southbank Centre's Head of Classical Music, Gillian Moore, describing Decasia as ‘one of the best events of the season,’ the collaboration between Bang on a Can's Michael Gordon and film-maker Bill Morrison promises to be an utterly singular event amongst this year's series. Morrison's decaying archive footage is matched with Gordon's equally decaying score, relying entirely on a de-tuned ensemble to lend the footage a peculiar, otherworldly atmosphere.
Chunky Move, Fri+Sat Oct 19th-20th
Bedroom Community regular and Brian Eno student Ben Frost delivers the score to accompany Mortal Engine, a viscerally unrelenting dance-video-laser performance from Australia's Chunky Move dance troupe. The production uses movement-responsive video projections that respond to the dancers' rhythms, making each performance a one-off, time-stamp specific event.