Lights in a Fat City

Stephen Kent, originally from the UK, is now a resident of the USA. A founding member of the group having met Sayer in 1984 at the Diorama Arts Centre in London. Kent spent his formative years growing up in Africa, sharing his parents interest in the ancient culture of the people of Uganda. He is now active with both Lights in a Fat City and Trance Mission.

Eddy Sayer, who continues to live in the UK, has travelled the globe, searching for new ways to paint with sound. His early musical training was in percussion and this opened the way to world rhythms with a drum teacher deeply involved in exploring these sounds. Sayer then became caretaker and owner of many traditional drums, their history giving them a unique voice. Sayer is also now performing with the London Balinese Ceremony Group.

Kenneth Newby is a Vancouver/San Francisco based composer-performer. He holds degrees in electroacoustic composition and performance and has spent time in both Bali and Java living and studying the art of gamelan. An accomplished reed player (soprano sax, piri, bassoon), Newby was part of the original New Orchestra Workshop collective and the industrial improv ensemble Hextremities. He is co-founder of the intercultural multimedia performance company Cymbali, and co-founder of the Vancouver gamelan, Kyai Madu Sari. He currently works and records with two ensembles: Lights in a Fat City and Trance Mission.

They draw from the whole universe of sound for their music. The didgeridoo with its connotations of ancient ritual – the heartbeat of the Earth we inhabit. Percussive Sounds from traditional, ethnic instruments of the world, western brass instruments such as the tuba, trombone and trumpet, strings, voices, natural and electronically generated atmospheres and recordings and samples of machines and every-day noises. All used in extraordinary and inventive ways.

These sound sources are combined live and in recorded forms, with creative use of State of the Art technology, to make music which is powerfully emotive and produces a kaleidoscope of aural landscapes in the mind of the listener. Music that bridges ancient and modern cultures, music that defies categorisation. Music where the integral essence of the instruments speaks freely. Music that breathes with the senses of time, space, texture and landscape.

The compositions of their music reflects the surrounding dynamics – from silence to the great harmonies of the ocean, from the sound of the smallest bell to that of the largest song. Like the ocean, it lives and breathes, ebbs and flows with every new situation, every nuance of colour and light. It is not a computer to be programmed to produce exactly the same sequence time after time. Each piece inhabits its own world of sound. With it’s characteristic themes, rhythms, textures and arrangements – but always there is room to grow, space for the unexpected – a new aural link into the Universe.

The entrance of visual art-forms into these places was inevitable. Lights in a Fat City do not live in an exclusive or blind world, they collaborate with choreographers and dancers, film and video-makers and many others as an essential part to their vision. Their aim is to draw the boundaries of the Spectacle as much with sound as with visual representation! To propose and effect theatre with sound. To combine with movement and move on…