The collaboration between Napalm Death and ceramicist Keith Harrison entitled Bustleholme finally happened on Friday November 29 from De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex.
Originally planned to take place at the V&A in March before safety inspections cancelled it due to a fear the band’s insane levels of grindcore would damage the historic fabric, it was moved to the new Modernist setting. The project involved the band playing live through an experimental sculptural sound system created by Harrison that features blue and yellow ceramic tiles. Needless to say it was expected the sound system to be destroyed.
In the run-up to the event, Keith Harrison said: “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 Bustleholme Mill estate, West Bromwich where I was born.”
The Birmingham connection and mutual appreciation between the two artists seems to have played a part in bringing them together for this one-off event.
Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway, vocalist of Napalm Death added: “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 event at De La Warr Pavilion 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. Bustleholme is a challenging and exciting proposition, a bringing together of artists operating at the outer limits of their respective genres to create a unique happening that pushes the boundaries of artistic expression.”
The special event was free but sold out in 12 hours, and a live screening brought this unique experience to a larger audience. Even if art doesn’t interest you, the chance to catch Napalm Death live and the possibility of literal destruction is too good to be missed. You can watch the outcome of the collaboration below:
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