Monday, 30 July 2012

AG8tet - blowing my own trumpet.

Since the past year (or less) I've been rehearsing with the AG8tet. AG = Antoine Guenet, a keyboard player I met whilst playing for a short while with Michel Delville's Wrong Object. Antoine and I enjoyed writing and playing tricky charts for that group, and since we had plenty of shared references (music and musicians) I was very happy that when he decided to form his AG8tet he invited me to be a part of that project. The basic principal for his octet is 3 groups made up of two trios, and one duo. The groups are as follows : 

Antoine Guenet : Yamaha CP-80 Electric Grand Piano
Susan Clynes : Vocals

Steven Delannoye : Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Lieven Van Pee : Double Bass
Simon Segers : Drums

Joe Higham : Tenor Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Dries Geusens : Electric Bass
Stijn Cools : Drums

The music that Antoine writes is written differently (mostly) for each ensemble. That means that whilst one group is busy counting away in 5/8 the other one may be counting their scores in 7/4 etc. There's also a fair bit of room to decide (in some cases) which notes you decide to play also as sometimes you have rows of notes to play in rhythmic groups, of which you must choose when and how to play. Antoine seems to play both parts, making a kind of harmonic glue which holds the whole thing together. Susan Clynes writes the words which at times reminds me of Annette Peacock's psychedelic alternative look at the world type of texts. And to a certain extent her voice (Susan's) comes across in the same way .... interestingly she hadn't heard of Annette Peacock.

The first concert that we did was a small try-out in the Trefpunt, a Gent institution which prides itself on nurturing new talent. However the 'big' concert, or premier, was to be at the Gentsefeesten (*) a large yearly event which (if you look at the program) features loads of live music, theatre events and other animations, with non stop drinking for ten days. Anyhow, luckily for us the festival (which is organised by Trefpunt) was filmed. It was interesting to be able to see how the whole thing sounded, and looked, after all that rehearsing. The concert can be found on YouTube (in six parts) if you're interested, and of course you can follow through to see the whole thing - see below. 

I'd of posted all the videos but unfortunately the embedding code is switched off, however as you can see below there is one part (Pt3) that's available. If you like this then click the following link and happy viewing and listening - it's about 50mins in total. 

*= If you're interested you should look up the history of this festival as it's rather interesting.   


  1. Thanks for the article, Joe!

    Just for the records, Susan improvises the lyrics of Repopulation, basing herself on a story I wrote and we discussed together, she wrote the lyrics of Amnesia based on a story of mine, the lyrics of Bobby and the Gurg are from Zach Weiner (, and I wrote the lyrics of Hallucination.

    We listened to Annette Peacock in the meantime, great stuff! Funny you mention it, Michel Delville said just the same about her and Susan!

  2. Hi Zinston ;-)

    Thanks for the updated info. I didn't know Susan improvised the words, which makes the whole thing even more interesting. And of course the lyrics references etc.

    I'm looking forward to how it all takes shape from here!


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