Match&Fuse, London 2015

Climbing the Eiger’s Mordwand is tough, but if you are a band trying to get a gig in the UK, then you really face a challenge. And it’s not much better anywhere else.
Presenting the most engaging artists from Europe’s progressive scenes

The musician Dave Morecroft started Match&Fuse (M&F) in 2011 to attack this problem – with energy. He wanted his band (World Service Project) to tour abroad, so in 2011 he found a Norwegian act to ‘match’ his and asked them to find three gigs in Norway for this double bill, whilst he used his UK contacts to book gigs at home. It worked, and the following year Match&Fuse launched its first festival with the aim of presenting the most engaging artists from Europe’s progressive scenes – giving audiences a taster of music from inside and outside their own borders and, more crucially, enabling musicians to extend their contacts abroad.


Great Harry Hillman Photos: Steven Cropper

Since then Match&Fuse (M&F) has developed co-producers with festivals in Toulouse, Warsaw, Rome and Oslo. Their annual event in the buzzing Dalston area of London uses venues such as Cafe Oto, Vortex and Servant Jazz Quarters and this year, Swiss bands, the Great Harry Hillman (GHH) and duo, 2henning were invited to play. I spoke to them about their experience.


‘We could see our music has many different sides’

‘The gig was big fun,’ said Nils Fischer of the GHH, ‘with a conscientious audience. We would have loved to play more than 35 minutes, but the time was sufficient to present our music and get involved in some interesting talk – feedback and discussions, after.’ Valeria Zangger of 2henning also appreciated getting feedback, adding, ‘It showed us some very important stuff that we still have to do, but we could see our music has many different sides and can fit in with a real variety of music programming which is good.’


2henning (Steven Cropper)

‘Getting all this inspiration in a few days, was invaluable’

They were scheduled alongside other emerging European artists such as Strobes, Laura Moody, J=J, Kaja Draksler and Alarmist as well as unique collaborations such as Isabel Sörling with Leafcutter John (of Polar Bear). 2Henning felt that, ‘There was room for free improvisation as well as for more pop/rock oriented music…Playing in that context with a lot of different bands and styles – and getting all this inspiration in a few days, was invaluable.’

‘The idea to unite the bands in a soundpainting orchestra is great’

The ‘fuse’ of the festival brings the bands together in an improvisation in each venue before they proceed to a square outside where they play together in an ‘orchestra’. Using the soundpainting technique with a conductor and hand signals, it can be powerful, fun and completely chaotic. ‘The idea to unite the bands in a soundpainting orchestra is great. We had a very energetic session inside [at the Vortex],’ said Nils. ‘Maybe we stretched the session too long and missed the right point to stop, but it was big fun to meet everybody in the square.’ 2henning agreed, ‘When we began it wasn’t really defined, but then, as we walked to the square in front of the Vortex and met with the other musicians, it was great…people were listening and we played some cool ideas.’


Match&Fuse Orchestra (Steven Cropper)

‘Everybody was giving their best’

The GHH hope to continue being part of the M&F family, taking part in exchange tours, meeting other bands and contacts, ‘Back at home we discussed the option to do another UK trip during our next tour,’ they told me. 2Henning who also played a Sofa Sound night (gigs in people’s living rooms), did a school workshop and appeared on London Live TV as part of their M&F festival experience said, ‘It is helpful to use the name Match&Fuse, but also to have London as a reference,’ before adding, ‘Everybody was giving their best and I think people could feel that…I really had the feeling we belonged to the Match&Fuse family.’

It is a slow and long process with no guarantees

It’s not just about getting gigs and tours abroad – quality of experience matters and concrete benefits. Despite vital support from embassies and cultural organisations, there is not much financial renumeration so M&F need to build media relations in order that musicians get useful reviews. What they do well is encourage exposure of specialist musics, connect musicians and help them develop fanbases across Europe. It is a slow and long process with no guarantees but what was clear from Match&Fuse London 2015 was not only the breadth of talent but the good feeling, positivity and confidence that came out of it for both M&F and the artists.

M&F also had three events during the EFG London Jazz Festival with the Swiss/Russian band Jazzator. It will develop more ‘threads’ through other festivals both in the UK and abroad. M&F festivals are confirmed for Toulouse and London in 2016 as well as tours in Sweden, Poland and Ireland.
Soundcloud: Match&Fuse, London 2015 Mix
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Rom Schaerer Eberle: At The Age of Six I Wanted To Be A Cook

artworks-000056794141-a88nt2-t500x500“At the Age of Six I wanted To be A Cook” by Rom Schaerer Eberle takes you gently by the hand into the landscape of childhood. There are lullabies oozing with ‘mother-love’, sounds of jumpy kids at play and simple, stare-into-space tracks. The achingly sweet vocal ‘stories’ of Royal Family are sung by Schaerer; his warm, steady tone flowing with imagined words whilst Eberle plays the horn with a simplicity that is both melancholic and uplifting. Rom caresses his guitar to sound different on every track whilst always creating spacious, considered and sensitive notes. At times you can almost see the coils of his A string as every scrape and pluck resonate.

Cooking the Books is a stand-out track with its robotic opening giving way to the most exquisite refrain of vibing guitar and melodic trumpet, echoed by Schaerer’s vocal-trumpet notes. Syncopated dabs of sparse rock-guitar and buzzing mouth harp serve to heighten the beauty of the theme; the guitar bending and entwining you with its longing. It holds you.

This is a well-blended trio, each echoing the others’ voices, never trying to dominate, but I missed the fizzing energy that comes with an extended solo. In Triple Prism, Schaerer explores higher vocal registers to ghostly effect but Eberle and Rom become a mere reflection as opposed to a solid presence.

I liked Eberle’s When I Was Seven I Wanted to be Napoleon, led with great panache by Schaerer’s Cabaret-style MC. The drunken slurs of Eberle’s trumpet and Rom’s guitar draw a George Grosz sketch of a flea-bitten bar with wrinkled, topless ‘dancers’ slouched on faded velvet, but again, I wanted it to go further. Lou is the final lullaby to tuck us up in bed, but sometimes I craved something more adult – where each musician had the freedom to delve into their wonderfully creative themes in a deeper and more explosive way.

“At the Age of Six I wanted To be A Cook” by Rom Schaerer Eberle  was released in September 2013 on JazzWerkstatt Records. Tour dates include:
Rom Schaere Eberle played Bern (CH), Beeflat, the 4th Dec, and London (UK), Vortex, 8th Dec
Next concert: Zurich (CH),  Moods, 12th Dec

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