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Upcoming shows: Memorial... His Lordship... Florry + Memorial... Bad Bad Hats... Dana Gavanski... Caoilfhionn Rose... The Lovely Eggs... James Yorkston... Rain Parade... Matthew and the Atlas... Gratis: Makushin... Lightheaded + Mt. Misery... Jake Xerxes Fussell... Andrew Wasylyk & Tommy Perman... Charlie Parr... Mock Tudors... Dominie Hooper... Ryley Walker... Terry Reid... Chime School... The Courettes... Tusks... Roddy Woomble... Myriam Gendron... Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra... Kris Drever... Erland Cooper... Pokey LaFarge... Skinny Lister... The Unthanks in Winter... Emily Barker...

When: 8pm on Saturday 9 October 2021
Where: St Michael’s, 36-38 George Leigh Street, Ancoats, Manchester, M4 5DG

We’re delighted to be working with Sebastian Plano again!

One afternoon in late November, 2019, Argentinian cellist, composer and producer Sebastian Plano woke from a short nap in his Berlin apartment. Switching his phone on, he was overwhelmed by a tsunami of texts, and his inbox, too, was swamped with emails. Scrolling through them, he discovered each offered congratulations, but the reason remained a mystery. Finally, he stumbled on the first message, which explained the tributes: his most recent album, Verve, had been nominated for a Grammy.

If Plano was stunned when he grasped the announcement’s significance, another surprise awaited him. “I was grateful and flattered,” he grins, before adding, “but I definitely don’t make New Age music!” In fairness, one of his work’s many strengths is that it’s unusually hard to categorise, and those voting must simply have felt compelled, one way or another, to recognise Verve’s considerable merits. But whatever their reasoning, if his third album was indeed exceptional – a filigree of gently stroked strings, rippling piano lines and eloquent electronica, it exists in its own dimension, its melancholy swathed in hope – SAVE ME NOT, his fourth album, shifts things to a whole new level. Recorded at nights in his Berlin studio, it finds him going to unprecedented, even greater extremes to satisfy his urge to express himself through the creation of ensemble music alone. “’I wanted,” he says, “to see how far I could go.”

Bending – and often rejecting – in seductively enigmatic style the principles with which the classically trained musician was raised, SAVE ME NOT pursues Plano’s pioneering, ethereal aesthetic with even more confidence, operating in a dream-world all its own, answerable only to his instincts. The results are elegant, vivid and sometimes even spiritual, with the Argentinian playing every note, layering each musical phrase one at a time. “This wasn’t a matter of control,” he clarifies, “but of being able to express what I want to the fullest extent. The whole album is just me: it’s about narrowing down the instruments to the minimum, and how much I can push myself to create an authentic, unique sonic world.”

In practise, this means arrangements have been distilled to just cello, piano and voice. “They’re sometimes processed electronically,” he elaborates, “but there’s no electronic instruments here, and I tend to be willing to use my voice only when the cello or piano cannot go further expressively.” Nonetheless, other inventive details are occasionally present, each a part of the act of making music: the striking of his cello’s body, his feet stamping the floor, even the squeak of his studio chair. Only one loop appears on the record starting the spectral title track. “It was recorded in 2012 in San Francisco,” Plano recalls, “and there was something about this piano loop that hypnotised me. It never left my mind, so I always knew it was eventually going to be part of something.”

In fact, this brief phrase turned out to be the starting point for SAVE ME NOT, simultaneously linking the new record to what he’s written before. If it appears to flout self-imposed rules, though, these – for free-spirited Plano, anyway, whose musical roots were frustratingly conventional – were made to be broken. Born in Rosario, Argentina, in 1985, he was raised by parents who perform in the city’s symphony orchestra, and having first played cello at the age of seven, he began writing his own music four years later. After turning 13, he spent two years taking eight-hour round trips to Buenos Aires for hour-long lessons with the country’s finest teacher, yet, despite subsequent, full scholarships from some of the world’s most prestigious institutes, he found himself increasingly dissatisfied. “Our day to day life is ruled by reality,” he says, “and I found myself fitting but not belonging in mine.”

Plano began to focus more and more on his own music, and soon discovered an increasingly irresistible thrill. In addition, the further he strayed from the scholarly doctrines instilled in him, the more euphoric he felt. “As we grow up,” he says, “we spend our lives having to blend in, so, as our personalities develop, it’s inevitable we start cultivating our own reality. But for me this grew until it made me realise I didn’t belong in the world of interpretations, playing Beethoven’s – or anyone else’s – music.”

Tour support comes from Tom Adams. Combining enveloping minimalism with a spellbinding falsetto, songwriter/producer Tom Adams conveys immense emotion utilising just a few elements. Masterfully balancing tactile acoustic and electronic instruments, Adams’ music is as expansive as it is elegantly peculiar. Receiving accolades for his wide-ranging output of synth-guided exploits, guitar led chamber pop, melancholic piano-ambient works, and moody film scores.

AGE RESTRICTION: This show is 14+. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are also available from Dice.fmWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.