On the fourth day of the Festival, Marilyn Mazur’s Spirit Cave played the South Bank's Purcell Room. Going for a seat in the centre of the front row was a big mistake, one that could be likened to getting a bad place at Wimbledon. There was so much going on from both sides of the room it was hard to keep up! With a title like this it would be easy to believe that it would just be a showcase of percussion by the leader. There were forces going on here with trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer one side of the stage and electronics guru Jan Bang wearing a natty trilby hat and guitarist Eivind Aarset seated next to him - all three master luminaries of soundscapes using the Punkt concept of live re-mix.
The first piece was the longest of the set with a quiet opening of shakers and bells and then a drone from Molvaer joined by Jan Bang bouncing back the remixed percussion with Eivind Aarset’s gentle underlying guitar. Molvaer would emit loud piecing brass that he would let fall away to enter a slow interlude with Jan Bang before the mellow trumpet would soon rise again with Mazur in full swing with an invigorating rock beat. After a while all slowed to the sounds of small gongs, cymbals and tom-toms with Aarset’s keening guitar beneath. NPM returned, both blowing and adding voice into the bell of his trumpet, Bang sounding off remixed sounds and again the restrained guitar of Aarset. Mazur would take up the rhythm with trap drums. Can Punkt get heavier than this?
The second piece started with Marilyn on kalimba, playing a folk tune that is soon taken up by all. Mazur adds delicate drumming and returns full circle, ending with kalimba.
The third and final part of the set started with Aarset and Bang very quietly, soon joined by Molvaer and Mazur's heavy bass beats and shakers. She then moved to the front of the stage and began using sticks on wood, dustbins and a wheel-hub. Bang and Aarset added colour and texture while a wonderfully majestic theme developed, Marilyn on swirling bells and the a clay pipe at the front of the stage before returning to dustbins with Bang and Aarset (both very animated!). Molvaer played a very heavy dense melody the band and the band moved towards playing in unison. Grunts and groans sound out from Bang and Aarset, again with Marilyn on trap drums adding another heavy rhythm until the guitarist and sampler bring it quietly to a close. It was great to hear these players sculpt out magical sounds from the North and Southern Hemisphere.