Bates Mill Photographic Studios
Part 1, Wish I’d bothered to read the programme guide, “as much as the accordion sits at the core of his practice, the body and physical presence of the musician is centred, just as much as the music in his work.” Says the hcmf notes. They had the first part right. Approached accordion, on, off, reapproach, off, on – think an athlete practising walk up to starting blocks. Poses, stances, leaps, strides. Then C90 Cassettes inserted, accordion accompanied, then explanations of Cryptocurrencies, and other subjects; Tai-Chi poses, statements, films of tractors, plants, messages. Andreas leaping around on stage, curious poses, bad leaps to head imaginary balls, all very, just pretentious, in a bad, tedious way. Loads of people were enthusiastic, I obviously missed something.
Was it worth a 20 minute post-industrial stroll? It was a full house with only a few renegades like me, the openly unimpressed. I sat thinking “wot the…” . The first set ended. I was considering leaving, even if I had paid over a tenner. Glad I stayed for the second half.
Part 2 was very different. Andreas and accordion, his melancholic playing was superb, and matched perfectly his part spoken, part sung, lifewriting, of discovering his sexuality, child rearing, partner’s death. There are stories of his sons’ early years; discovering love, their own musical development, and his love of the ‘Goldberg Variations’. The playing and voice reminded me of Ivor Cutler1, and Ivor’s stories “Scenes from a Scottish Sitting room”. Minus the dry humour, but with a similar melancholy. As the story develops so too the playing, highs and lows, light and dark. Moments of humour, there’s insight into life’s stresses and pain, happiness and sadness.
1 Ivor Culter an esoteric ‘70s performer, one of Virgin Records first signings, who has to be heard to understood.
So it really was a performance of two parts, and worth the walking the water splattered streets and pavements to witness.
Main Image of Andreas Borregaard by Caroline Bittencourt