Nov 3 2017
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Feb 2 2018

When you think of games, you might think of dungeons and dragons or high-octane action-packed shootouts. What you might not be expecting are quiet, reflective, beautiful and meditative experiences such as Dear Esther.

Released in 2012, Dear Esther changed the landscape of gaming forever. A man walks a deserted Hebridean island, reading letters to his wife. A rich and poetic story of love, loss and redemption unfolds, accompanied by incredible cinematic visuals and a stunning orchestral soundtrack. The Telegraph described it as “a beautiful and thought-provoking piece of work. It is oil painting, poetry, eulogy and video game all at once. And it’s never less than fascinating.” It is frequently held up as proof that games can indeed be art. Dear Esther Live takes this powerful, emotional experience and brings it to the stage.

 

Imagine a film being shot in real-time, in front of you. The player pilots the camera through the landscape as the game is played, responding live to the nuances of the music and acting. The musicians are cued from within the game, but approach the experience as a traditional concert, following the tone and flow as it evolves; and the actor drives the story forwards, taking in the music, and the gameplay to shape and mould everything together. It combines the power of live theatre, the cinematic sweep of film, the beauty of orchestral performance and a subtle but innovative use of technology that underpins, rather than defines, the show.

Classical music lovers will be entranced by the haunting score, regularly featured on BBC Radio 3 and ClassicFM – where the composer, Jessica Curry, presents headline show High Score). A quartet, soprano and pianist, all world class players who have graced some of the most prestigious stages in the world, bring to life a rich and powerful suite of music that fuses a haunting minimalism with folk undertones. Curry, who has won a BAFTA and many other international awards for her music, has a unique and deeply beautiful, recognisable voice as a composer, working to combine contemporary compositional techniques with a deep love and respect for British classical, folk and traditional music. It’s impossible not to be transported by this extraordinary music.

Over the last decade, live orchestrations of film soundtracks have become more and more popular, and Dear Esther Live shares many features with these events. Imagine a film being literally shot in front of you – watching the camera being piloted around the world in real-time, and you are close to what the experience will feel like. Dear Esther was deeply inspired by the work of film-makers like Tarkovsky, with his masterful understanding of the slow unfolding of cinematic power; and the collaborations of Greenaway and Nyman, who fuse music and visuals at the deepest of levels to create holistic works that transcend their individual components.

Dear Esther has its roots in theatre. The games’ creator, Dan Pinchbeck, comes from a background in drama, and has cited as inspirations the work of avant-garde practitioners such as Robert Wilson and Edward Gordon Craig in their ability to create immersive, powerful storytelling worlds that operate with a magical pacing and abstraction. This obsession with that wonderful power of the live, of the capacity of performance to transport us as audiences, is at the heart of Dear Esther. On top of this floats an ethereal and poetic text that is inspired by the cut-up explosion of imagery of William Burroughs and fuses this to the love of landscape of Robert McFarlane and the drifting symbolism of poets such as Galway Kinnell and Andrew Greig.

Dear Esther Live is something very new – a ground-breaking use of games within a live performance setting. But it’s also something with deep roots in traditional performance from music and theatre, that is inspired by the beauty and power of landscape and language. Whether you are drawn by the music, the acting, the cinema, the technology or the poetry, Dear Esther Live offers a rich, emotional and deeply affecting event that will transport you to a deserted island and to the heart of love and redemption.

Dear Esther Soundtrack – I Have Begun My Ascent

Apr 1 2016
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May 31 2016

This MBM tour created a one-off opportunity for fans of TINDERSTICKS, established masters of restraint and poetic human emotion, two decades into their career. Creating a unique experience between the band performing their latest album The Waiting Room live in a concert setting accompanied by an ambitious collaborative film project projected on a cinematic scale.

Each track was performed with a short film, a visual interpretation by it’s own director, featuring Christoph Girardet, Pierre Vinour, Claire Denis, Rosie Pedlow and Joe King, Gregorio Graziosi, Richard Dumas and Gabriel Sanna.

 

Oct 1 2015
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Oct 31 2015

Before Star Wars George Lucas’s first feature length 1971 debut was THX 1138, a stylistic Sci-FI movie starring Robert Duval and Donald Pleasence. This MBM tour saw ASIAN DUB FOUNDATION (ADF) perform their exhilarating and fast moving live score along to this paranoid, cult and heavily sampled film.

ADF are celebrated for their brilliant live shows and for performing live soundtracks to films including La Haine and Battle of Algiers. They wear their political hearts on their sleeves as this timely reinterpretation shows; in today’s surveillance led and electronically driven society many of THX 1138 themes have proved to be very prescient.

“Thank you so much for believing in the project and allowing it to happen as it did. It took great vision on MBM’s part to see its potential which, thanks to you, is still growing. It’s rare these days to see organisations helping something as leftfield as THX to get out there and develop, so a massive thanks back at you and all the people at MBM.”Steve Savale, Asian Dub Foundation

 

Nov 22 2014
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Nov 30 2014

Just over a year since the release of his critically-lauded second album Pale Green Ghosts, and with numerous Best Album of 2013 accolades and a Brit Award nomination to his name, JOHN GRANT embarked on one of his most exciting ventures yet.

John performed this unique seven-date MBM tour with Royal Northern Sinfonia, conducted by Christopher George and orchestrated by Fiona Brice, which saw John’s celebrated catalogue reworked and reimagined within a sumptuous orchestral setting, alongside the world premiere of some especially written new songs commissioned by Music Beyond Mainstream.

 

Sep 24 2014
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Oct 4 2014

Celebrating 20 years of democracy in South Africa, Inala brought together legendary choral group LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO and award-winning choreographer Mark Baldwin and world class dancers including talent from the Royal Ballet.

Performing Inala’s original score by Joseph Shabalala and classical composer Ella Spira, Ladysmith Black Mambazo blend the intricate rhythms and infectious harmonies of their native musical roots with live percussion, piano and strings. Mark Baldwin’s richly visceral choreography unites Zulu traditions with classical ballet and contemporary dance, performed by an exceptional company of eighteen dancers and singers.

THE MAKING OF INALA
Oct 1 2013
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Oct 31 2013

Paloma Faith is proving to be one of the most innovative and creative female singers of her generation; never afraid to take risks or push boundaries.

In 2010 and 2012, to critical acclaim, she wowed the Cheltenham Festival and London Barbican by teaming up with 42-piece Guy Barker Orchestra to present full-blown orchestral arrangements of her own material intermingled with classic jazz ballads, and she now takes that to a new level with the Symphonic Grace tour courtesy of Music Beyond Mainstream.

Featuring new orchestral arrangements from her Brit-nominated Fall to Grace album, including the hits Picking Up The Pieces and 30 Minute Love Affair, as well as a few other surprises on the way, Symphonic Grace is yet another bold step in Paloma’s adventurous career and MBM’s repertoire of unrepeatable tours.

With a 42-piece orchestra, brand new orchestra arrangements from Guy Barker, backing singers and fabulous costumes, Paloma Faith was at her most epic for this project.

 

Oct 23 2012
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Oct 30 2012

EFTERKLANG created this epic scale project originating from their expedition to the former Russian mining settlement of Piramida on Spitsbergen, now a ghost town just 1,000km from the North Pole. The band spent nine days collecting more than 1000 sounds.

MBM’s Piramida Concerts tour saw this innovative rock band collaborate with the 35-piece Northern Sinfonia, orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, conducted by André de Ridder. The Danish trio performed as a six-piece, augmented by Peter Broderick (piano), Katinka Fogh Vindelev (choir) and Budgie (drums) of Siouxsie and the Banshees & The Creatures. They were joined by JOHN GRANT to open the concerts.

 

May 19 2012
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May 28 2012

With special guests Maddy Prior, Thea Gilmore, Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Police Woman), Green Gartside, PP Arnold, Dave Swarbrick, Jerry Donahue, Lavinia Blackwall, Sam Carter & Blair Dunlop

In the years since her tragic early death, folk icon Sandy Denny has emerged as one of the UK’s greatest singer-songwriters. She had a pivotal role in the British folk rock movement of the 1960s/70s both solo and in iconic bands Fairport Convention and Fotheringay.

In 2011 an album of new songs discovered in her archive were completed by THEA GILMORE and released entitled Don’t Stop Singing. Thea joined this unique line up of artists including former colleagues and friends Maddy Prior, Dave Swarbrick and Jerry Donahue alongside young admirers, established vocalists and musicians to celebrate the singer-songwriter who Richard Thompson has described as ‘the greatest British female artist of her generation’.

Nov 20 2011
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Dec 5 2011

Traveller brings together the passionate and diverse music of Spain with the vibrant sounds of the Indian tradition, tracing the gypsies’ journey from their homeland in Rajasthan to finally settling in Southern Europe.

ANOUSHKA SHANKAR, one of the world’s greatest sitar players, performed this MBM tour with her specially selected group of all-star Indian and flamenco musicians on percussion, flute, shehnai and vocals.

Oct 16 2011
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Oct 28 2011

This MBM tour combined Tindersticks’ unique sound with compelling, sensual and alternately meditative and shocking visuals handpicked from across Denis’ striking work.

For lovers of intensely beautiful and thought provoking film and music, this collaboration between world-renowned French film-maker Claire Denis and TINDERSTICKS front man Stuart Staples was a match made in heaven.

TINDERSTICKS are one of the most original and distinctive British acts crafting dense, meaningful songs layered with literary lyrics, intertwining melodies, brooding vocals, and gently melancholy orchestrations. Claire Denis, a Paris-based film director and one of the major artistic voices of contemporary French cinema.

 

Apr 13 2011
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Apr 21 2011

African Soul Rebels is a concept created by MBM to showcase some of the most amazing talent from the continent. Vibrant, contemporary, relevant music from a continent as diverse as it is stunning. Normally the ASR concept features a triple bill but for this ASR special we settled on Seun Kuti as the ambassador of contemporary afrobeat and a performing tour de force.

Seun Kuti is an unbelievable force in Nigerian Music, having inherited his father Fela Kuti’s band, he is now the crowned king of Afrobeat. Having not been eclipsed by his father , who was the biggest 20th century star of African music, for some, Seun now outshines him.

His music, dance, politics and funky Yoruba Afrobeat never let tradition down and Seun plays with such dynamism, precision and energy that everyone lucky enough to have seen his father’s show live, is now left in awe of his son Seun.

Feb 6 2011
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Feb 21 2011

For this project MBM brought together on the same bill two of the most original musical artists around.

PENGUIN CAFE’s music has infiltrated daily life from films like Napoleon Dynamite to countless theme tunes, and they’ve played festivals from Bestival and The Big Chill to a sold out Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms. Their unique, quintessentially English sound is influenced by folk, bluegrass, avant garde classical music and pop.

Electronica meets 21st century-jazz in PORTICO QUARTET’s melodic, rhythmic music that mixes the inspiration of Philip Glass and Steve Reich with a very contemporary kind of improvisation. Their hook-laden, darkly atmospheric post-jazz has pushed them to the forefront of the contemporary music scene and got them nominated for a Mercury Music Prize.

 

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