Napalm Death are no strangers to making grindcore all globally-aware and super artsy. Their lyricism has always had shades of political criticism and the band’s ability to push the limits of musical artistry as it applies to grindcore — the sub-second two note punch of ‘You Suffer’ and the saxophone leads in ‘Everyday Pox’ for example — have painted Napalm Death as more than your average noisemakers. In fact, I’d argue that Napalm Death are grindcore for the thinking man, for the most part. At least, when juxtaposed against the prevalent “lol br00tz m i rite/dick and fart jokes” that the genre has come to attract in bands like Anal Cunt, Napalm Death are practically scholarly.
But back on point, Napalm Death are partaking in a bit of performance art soon which sees the band performing with a sound system made of ceramic, which is intended to deteriorate and break apart as their loud and chaotic set goes on. Via the band’s Facebook:
NAPALM DEATH – announce special one-off performance with artist Keith Harrison at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London on March 22, 2013!
Extreme metal and art – two worlds apart? Not for legendary Grindcore outfit NAPALM DEATH who will collaborate with ceramic artist Keith Harrison in a one-off performance at the renowned V&A in London on March 22, 2013 starting at 7:30pm UK time. The band will play a special live set through an experimental sculptural sound system constructed by Harrison. Clad with ceramic tiles, the structures will potentially disintegrate as the performance progresses.
Mark “Barney” Greenway, vocalist of NAPALM DEATH states:
“Sound as a weapon – or a weapon of change – is a very interesting concept and I think that the whole process of our sound gradually degrading clay sculptures is captivating. The noise element of music should never be understated and this exhibition at the V&A will hopefully demonstrate that music can do interesting things beyond the realms of clipped production techniques. On a personal level, particularly of interest to me is the fact that the sculptor Keith grew up around the very same area as me in Great Barr, Birmingham, and basing his sculptures around the tower blocks in that area brings back a lot of quirky memories mixed with the impressions of shameful deprivation in some of those places.”
Keith Harrison, V&A Ceramics Resident comments:
“My interest in NAPALM DEATH started in the late eighties when as a teenager in Birmingham I would listen to John Peel’s evening radio show when they would appear out of nowhere in jaw dropping fashion, sometimes for no more than a few seconds.
The raw, uncompromising energy of NAPALM DEATH will be used to activate a set of three specially created ceramic sound systems based on the group of vivid blue and yellow tiled tower blocks on the Bustleholm Mill estate, West Bromwich where I was born. I wanted to invite NAPALM DEATH to collaborate with me for this live performance at the Museum for the last of a series of Disruptions I have worked on throughout my residency.”
Ruth Lloyd, V&A Residency Co-ordinator adds:
“The V&A Residency Programme is public facing and aims to represent a wide range of audiences through artist led activities at the Museum. Past residents have staged events aimed at communities interested in poetry, sound art, architecture, design and contemporary craft. Harrison has led the V&A in developing a series of events aimed at heavy metal music and its fans.”
This should be an interesting show. Hopefully it’s filmed and released as a video. If the band and/or their label Century Media don’t turn this into a music video or documentary of some sort, then this is a golden opportunity lost.