Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Tiger Lillies perform "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"

This is a match made in heaven, or rather... hell for that matter. The Tiger Lillies performing "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This dark, epic poem of the 18th century has been brought to life through the perverted aural delicacies of Martyn Jacques and Co. and the stunning virtual world of photographer and cinema artist Mark Holthusen. For an hour and a half you follow this dark story from the icy cold waters of the Antarctic to the burning flames of hell. After having killed an albatros that had safely guided the ship in the treacherous southern waters, the mariner suffers the revenge of the spirit world who unleash their wrath on the ship. Death comes for the mariner's companions as one by one they perish from thirst and exhaustion. The irony is not lost to Coleridge who writes:

"Water, water, everywhere
And all the boards did shrink 
Water, water, everywhere 
Not any drop to drink". 

By projecting filmed segments on a transparent screen, Mark Holthusen creates a magical, fairytale world that can quickly turn into a nightmare that brings to life the famous wood engravings of Gustave Doré. Sublime creatures can be seen floating around the Tiger Lillies whose decadent and macabre delivery is often interlaced with black humor and existentialist reverie. 

Adrian Stout does not limit himself to playing the double bass. He produces the strangest of sounds on the musical saw and the theremin, creating an ever shifting background on which the inventive percussion effects of Mike Pickering and the piano and bandoneon of Martyn Jacques can bring out the full glory of this, Soho with a litle pinch of pre-war Berlin, dark cabaret act. Coleridge, who fostered a lifelong addiction to opium would certainly have approved of this at times surreal, provocative and avant-garde rendition of his all time classic of romantic literature.

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