Immix with John McGrath and Lucy Pankhurst @ Static, Liverpool, 19 November

Live Review by Jon Davies | 27 Nov 2014

In the concluding session of Immix’s highly commended collaboration series, composers John McGrath and Lucy Pankhurst provide a suitably engaging suite, relatively accessible in comparison to the ensemble’s progressive outlook. John McGrath's reputation is still bubbling underground, however his appearances in various guitar ensembles and scratch orchestras, as well as his Lanterns EP, have made him known for dexterous guitar work and the ability to work folky melodies in with complex arrangements. With the help of fellow composer Chloe Mullett, McGrath's work with Immix is less of an overhaul and more of a tasteful augmentation of his music, as if to highlight the ornate nature of his work that is more subtle in a solo capacity. Bringing to mind the likes of Owen Pallett and Grizzly Bear, John McGrath is an artist capable of balancing classical and folk textures to great effect.

Texturally complex yet playful, Lucy Pankhurst's compositions highlight her fantastic understanding in blending technology with her studies in brass and wind instrumentation. Despite opening with a fanfare reminiscent of Benjamin Britten's neoclassicism, Pankhurst's musical approach is anything but conservative, evident on her performance of Cantabiles, playing tenor horn and singing simultaneously. Finishing her suite with the amusing M6 Troll and Signal. Lost., using a stopwatch instead of a conductor, Pankhurst is another example of the rude health in which modern composition is in the UK.