Preview, Cardiff, Jazz

Preview... Ambient Afternoon

Joe Shrimpling cuts quite the eccentric figure: he’s tall and lanky with plenty of Northern
charm and a music taste that straddles Neapolitan opera and Afrobeat, and everything in
between. A recent graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama where he
studied composition for four years, Joe now divides his time between working as a sound
engineer at Acapela Studios in Pentyrch, composing and DJing, and organising alternative
events such as Ambient Afternoon. Cardiff may be a buzzing centre for rugby, hosting two
massive stadiums and legions of sports pubs, but it’s somewhat lacking in music venues that
feature anything besides the mainstream. Gwdihŵ, where Joe’s event takes place, forms
part of a smattering of venues that manage to make Cardiff more interesting on a Friday

Ambient Afternoon #1 is the inaugural event of what should become a series of opportunities
for artists to showcase their music to a culture-hungry public. Even the poster is unusual and
therefore exciting. It’s a colourful piece of artwork conceived by the talented Jacob
, an old friend of Joe’s from school who designs event posters and album art for a
living. It’s an encouraging and refreshing concept, and with free tea, what more could you
want!! An interview with Joe below outlines the brainwavery behind it all.

Echo Ambient Afternoon is quite an original concept. How exactly did the idea for this event come about?

Joe Shrimpling I’ve been looking for a creative outlet for the music that I write since graduating but struggled to find a platform that was appropriate. Most electronic music events in Cardiff take place in the evening and are a space for people to enjoy loud dance music. I enjoy this party
environment too but it isn’t the appropriate space for the more experimental and relaxed
electronic sounds that I like to create. As luck would have it, I was supporting ramnastax in
Gwdihŵ when Lloyd (the events manager) and I struck up a conversation. He was kind
enough to offer the venue as a space and then the ideas started flowing from there!

E Had you been to other events off this nature?

JS Yes, Connor McLean runs an event in the Little Man Coffee Company just over the road
from Gwdihŵ called ‘Drink Coffee and Listen’ where a number of contemporary music
students from the RWCMD regularly perform music they’ve composed and/or contemporary repertoire. I’ve been to a few of these events and the atmosphere is relaxed, the music mostly acoustic and the people are very welcoming so I would highly recommend it! Attending Connor’s events definitely helped me form the idea for the Ambient Afternoon but I knew I wanted to take the music in a more electronic direction and put emphasis on Tea rather than coffee because I love Tea.

E What kind of audience is this aimed for?

JS This event is aimed at people who are interested in experimental electronic music. It is also
aimed at people who like free tea and cheap drinks! However I would like to think that anyone can come and enjoy the afternoon in Gwdihŵ because I’m aiming to create an environment that is warm and welcoming. The music is there to augment this aim and although it will be something very different to what is usually played in coffee houses and bars, I hope it will never take away from the ambient nature of the afternoon.

E Is it improvised or pre-composed?

JS There are three acts playing at Ambient Afternoon #1. Daniel Soley will be playing a mixture of records from his vast library of music and his own compositions created in his PC using software such as MAX/MSP. I can’t tell you much more than that about Dan’s set because I’m in the dark as much as you! But I can tell you I’m very excited to hear what he brings to the table.

Closing the afternoon will be Ben Tunnicliffe under the pseudonym Notsoever. Ben has his
own monthly event in Gwdihŵ entitled GROOVE-IST which brings global beats to the local community. He exclusively plays vinyl and will be putting aside the beats for this event, bringing downtempo and leftfield sounds from around the world.

Linus Fenton and I will be playing a range of music that we have written both together and
individually over the past 5 years, arranged for the two of us to play. Regarding instrumentation, I’ll be playing around with sounds in my Laptop, we’ll both be playing guitars and Linus might also be playing bass but we’re yet to meet up to finalise exactly what is going to happen! At the moment though I think some of the music will have room for us to improvise while other sections will be set in stone and equally some pieces will be based around our guitars and others will be based around processed sound from my PC.

E Are you hoping to make this a series of ambient afternoon?

JS At the moment I’m focussing on making this event a success, but I have thought of other
friends that I’d like to bring in to play so if Lloyd and Gwdihŵ like what we bring to their
Saturday afternoon we may well be back in future months

The event takes place on Saturday 31 March at Gwdihŵ from 2:30 until 7pm. See you there!

For more info visit Ambient Afternoon #1 

ECHO | Gail Tasker