Wednesday, 7 May 2014

REVIEW!

Review by Lucy Cooper
THE MINACK'S dramatic setting, open to the elements, with a jaw-dropping backdrop of sea and sky, provided the ideal launch pad for a night of epic and ethereal sounds from Penwith-based band The Ascension Plan and special guests.
On Friday, May 2, hundreds gathered on the cliffs at Porthcurno to witness the four-piece band join forces with New York singer Mimi Goese, of 1980s cult American band Hugo Largo, and Penzance choir the 50 Degrees.
The night marked what the band call, "the completion of a curious circle". The circle began back in the 1990s with Quietly Torn, the band started by The Cure's Porl Thompson when he moved to Zennor.
When Mimi Goese, the band's original singer, left – homeward bound for New York – Thompson recruited St Just guitarist and singer Martin Jackson, then 16 years old. On a May evening in 1998 Martin took to the Minack stage to play a memorable gig with Quietly Torn.
Martin went on to form The Ascension Plan with Quietly Torn drummer Nick McLeod, bassist Mungo Shoddy and former Bates Motel man Paul Adams on electric violin.
In 2012, on opposite sides of the Atlantic, Nick McLeod (who also plays with The Incredible String Band's Clive Palmer) and Mimi Goese began to hatch a plan.
This resulted in Mimi's collaboration with the band on a number of tracks, including Ascending, from their All Ways EP, and forthcoming singles Buoy and Life (You Are).
Ultimately, it led back to the Minack and the wild Cornish cliffs on a May evening in 2014, bringing Mimi and Martin together to share the stage for the first time.
The result was an evening that managed to pull off the feat of being both intimate and epic.
Axolotl set the tone with an introductory soundscape that melded with the waves and the wind. Building from womb-like gongs and elemental murmuring, The Ascension Plan's sound swelled into celestial flights of liquid violin melting into out of this world vocals, transporting the listener to realms at once familiar, strange and beguiling.
With years of collective musical experience under their belts, the band moved together effortlessly through the haunting waltzing chorus of Old Wings, via the alternating swing and raw power of Disengage (and Remain The Same), the ethereal Ascending and meditative All Ways. Mimi Goese brought her extraordinary and formidable vocals into the equation – which can also be heard on Moby's Into The Blue and When It's Cold I'd Like To Die – bringing theatrical flair and sparkle to the stage along with her trademark vocal acrobatics.
Adding the vocal harmonies of the 50 Degrees choir into the mix, under the skilled direction of Vicky Abbott, sent beautiful, fluid, yet precisely aligned harmonies rushing across the Cornish skies.
"The sky and sea stitched seamlessly," Mimi sings on the forthcoming single Life, (You Are). As the daylight faded, sea and sky vanished into one another and the stage was bathed in a dance of colours, courtesy of projections by renowned local artist Paul Lewin.
Sky, sea, music and light stitched seamlessly into a mesmerising fabric, entrancing the senses. The resulting frisson carried echoes of Sigur Ros at the Eden Sessions.
Maybe it's the tuning, the band tune their instruments to a pitch of 432HZ – said to be the natural universal frequency – rather than the standard concert pitch of 440HZ. Maybe it's the combined power of more than 50 voices. Or maybe it's just that special something that ignites when a plan comes together beautifully.
Whatever the secret, this will be remembered as a night when magic was made, when The Ascension Plan unfolded their wings and took flight with Mimi Goese and the 50 Degrees.
You can obtain the band's All Ways EP at theascensionplan1.bandcamp.com/album/all-ways-ep
Nicholas Pegg – author of the acclaimed Complete David Bowie series of books as well as a regular Dalek operator on Dr Who – was on holiday in the area and attended the concert. He tweeted: "One of the best gigs I've ever seen."

Saturday, 3 May 2014

VIDEO!


...DON'T FORGET! we filmed the whole thing, DVD to follow soon, meanwhile, enjoy this lovely compilation from the 50 Degrees...

Monday, 10 March 2014

PRESS RELEASE

...the epic and ethereal Cornish band the Ascension plan
invite you to a very special EP launch party
at the Minack Theatre, Porthcurno on the 2nd of May.
Joined by Mimi Goese, (of seminal art band Hugo Largo, and Moby)
 the plan will be performing their EP , All Ways,
along with forthcoming collaborative singles "Buoy", and "Life, You Are",
borne of a connection going back to the 90's, when singer/guitarist Martin Jackson
 was seconded onto this very stage to replace the homeward (New York) bound Mimi in the band Quietly Torn,
Porl Thompson's post-Cure dream pop dream ticket supergroup,
which also featured drummer Nick Mcleod.
The plan's lineup is completed by Paul Adams' electric violin and the
mercurial mungo shoddy on Bass. 
Providing harmonious support will be the massed voices of the 50 Degrees
and introductory soundscapes will be performed by Axolotl.
Projections by Paul Lewin.
Show starts at 8pm and the tickets are generously priced between £5 and £11.50...

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Once upon a time...

The Ascension Plan
All began
In a wind tormented caravan
The band was started by guitarist and singer, Martin Jackson and drummer Nick McLeod, as they jammed the night away in Martins caravan, on the cliffs of Cape Cornwall. Spurred on by the storm...they rekindled a flame that was lit 10 years before, while playing together in Porl Thompsons solo project, Quietly Torn.
Paul Adams AKA 'the Waft', was recruited next, his heart-soaring violin stylings and effect-sodden sounds captivated Nick's ears whilst they both backed Clive Palmer (legendary co-founder of Incredible String Band) in his occasional live forays, his swoops and flights of fancy perfectly complimenting Martin's melodies. Finally finding a bassist locked in a freeform jazz exploration deep in the woods, the mysterious and mercurial mungo shoddy was tempted into town to play on just 'a couple' of songs in a set.
The band have been described as warm and unusual, epic and ethereal, atmospheric and ambitious...bringing audiences to euphoric heights of clapping joy...with melodies that can take you far from the pain of the day to an isle where everything is ok...

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

the Curious Circle...

QUIETLY TORN 

 ...aaah yes, Quietly Torn, named after the Incredible String Band lyric, Quietly Torn were the brainchild of guitarist Porl Thompson, late of the Cure. Originally featuring the inimitable Mimi Goese, of minimalist punk/pop group Hugo Largo on vocals, local painter Tom Rickman on Double Bass and Nick Mcleod on Drums and Percussion...
...when Mimi left the band to return to New York and David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, she was replaced by up and coming Cornish solo artist Martin Jackson who was then just 16. Martin's emotionally charged ethereal voice complimented Porl's resonant, reflective lyrics and the band's experimental use of space and harmonics...
 ...This short lived project had one of it's final gigs at the Minack Theatre above Porthcurno, setting a precedence for the theatre as an Internationally acclaimed music venue, host to Seth Lakeman, KT Tunstall and the Peoples String Foundation. On this auspicious occasion in May of 98, the clouds parted on a wild and stormy night, and the audience left resonating with the force unleashed by this unique experience... 

 INTO the ETHA 

...after the dust settles and the crowds have departed, Martin went on to form the enigmatic cornish quartet Ethatone, described as “West Penwith's melodic manifestation of the post grunge rock scene”. Martins soulful, uplifting vocals and distinctively building guitar riffs, were joined by Ben Payne's deep twisting bass lines, drummer Sam Hill's dynamic grooves and the broad textural sweep of Richard Blackborow's (late of BOB) keyboard and harmony vocals. Their album 'Keep Your Distance' recorded and produced by Dare Mason and Mastered by Jon Astley, was released on their own Ethadome label in 2009... 

ASCENSION CALLING 

...meanwhile, errant drummer Nick Mcleod, fresh from a stint at the Royal Albert Hall, resurfaced back in deepest darkest Penwith, and on a stormy night similar to the one 10 years previously at their moonlit Minack gig, met with Martin in his wind tormented caravan. That night they whipped up a euphoric jam which was preserved by Tascam and formed the basis of what would become 'Hello World'. Inspired by this a Plan started to form...
...Paul Adams AKA 'the Waft', was recruited next, his heart-soaring violin stylings and effect-sodden sounds captivated Nick's ears whilst they both backed Clive Palmer (legendary co-founder of Incredible String Band) in his occasional live forays, the Waft's swoops and flights of fancy perfectly complimenting Martin's melodies. Finally finding a bassist locked in a freeform jazz exploration deep in the woods, the mysterious and mercurial mungo shoddy was tempted into town to play on just 'a couple' of songs in a set supporting local heroes Mr Pink... 

THE PLAN 

 ...Ensconsed in Nick's attic, directly plugged into the node of 3 energy lines, the Plan started to take form, taking a cue from the Music of the Spheres and a hint from Pythagarus, the band tuned down to 432hz and found a connection to the source, penning a cycle of songs in esoteric timings they've taken audiences to heights of ecstasy... 

COMPLETING the CURIOUS CIRCLE 

...or, a man, a plan, the MINACK...
...one night in 2012, moved by universal alignments, Nick found Mimi online and began to formulate a plan that evolved into collaborative singles Buoy, and Life (you are), and the show you'll see on the night...