Seated concert in the Auditorium.
As an echo of its exhibition “Before the Storm”, the Bourse de Commerce will present a concert by the post-punk dub group Lifetones, led by British musician Charles Bullen. For the first time ever live, they will perform their apocalyptic album For a Reason, recorded in 1983 in Brixton.
On both evenings, the concert will open with a music project by Italian artist Valentina Magaletti:
- On 15 March, Holy Tongue, with British producer Allen Wootton and Japanese bassist Susumu Mukai.
- On 16 March, Moin, composed together with the London experimental group Raime.
The experimental post-punk group This Heat was formed by musicians Charles Bullen, Charles Hayward, and Gareth Williams in mid-1970s England. Influenced by London’s sounds, from sound systems to dub reggae and punk rock, they composed their songs in an abandoned factory in Brixton, which they transformed into a recording studio they came to call Cold Storage. Their music reacted to the political climate in Britain in the late 1970s and early 1980s in its denunciation of nationalist dogmas and the spectre of nuclear war. The group disbanded at the end of 1982.
One day in 1983, when Charles Bullen was buying a clarinet at a small music store in Brixton, he met British drummer Julius Cornelius Samuel, aka Dub Judah. He proposed that they found the group Lifetones. The recording sessions were also held at Cold Storage. They bear the influences of the local music scene, from punk to Jamaican music. In December of that same year, they released the album For a Reason. With a redveined leaf on its cover, its six tracks varied from dub on Decide to European folk melodies mixed with clarinet and percussion on Travelling.
For a Reason was recorded a few years after the electoral victory of Margaret Thatcher and the Tory Party, during a period of record unemployment – which was sharply felt in the South London neighbourhoods where Charles Bullen lived – the deprivation of the rights of minority communities, and the Falkland Islands War (2 April– 14 June 1982), all against a backdrop of heightened tensions between the West and the Eastern bloc. Charles Bullen recalls a sense of overwhelming despondency and a ubiquitous paranoia. He proposed For a Reason as a means of escape. In the title track, he laconically repeated the mantra: “We’ll do everything for a reason/We’ll plant every seed for a reason / We know that we reap what we sow.” Lifetones broke up a short while after the release of their album.
Initially ignored by listeners upon its release, this album became a collector’s item years later upon its re-release by the label Light in the Attic Record. The album’s nervousness, with its lyrics that looked towards the future, rendered the present that much more urgent to consider, ahead of the newly brewing storm.
This event forms part of the Bourse de Commerce’s collaboration with the German museum Haus der Kunst. In 2023, from Paris to Munich, the two institutions will unveil common musical projects that bring several generations of avant-garde artists together to create new bonds between contemporary art and music. On 18 March, Lifetones will perform For a Reason at Haus der Kunst in Munich. In June 2023, the two institutions will present an evening featuring keiyaA and Dawuna, two artists at the forefront of New York’s R&B scene.
In 2023, Lifetones is composed of :
Charles Bullen : Guitar / Vocals
Daniel O’Sullivan : Guitar / Vocals
Charles Stuart : Keyboard/Vocals
Caius Williams : Bass
Frank Byng : Drums
Rose Keeler-Schaffeler : Vocals
Holy Tongue is the musical project of Italian percussionist Valentina Magaletti, British producer Allen Wootton, and Japanese bassist Susumu Mukai. Holy Tongue’s albums explore the convergence of dub and psychedelic post-punk, mingling a hard-driving bass, catchy beats, percussion, and sound effects. III, their third album, was released in 2022.
The event was conceived together with French musician Iueke.