Ectopia: A Merry–Go–Round
I keep thinking that it feels like walking into a J. M. W. Turner painting, although it was his contemporary Constable who painted the Heath over and over again. Most of these canvases are now held in storage with only a few on display at the V&A. In fact, the two romantic painters were artistically at war with each other, with Constable criticising Turner’s work as ‘just steam and light’. However, it might be exactly those ephemeral, atmospheric images of romantic landscapes that make me think of Turner when I think of the large, ancient park with its ponds in North London.
But this is actually about Ectopia, a music project by Adam Christensen, Jack Brennan and Vicky Steiri. It is hard to tell where performance art stops and band starts. Talking to them about their music, the inappropriateness of terms like band, song, gig or improvisation, rehearsal and demo tapes cause slightly embarrassed laughter.
It makes sense that they perform at art institutions like the ICA for Jack Smith’s ‘Normal Love’, or for Spartacus Chetwynd’s ‘The Lion Tamer’ at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. It is quite ephemeral and atmospheric, too, like scenes from acoustic landscapes.
Recently Adam moved into a small caravan in the very picturesque Vale of Health – you can’t live closer to nature in central London. Instead of a shower he goes for morning swims in the men’s pond and keeps a record of the A-list celebrities amongst the swimmers. The actual site of the caravan is featured in two paintings by Mark Gertler (from 1916) and Sir Stanley Spencer (from 1923) on display at Tate Britain in two consecutive rooms. Both show a now gone Merry-Go-Round.
Ectopia: life/section [Wysing Polyphonic]
The first vinyl release on the Wysing Polyphonic label, Ectopia’s life/section is a journey into sad acid house, scratched DVDs, lipstick clogged with rolling tobacco and hangovers with absent lovers.